Impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on sleep

Laura Pérez-Carbonell*, Imran Johan Meurling, Danielle Wassermann, Valentina Gnoni, Guy Leschziner, Anna Weighall, Jason Ellis, Simon Durrant, Alanna Hare, Joerg Steier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant changes in daily routines and lifestyle worldwide and mental health issues have emerged as a consequence. We aimed to assess the presence of sleep disturbances during the lockdown in the general population. Methods: Cross-sectional, online survey-based study on adults living through the COVID-19 pandemic. The questionnaire included demographics and specific questions assessing the impact of the pandemic/ lockdown on sleep, daytime functioning and mental health in the general population. Identification of sleep pattern changes and specific sleep-related symptoms was the primary outcome, and secondary outcomes involved identifying sleep disturbances for predefined cohorts (participants reporting impact on mental health, self-isolation, keyworker status, suspected COVID-19 or ongoing COVID-19 symptoms). Results: In total, 843 participants were included in the analysis. The majority were female (67.4%), middle aged [52 years (40–63 years)], white (92.2%) and overweight to obese [BMI 29.4 kg/m2 (24.1–35.5 kg/m2)]; 69.4% reported a change in their sleep pattern, less than half (44.7%) had refreshing sleep, and 45.6% were sleepier than before the lockdown; 33.9% had to self-isolate, 65.2% reported an impact on their mental health and 25.9% were drinking more alcohol during the lockdown. More frequently reported observations specific to sleep were ‘disrupted sleep’ (42.3%), ‘falling asleep unintentionally’ (35.2%), ‘difficulties falling’/‘staying asleep’ (30.9% and 30.8%, respectively) and ‘later bedtimes’ (30.0%). Respondents with suspected COVID-19 had more nightmares and abnormal sleep rhythms. An impact on mental health was strongly associated with sleep-related alterations. Conclusions: Sleep disturbances have affected a substantial proportion of the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. These are significantly associated with a self-assessed impact on mental health, but may also be related to suspected COVID-19 status, changes in habits and self-isolation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S163-S175
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2020


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