Sleep and Circadian Health of Critical COVID-19 Survivors 3 Months After Hospital Discharge

Crit Care Med. 2022 Jun 1;50(6):945-954. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000005476. Epub 2022 Feb 18.


Objectives: To evaluate the sleep and circadian rest-activity pattern of critical COVID-19 survivors 3 months after hospital discharge.

Design: Observational, prospective study.

Setting: Single-center study.

Patients: One hundred seventy-two consecutive COVID-19 survivors admitted to the ICU with acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Interventions: Seven days of actigraphy for sleep and circadian rest-activity pattern assessment; validated questionnaires; respiratory tests at the 3-month follow-up.

Measurements and main results: The cohort included 172 patients, mostly males (67.4%) with a median (25th-75th percentile) age of 61.0 years (52.8-67.0 yr). The median number of days at the ICU was 11.0 (6.00-24.0), and 51.7% of the patients received invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV). According to the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), 60.5% presented poor sleep quality 3 months after hospital discharge, which was further confirmed by actigraphy. Female sex was associated with an increased score in the PSQI (p < 0.05) and IMV during ICU stay was able to predict a higher fragmentation of the rest-activity rhythm at the 3-month follow-up (p < 0.001). Furthermore, compromised mental health measured by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale was associated with poor sleep quality (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Our findings highlight the importance of considering sleep and circadian health after hospital discharge. Within this context, IMV during the ICU stay could aid in predicting an increased fragmentation of the rest-activity rhythm at the 3-month follow-up. Furthermore, compromised mental health could be a marker for sleep disruption at the post-COVID period.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Female
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sleep
  • Survivors