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An international group of researchers led by Professor Colin Espie from the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford is investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sleep and daily rhythms in adults.

An elderly man suffers from insomnia, trying to sleep. Backlight image in blue tones.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, difficulty getting to sleep, difficulty staying asleep and vivid dreaming have been widely reported across the general population. Some people may already have had sleep problems, and these seem to have got worse. Other people who were good sleepers before seem to have developed insomnia.

Sleep is at the heart of physical and mental health. It is essential for tissue repair, cell regeneration, immune functioning, memory functioning and consolation, and for the regulation of daytime emotion. When people are sleep deprived or develop a persistent sleep disorder, the consequences include loss of energy, sleepiness, impaired concentration and memory, and disturbed mood. Inadequate sleep has been associated with increased risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes, and risk of developing anxiety or depression.

This study will look at changes in sleep quality in relation to social confinement such as a national lockdown or self-isolation, risk of exposure to the virus, and psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. Researchers aim to understand how sleep problems have emerged, and to investigate how sleep during COVID-19 has interacted with lifestyle, health and wellbeing.

Read more on the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences website

This story is also featured on the University of Oxford website

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