The impact of lockdown in response to the Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic on sleep quality will vary from person to person and will depend on the quality of sleep prior to the pandemic. This is evident from the results of a study published in Sleep Medicine.
Although studies have shown that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected sleep duration in different population groups, the effects on sleep quality, and particularly on those with poor sleep quality, have not yet been determined before the pandemic.
To assess this, weekly sleep and mood log data from 667 people were analyzed. Participants filled in the insomnia severity index, which rates sleep quality in a range from 0 to 28. Before the pandemic, 33.1% of participants had good sleep quality (ISI values ≤7), 34.9% had mild sleep problems (ISI values 8-14) and 31.9% had clinical insomnia (ISI values 15- 28). A change in the ISI value by ≥6 was considered sensible.
A significant change was observed in 25.3% of the participants. Of those people who previously had good quality sleep and experienced a change in sleep quality during the pandemic, the majority showed a decrease in sleep quality. 25% of those who had clinical insomnia before the pandemic showed a significant change. Of those with pre-pandemic insomnia who experienced a significant change, 86.9% reported an improvement in the quality of their sleep.
The limitations of this study include the self-reporting design and reliance on retrospective pre-pandemic sleep quality data. Another restriction is that people with very high or very low ISI scores before the pandemic can only meaningfully change in the opposite direction. Future research examining possible treatments to improve sleep quality in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic is warranted.
The results of this study showed that the effect of lockdown on perceived quality of sleep depends on the quality of sleep prior to the pandemic. While the pandemic has generally been shown to have negative mental health effects, significant improvements in sleep quality have been observed in those who had insomnia prior to the pandemic.
Kocevska D, Blanken TF, Van Someren EJW, Rösler L. Sleep quality during the COVID-19 pandemic: not one size fits all. [published online October 8, 2020]. Sleep Med.doi: 10.1016 / j.sleep.2020.09.029
This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor
COVID19 insomnia sleep sleep disorders