Sleep/wake rhythm modifications in the Italian population during SARS-CoV2 pandemic: a web-based cross-sectional survey

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2021 Aug;25(15):5047-5056. doi: 10.26355/eurrev_202108_26462.


Objective: The study aims to investigate in a representative sample of the Italian population whether the SARS-CoV2 pandemic and the subsequent home isolation had repercussion on the daily sleep/wake cycling and habits.

Materials and methods: A web-based cross-sectional survey consisted of various multiple-choice questions concerning demographic characteristics, sleep habits, and sleep-related problems was broadcast through mainstream social-media. Individuals were randomly allowed to participate from April 29th to May 17th, namely 50 days after the lockdown imposition and the day before its abrogation.

Results: 58.84% of respondents experienced a change in their sleep habits. 71% of those whose sleep changed showed a delayed sleep pattern. Overall, a two-fold risk of delayed sleep pattern without any change in total sleep time emerged during the investigation period. Females emerged almost 2 times more likely to modify their sleep habits than males. Youths were also more likely to experience modifications than old people, who conversely appeared protected. A significant improvement in daytime sleepiness occurred during the home isolation which additionally correlated with delayed bedtime and less sleep time.

Conclusions: A high rate of change in sleep habits, especially among youths and females, occurred in Italian population during the home isolation to limit the SARS-CoV2 pandemic. Moreover, self-reported daytime sleepiness decreased in severity.

MeSH terms

  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires