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Curr Biol ; 30(14): R795-R797, 2020 07 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-592273


In modern societies, human rest-activity rhythms and sleep result from the tensions and dynamics between the conflicting poles of external social time (e.g., work hours and leisure activities) and an individual's internal biological time. A mismatch between the two has been suggested to induce 'social jetlag' [1] and 'social sleep restriction', that is, shifts in sleep timing and differences in sleep duration between work days and free days. Social jetlag [2,3] and sleep restrictions [4] have repeatedly been associated with negative consequences on health, mental wellbeing, and performance. In a large-scale quasi-experimental design, we investigated the effects of the phase with the most rigorous COVID-19 restrictions on the relationship between social and biological rhythms as well as sleep during a six-week period (mid-March until end of April 2020) in three European societies (Austria, Germany, Switzerland). We found that, on one hand, the restrictions reduced the mismatch between external (social) and internal (biological) sleep-wake timing, as indexed by significant reductions in social jetlag and social sleep restriction, with a concomitant increase in sleep duration. Sleep quality on the other hand was slightly reduced. The improved individual sleep-wake timing can presumably be attributed to an increased flexibility of social schedules, for instance due to more work being accomplished from home. However, this unprecedented situation also led to a significant increase in self-perceived burden, which was attendant to the decrease in sleep quality. These adverse effects may be alleviated by exposure to natural daylight as well as physical exercise.

Communicable Disease Control , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Periodicity , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Sleep , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Chronobiology Disorders/physiopathology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Switzerland/epidemiology
Curr Biol ; 30(14): R797-R798, 2020 07 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-592063


Sleep health has multiple dimensions including duration, regularity, timing, and quality [1-4]. The Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak led to Stay-at-Home orders and Social Distancing Requirements in countries throughout the world to limit the spread of COVID-19. We investigated sleep behaviors prior to and during Stay-at-Home orders in 139 university students (aged 22.2 ± 1.7 years old [±SD]) while respectively taking the same classes in-person and remotely. During Stay-at-Home, nightly time in bed devoted to sleep (TIB, a proxy for sleep duration with regard to public health recommendations [5]) increased by ∼30 min during weekdays and by ∼24 mins on weekends and regularity of sleep timing improved by ∼12 min. Sleep timing became later by ∼50 min during weekdays and ∼25 min on weekends, and thus the difference between weekend and weekday sleep timing decreased - hence reducing the amount of social jetlag [6,7]. Further, we find individual differences in the change of TIB devoted to sleep such that students with shorter TIB at baseline before the first COVID-19 cases emerged locally had larger increases in weekday and weekend TIB during Stay-at-Home. The percentage of participants that reported 7 h or more sleep per night, the minimum recommended sleep duration for adults to maintain health [5] - including immune health - increased from 84% to 92% for weekdays during Stay-at-Home versus baseline. Understanding the factors underlying such changes in sleep health behaviors could help inform public health recommendations with the goal of improving sleep health during and following the Stay-at-Home orders of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Communicable Disease Control , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Sleep , Students , COVID-19 , Chronobiology Disorders/physiopathology , Circadian Rhythm , Colorado/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Universities