Lockdown led to changes in quality, quantity of sleep, says study

The study was conducted by All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh and other 25 medical institutions of the country.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh (Photo | http://aiimsrishikesh.edu.in)
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh (Photo | http://aiimsrishikesh.edu.in)

DEHRADUN: The Covid-19 lockdown affected the sleep schedule of the people and brought changes in the quantity and quality of night-time sleep of people, revealed a study by All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh and other 25 medical institutions of the country.

Dr. Ravi Gupta, head of the department of psychiatry & neurology at AIIMS, Rishikesh who led the study told The New Indian Express, "The analysis was conducted by changes in sleep quality between the pre-lockdown and lockdown periods with four categories -- those with pre-existing poor quality sleep that persisted, those with good sleep quality in both periods, and those whose sleep worsened or improved between these time points."

The survey was conducted in early May 2020 using a questionnaire circulated through social media platforms related to demographic characteristics, current and previous sleep schedules, routine, and working patterns with a total of 958 valid responses by participants from a total of 11 countries including India, USA, United Kingdom, UAE, Canada, Singapore, Oman, Germany, Australia, Kuwait, and Qatar.

The study revealed that compared to the pre-lockdown period, there was a shift to a later bedtime and waking time, with a reduction in night‑time sleep and an increase in day‑time napping.

"These effects were visible across occupational groups, but mostly affected working individuals except health professionals. Sleep quality deteriorated across groups. Reductions in sleep duration were associated with depressive symptoms," the study said.

Differences in responses for the current and previous sleeping and waking times were used to identify individuals with later, earlier, and similar schedules which were then used to recategorize individuals as those with an overall reduction in sleep times (those who had later sleeping times with the same or earlier waking times, or earlier waking times with the same sleep time), an increase in sleep time (an earlier sleeping time and later waking time, or either of these with no change in the other measure).

The study analysed the data on various parameters across the aforementioned three groups, said Dr. Gupta.

The study in its result section concluded, "A change has been noticed in sleep time and wake time after lockdown. Based on bedtime and wake time before and after home confinement, subjects were categorized into three groups - whose sleep duration at night has reduced (16.1%), increased (18.1%), and last, where it remained unchanged."

Elaborating on the age group and profession of the participants in the study, the experts said that the average age of participants in the study was 37.32 (±13.09) years.

Out of the total, two fifths (41.2%) of the group comprised women of which, 67% were married and living with their spouse. The rest were either unmarried or living alone.

Highlighting educational qualification of the participants z the study revealed that three-fourth (75.9%) respondents were graduate and 35.9% were health-care workers.

Around 47% of the subjects were working from home and 35.9% were going outside the home for work during lockdown while nearly half (55%) participants were working as per their convenience while remaining were following daytime shift work and about 16.4% reported that they were engaged in changing shift-work.

Interestingly, nearly 9% were nicotine users, 10.8% were using alcohol, and 1.1% reported the use of cannabis. Nearly 14% reported that their substance use had reduced during lockdown, while 3.1% reported an increase.

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The New Indian Express