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Effects of humid heat exposure in later sleep segments on sleep stages and body temperature in humans

Abstract

This study sought to investigate the effects of humid heat exposure in later sleep segments on sleep stages and body temperature in humans. The subjects were eight healthy males, from whom informed consent had been obtained. The experiments were carried out under three different sets of conditions: a control climate [air temperature (Ta)=26°C, relative humidity (RH)=50%] (C); a humid heat climate (Ta=32°C, RH=80%) (H); and a humid heat exposure in later sleep segments (C for the first 3 h 45 min, followed by a 30-min transition to H, which was then maintained for the last 3 h 45 min) (C–H). Electroencephalogram, EOG, and mental electromyogram, rectal temperature (Tre), and skin temperature (Tsk) were continuously measured. The total amount of wakefulness was significantly increased in H compared to C–H or C. Compared to C, wakefulness in C–H and H was significantly increased during later sleep segments. Tre and mean Tsk were significantly higher in H than in C–H or C. In C–H, Tsk and Tre increased to levels equal to those observed in H after Ta and RH increase. Whole body sweat loss was significantly lower in C–H and C than in H. These results suggest that humid heat exposure in the later sleep segment reduces thermal load as compared to full-night humid heat exposure. In daily life, the use of air conditioning in the initial sleep hours can protect sleep and thermoregulation.

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Acknowledgement

This study was performed with Special Coordination Funds of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Japanese Government

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Correspondence to Kazue Okamoto-Mizuno.

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Okamoto-Mizuno, K., Tsuzuki, K. & Mizuno, K. Effects of humid heat exposure in later sleep segments on sleep stages and body temperature in humans. Int J Biometeorol 49, 232–237 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-004-0237-z

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Key words

  • Humidity
  • Ambient temperature
  • Sleep stages
  • Body temperature