29 Oct Did We Sleep More or Less During COVID-19 Pandemic?
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Salma Batool-Anwar, MBBS, MPH
Instructor, Harvard Medical School
Pulmonary and Critical Care, Sleep Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: A well functioning sleep-wake cycle is vital to our health and prevention of chronic diseases.
During previous disaters sleep disturbances have been reported.
When Massachusetts governor declared a state of emergency in March’20, we hypothesized that sleep duration would be adversely affected by covid-19 related lockdown and stress.
The study was approved by the institutional review board and information was collected retrospectively using the electronic medical records.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Are women generally more likely to experience insomnia?
Response: In contrast to the belief that COVID-19 related lockdown provided opportunity for better sleep, the study demonstrated a negative impact of COVID-19 on sleep. High prevalence of insomnia was noted in the month immediately after the lockdown was announced. These findings are not surprising as insomnia is a well known consequence of acute stress, and previous studies have demonstrated increased insomnia during times of crisis.
Moreover, the study noted poor sleep predominantly among women which is consistent with prior research. Several previous studies have demonstrated sex difference in insomnia due to a complicated interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors throughout the life span.
Finally, no significant difference in CPAP use was seen among patients with Obstructive Sleep apnea.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Sleep is an integral part of healthy living, however American society suffers from chronic sleep deprivation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35% report sleeping less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night.
The relationship between stress and sleep is bidirectional , and in this study we found poor sleep in the setting of covid-19 related stress.
During these tough times, in order to have a good night’s sleep we encourage following sleep hygiene recommendations
- Having consistency in sleep pattern
- Removing electronic devices from the bedroom
- Keeping the room dark and quite with comfortable temperature
- Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.
- Exercising during the day.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Larger longterm studies with systematic documentation of insomnia and anxiety are needed to better assess the effects of COVID-19 on Sleep.
No disclosure related to this study
Salma Batool-Anwar, MBBS, MPH; Olabimpe S. Omobomi, MBChB, MSc; Stuart F. Quan, MD
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