COVID-19 study: People sleeping more, but not better, during lockdown

COVID-19 study: People sleeping more, but not better, during lockdown

According to the results of a study in Switzerland, more and more people are getting longer sleep hours while staying at home amidst the global COVID-19 crisis. The quality of sleep, however, has worsened during the lockdown.

The study was conducted by the University of Basel, and its findings were then published in the bi-weekly peer-reviewed scientific journal Current Biology.

What the researchers from the University of Basel did was look closely into the sleep patterns of more than 400 volunteers from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

The study was done from mid-March until the end of April earlier this year, a period that saw COVID-19 lockdown levels at their highest in the three European countries.

Work at home, sleep longer

In most countries around the world, lockdown protocols have demanded everyone, except for those deemed as essential workers, to basically stay at home as much as they can in order to minimize outside exposure and interaction.

The result is that those with jobs had to embrace work-from-home arrangements, which have allowed folks to make adjustments to their sleep schedules more easily.

Because most people are stuck at home, they have been able to sleep more consistently during the weekdays and weekends, the study suggests.

Decreasing “social jetlag”

The results of the University of Basel study also show that staying at home has allowed people to cut down on what the researchers refer to as “social jetlag.”

Because more and more folks are not going out socializing, they have been able to get more sleep, especially on weekends, where social jetlag is normally present.

With the new consistent sleeping habits, the study found that the volunteers have gained an average of 15 additional minutes of sleep on a nightly basis.

But the quality of sleep is more than just the number of hours logged catching Zs.

sleep quality covid-19 lockdown

COVID-19 lockdown’s effect on sleep quality

It seems that the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic is also significantly affecting the quality of sleep that people are getting during the lockdown, or at least according to the results of the study.

In conducting the study, the University of Basel had its volunteers provide feedback with regards to how well they were sleeping, regardless of the duration of their bedtime.

And the general perception among those who participated in the study was that their sleep was not necessarily restful, even though they were sleeping longer and more regularly.

But there’s hope

Looking at the brighter side of things, the idea of longer sleep duration is still something that most people should embrace, as pointed out by the researchers.

The same goes for consistency in sleep hours. Put it this way—getting some regular sleep, even though the sleep quality needs improvement, is still miles better than getting no sleep at all.

As for those who are worried about sleep quality, the researchers suggest getting involved in some physical activity in one’s waking hours.

Even in lockdown, any form of exercise or a simple hobby can go a long way in preparing your body and mind for dreamland.

Images courtesy Annie Spratt, Pixabay/Pexels

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