COVID-19 pandemic: sleeping difficulties have increased in certain groups

  • MedRxiv
  • 21 Jul 2020

  • curated by Pavankumar Kamat
  • UK Medical News
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"As an exception during this period of health crisis, some of the publications mentioned are at the time of writing still in pre-publication, undergoing peer review and subject to change. The results of this pre-print study should be interpreted with utmost caution."

According to a new pre-print study, women with young children, key workers and individuals of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) heritage are experiencing sleeping difficulties as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Researchers at the University of Southampton analysed survey data from the Understanding Society COVID-19 Study collected during April 2020 and compared it with the data from 2018-2019. The survey included 15,360 respondents aged ≥16 years, of which 12,206 individuals did not have any problems with sleep prior to the epidemic.

18.9 per cent of women were losing sleep over worry before the pandemic, which increased to 31 per cent during the pandemic. The comparative rise for men was from 12 per cent to 16.5 per cent. For women who had children aged 0-4 years, 19.5 per cent experienced sleep loss over worry before the pandemic. This proportion rose to 40 per cent during the first four weeks of lockdown.

The proportion of individuals of BAME heritage who reported sleep problems before the pandemic was 20.7 per cent. This figure rose to 32 per cent during lockdown. Among keyworkers, the proportion of individuals reporting sleep problems rose from 16.4 per cent before the pandemic to 28.9 per cent during the pandemic. Increase in sleep loss since lockdown was marked in key workers from the health and social care sector or education and childcare sector.

Professor Jane Falkingham OBE, who led the study, said: "The indirect impacts of Covid-19, including the closure of schools and businesses, and the move to home working, seem to be worse for working age people and women. These factors may, in turn, impact upon sleep health."