Sleep disorders and increased use of sleeping pills since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, sleep problems have increased worldwide. These cross-sectional study results were published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Participants were recruited for 2 online surveys by researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The tools used in the survey were: the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the Sleep Satisfaction Tool of the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).

Survey 1 was available in 7 languages ​​and was completed between March 26 and April 26, 2020 by 2,562 people who responded to an invitation to participate in a sleep study. Study 2 was only available in English and was completed between April 17-20, 2020 by 971 residents in the United States. The respondents were recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk for a survey without a description of sleep in order to avoid a self-selection bias of participants who are interested in sleep.

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The participants in the first and second surveys averaged 45.18 ± 14.46 and 40.36 ± 13.61 years, 68.18% and 52.79% were women, 87.16% and 76.52, respectively % had a college degree, 65.14% and 45.42% were married, and 79.34% and 80.64% were living with a child aged £ 6. A total of 76% of respondents in Survey 1 stated their location and were located in Israel (29%), South America (18%), Europe (14%), North America (12%), Asia (2%) and other countries (1 %) Countries.

All respondents said that their sleep patterns have changed significantly since the pandemic. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, participants had a significant increase in average sleep (change 0.26 hours; P = 0.001), a decrease in nights with less than 7 hours of sleep (change -5.70%; P = 0.001 )), a decrease in continuous sleep (change, -10.07%; P = 0.001), and an increase in sleeping pill use (change, 1.68%; P = 0.001). Later in the COVID-19 pandemic, participants had an increase in nights with less than 7 hours of sleep (6.69% change; P = 0.001) and an even larger increase in sleeping pill use (3.50% change; P =). 001).

Worsening sleep during survey 1 was associated with women (odds ratio) [OR]1.45; 95% CI, 1.17-1.80; P <0.001), people whose livelihood was influenced by COVID-19 (OR 1.38; 95% CI 1.11-1.71; P <0.01), people in quarantine (OR 1.32; 95% CI 1.08-1.61; P .01) and those who had a decrease in physical activity (OR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.03-1.53).

During survey 2, there was poorer sleep with decreased physical activity (OR 1.84; 95% CI 1.36-2.51; P <0.001), women (OR 1.82; 95% CI 1.33-2 , 50; P <0.001). People whose livelihoods were affected by COVID-19 (OR 1.72; 95% CI 1.25-2.38; P <0.001), and people aged 31-45 years (OR 1.63; 95% CI 1.06-2.52; P <) .05).

Healthcare workers in Survey 2 were associated with worsening sleep (OR, 2.10; 95% CI, 1.14-3.93; P = 0.018).

This study may have included product recalls or general self-report bias.

The study’s authors concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased sleep disorders and sleep aid use worldwide, particularly among women, financially affected and health professionals.


Mandelkorn U., Genzer S., Choshen-Hillel S. et al. Escalation of Sleep Disorders Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: An International Cross-Sectional Study. J Clin Sleep Med. 2021; 17 (1): 45- 53. doi: 10.5664 / jcsm.8800

This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor

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