Coronavirus: Quality of sleep has dropped during lockdown

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The coronavirus lockdown has provided people with a regular sleep schedule filled with more hours in bed than normal. Seventy-five per cent of those surveyed reported sleeping up to 15 minutes longer than before the lockdown, on average (stock)


The coronavirus lockdown has provided people with a regular sleep schedule filled with more time in bed than normal. 

Seventy-five per cent of those surveyed reported sleeping up to 15 minutes longer than before the lockdown, on average. 

However, while the quantity of sleep has increased, the quality has dropped significantly, scientists say. 

This is thought to be because a ‘self-perceived burden’ has been weighing on the minds of people due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The coronavirus lockdown has provided people with a regular sleep schedule filled with more hours in bed than normal. Seventy-five per cent of those surveyed reported sleeping up to 15 minutes longer than before the lockdown, on average (stock)

Researchers from the University of Basel surveyed 435 individuals between 23 March and 26 April 2020 on how the lockdown has influenced their sleep cycles. 

The study, published in the journal Current Biology, states that the shift to a remote working lifestyle and increased time at home has led to more sleep.

A primary reason for this, researchers say, is a lack of ‘social jetlag’.

Social jetlag is a term used to describe the tiredness and fatigue brought on by burning the candle at both ends and sacrificing sleep in order to spend time with friends and family. 

Under normal conditions, such as before the pandemic, people normally sleep far more on weekends than they do during the working week. 

However, lockdown has eradicated social jetlag and therefore, sleeping cycles have become more consistent over the course of seven days. 

while the quantity of sleep has increased, the quality of sleep has dropped significantly, scientists say. This is thought to be because a 'self-perceived burden' has been weighing on the minds of people due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the quantity of sleep has increased, the quality of sleep has dropped significantly, scientists say. This is thought to be because a ‘self-perceived burden’ has been weighing on the minds of people due to the COVID-19 pandemic (stock)

Teens who get more sleep are more resilient and better at dealing with stress 

Teenagers who get more sleep during the night are better at coping with change and stress, new research has found. 

Adolescents were quizzed on their sleep habits and how long it takes them to drop off in the evening while also answering questions on their resilience. 

The study revealed teens who have the best sleep patterns are also those who are most resilient. 

Over the course of 24 months, data was collected from 840 students via questionnaires.  

Chinese researchers conducting the study found higher resilience scores among teenagers who repeatedly had a good night’s sleep. 

Being able to fall asleep quickly and not spend long periods of time tossing and turning in bed was also a good sign for high levels of resilience.  

‘Usually, we would expect a decrease in social jetlag to be associated with reports of improved sleep quality,’ says cognitive neuroscientist Christine Blume, who led the research.  

‘However, in our sample, overall sleep quality decreased. 

‘We think that the self-perceived burden, which substantially increased during this unprecedented COVID-19 lockdown, may have outweighed the otherwise beneficial effects of a reduced social jetlag.’  

In a separate study at the University of Colorado,researchers asked similar questions to 139 university students.

They found that after their classes were moved online and they were not required to attend in-person, nightly sleep duration increased by about 30 minutes during weekdays and 24 minutes on weekends. 

The timing of sleep also became more regular from day to day, and there was less social jetlag. 

Professor Kenneth Wright, who led this study, says insufficient sleep, erratic sleep patterns and social jetlag are common in modern society. 

‘Poor sleep health behaviours contribute to and worsen major health and safety problems, including heart disease and stroke, weight gain and obesity, diabetes, mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, substance abuse, and impaired immune health, as well as morning sleepiness, cognitive impairment, reduced work productivity, poor school performance and risk of accident/drowsy driving crashes.’

He adds: ‘Not surprisingly, this unprecedented situation of the pandemic and the lockdown increased self-perceived burden and had adverse effects on sleep quality. 

‘On a positive note, though, the relaxation of social schedules also led to an improved alignment between external or social factors determining our sleep-wake timing and our body’s internal biological signals. 

‘This was also associated with overall, more sleep.’ 



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