How COVID-19 has affected our sleep

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Joe Myers, Writer, Formative Content

  • A new survey suggests the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting our sleep.
  • 70% of people have reported one or more new sleep challenges since the start of the pandemic.
  • Sleep is vital for our physical and mental health, with World Sleep Day raising awareness of the role it plays.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 70% of respondents in a new survey have experienced one or more new sleep challenges.

The research, conducted by Royal Philips, surveyed 13,000 adults in 13 countries around the world to look at attitudes, perceptions and behaviours around sleep.

“Around the world, people recognize they are not sleeping enough, and for some the pandemic has negatively impacted their sleep,” Teofilo Lee-Chiong, M.D., Chief Medical Liaison, Sleep and Respiratory Care at Philips said.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about mental health?

One in four people will experience mental illness in their lives, costing the global economy an estimated $6 trillion by 2030.

Mental ill-health is the leading cause of disability and poor life outcomes in young people aged 10–24 years, contributing up to 45% of the overall burden of disease in this age-group. Yet globally, young people have the worst access to youth mental health care within the lifespan and across all the stages of illness (particularly during the early stages).

In response, the Forum has launched a global dialogue series to discuss the ideas, tools and architecture in which public and private stakeholders can build an ecosystem for health promotion and disease management on mental health.

One of the current key priorities is to support global efforts toward mental health outcomes – promoting key recommendations toward achieving the global targets on mental health, such as the WHO Knowledge-Action-Portal and the Countdown Global Mental Health

Read more about the work of our Platform for Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare, and contact us to get involved.

The results

The survey was conducted to coincide with World Sleep Day, which takes place every 19 March.

It suggests the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting some people’s sleep, with 37% of those surveyed saying the pandemic is negatively impacting their ability to sleep well.

Sleep survey COVID-19
Image: Royal Philips

More broadly, just 55% of adults are satisfied with their sleep, and, during the week, the average adult isn’t getting their recommended amount of sleep.

There’s a gender angle to it too, with women significantly more likely to report that the pandemic has negatively impacted their sleep routine, their ability to sleep well and are more likely to report new sleep challenges.

What are people doing about their health and sleep during the pandemic?

But, strategies like meditation, reading, and soothing music to aid sleep have all increased since last year’s survey.

The report also showed the pandemic has increased use of technology to tackle health issues. Around a third of those surveyed said they’d had a telehealth appointment during COVID-19. However, the report cautions that these telehealth appointments are not yet being widely used for sleep issues.

A separate McKinsey survey has also found that the rise of telehealth is expected to continue beyond the end of the pandemic. Virtual healthcare visits increased 10-fold in Germany, 25-fold in the United States and 50-fold in France during the pandemic, it found.

But, there are hurdles to overcome around access to virtual healthcare, for example reaching those without internet access.

The importance of good sleep

Other surveys and reports have also shown the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on sleep around the world. For example, a study of Canadians during the early stages of the pandemic found half showed signs of serious sleep problems.

Anecdotal evidence also suggests problems with insomnia have increased – it’s even been christened ‘coronasomnia’.

A lack of sleep can make you prone to a number of medical conditions, according to the UK’s National Health Service, including obseity, high blood pressure and diabetes. It can also disrupt your immune system, making you more vulnerable to illness.

Research also suggests that sleep plays an important role in memory and learning. Indeed, some research suggests it might also be important for forgetting things too.

There’s also a link between sleep and our mental health, with sleep problems more likely to affect people with psychiatric disorders. Research also suggests that a good night’s sleep can help build mental and emotional resilience.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Climate action ‘both a priority and a driver of the decade’: Guterres

Finland is a world leader in clean energy. Here’s what’s driving its success

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

Syria war: executions condemned as violence continues ‘on both sides’ of border with Turkey

Now is the time to seize ‘unprecedented opportunity’ of the Sustainable Development Forum, says ECOSOC President

Afghanistan extends ceasefire with Taliban; UN urges both sides to work towards lasting peace

EU and China in search of a win-win agreement through strategic cooperation ahead of the EU-China summit

‘Wind blowing in the direction of peace’ in Africa: UN Secretary-General

Harnessing the power of nature in the fight against climate change

Rule of law in Hungary: Parliament should ask Council to act, say committee MEPs

COP25: ‘Signals of hope’ multiplying in face of global climate crisis, insists UN chief Guterres

Council Presidency: Floundering with the EU 2014 budget

EU Banks still get subsidies from impoverished citizens

Century challenge: inclusion of immigrants in the health system

State aid: Commission approves €53 million public support scheme for charging stations for low emission vehicles in Romania

Is China about to launch its own cryptocurrency?

European Health Union: Commission publishes open public consultation on the European Health Data Space

Trade preferences boost developing countries’ exports to the European Union

These are New York Public Library’s 10 most borrowed books

Bank resolutions to remain a politically influenced affair

China in my eyes

5 charts that show renewable energy’s latest milestone

Making the move to more sustainable mobility – three steps for companies

This young activist explains how to change the world in 3 steps

Hungary’s emergency measures: MEPs ask EU to impose sanctions and stop payments

Telemedicine: union when the rule is isolation

International partners pledge $1.2 billion to help cyclone-hit Mozambique recover, ‘build back better’

Vulnerable young people must not be blamed & stigmatised for violent radicalisation

Scotland wants to create an ethical stock exchange (Post Brexit)

Addressing the Challenges of COVID-19 Vaccination

The future of the plastics industry is green

A clean energy future with hydrogen could be closer than we think

Human rights breaches in Guinea Conakry and Madagascar

Art, mental health and suicide: different strategies for increasing access to health services

As human genome editing moves from the lab to the clinic, the ethical debate is no longer hypothetical

How debt for climate swaps could spur a green recovery

The UN’s unyielding effort to tackle sexual abuse and exploitation: our quarterly update

Security Union: Significant progress and tangible results over past years but efforts must continue

Impact investing in Latin America and addressing the ‘missing middle’

Governments must take further action to boost job opportunities at an older age

EUREKA @ European Business Summit 2014: Innovation across borders – mobilising national R&D funds for transnational innovation in Europe

The world’s impact in a small Brazilian town and the increased demand for mental health

Long-term EU budget: The Union’s ambitions must be matched with sufficient reliable funding

Time to pay up: UN summit to push for development finance breakthrough

‘Great cause of concern’ UN chief tells Security Council, surveying ‘bleak’ state of civilian protection

How Islamic finance can build resilience to climate change

Further reforms in France can drive growth, improve public finances and boost social cohesion

The best companies to work for in 2020, according to Glassdoor

Countries must up their game to reduce low birth weights, warns UN-backed report

Libya: EU efforts should focus on protecting migrants, MEPs say

MWC2021 Launches New Initiative to Widen Access for Spanish Industry Professionals

One in three children do not get the nutrition they need

Largest joint UN humanitarian convoy of the war, reaches remote Syrian settlement

Is the EU denying its social character favouring a banking conglomerate?

Why the UN is investigating poverty in the United Kingdom

Sustainable fishing staying afloat in developed world, sinking in poorer regions

A comprehensive strategy for Eurozone’s long term growth gains momentum

Silk Road Unlimited

This is how Europe is helping companies and workers as the coronavirus crisis deepens

UN chief announces progress on committee to shape Syria’s political future

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s