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Understanding the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Lockdowns and Social Isolation on Sleep Quality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

David O'Regan, Melinda Jackson, Allan Young, Ivana Rosenzweig

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2053-2064
Number of pages12
JournalNature and Science of Sleep
Early online date11 Nov 2021
Accepted/In press11 Nov 2021
E-pub ahead of print11 Nov 2021
Published11 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Professor Young’s independent research is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London. Professor Allan H Young reports personal fees from Lundbeck, grants, personal fees, from Janssen, grants, personal fees, from Livanova, personal fees from Sunovion, grants from Compass, grants, personal fees from Novartis, personal fees from Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, personal fees from Bionomics, personal fees from Allegan, outside the submitted work; and Employed by King’s College London; Honorary Consultant SLaM (NHS UK) Deputy Editor, BJPsych Open Paid lectures and advisory boards for the following companies with drugs used in affective and related disorders: Astrazenaca, Eli Lilly, Lundbeck, Sunovion, Servier, Livanova, Janssen, Allegan, Bionomics, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, COMPASS Consultant to Johnson & Johnson Consultant to Livanova Received honoraria for attending advisory boards and presenting talks at meetings organised by LivaNova. Principal Investigator in the Restore-Life VNS registry study funded by LivaNova. Principal Investigator on ESKETINTRD3004: “An Open-label, Long-term, Safety and Efficacy Study of Intranasal Esketamine in Treatment-resistant Depression.” Principal Investigator on “The Effects of Psilocybin on Cognitive Function in Healthy Participants” Principal Investigator on “The Safety and Efficacy of Psilocybin in Participants with Treatment-Resistant Depression (P-TRD)” UK Chief Investigator for Novartis MDD study MIJ821A12201 Grant funding (past and present): NIMH (USA); CIHR (Canada); NARSAD (USA); Stanley Medical Research Institute (USA); MRC (UK); Wellcome Trust (UK); Royal College of Physicians (Edin); BMA (UK); UBC-VGH Foundation (Canada); WEDC (Canada); CCS Depression Research Fund (Canada); MSFHR (Canada); NIHR (UK). Janssen (UK) No shareholdings in pharmaceutical companies. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 O’Regan et al.

King's Authors


The uncertain, ever-changing and an ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic means that it may take some time before we can fully appreciate the negative effect of the pandemic and lockdown on our sleep and mental health. It is increasingly recognised that in the aftermath of pandemic, several persistent sleep, neuropsychiatric and physical sequelae may continue long after the pandemic is over. A body of evidence to date also highlights a significant disparity in sleep and mental health difficulties in specific vulnerable groups in the community, with different temporal profiles and sleep issues that are reported. In this perspective, we argue for a possible mechanistic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with its imposed restrictions and social isolation on sleep quality. We similarly discuss some of the potential international differences, as well as similarities, behind reported idiosyncratic biological vulnerabilities that may have contributed to the genesis of sleep issues. Lastly, we propose some possible implementations and innovations that may be needed in restruc-turing of sleep disorders services in order to benefit recovering COVID-19 patients.

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