The sleep pattern of people was significantly affected in the lockdown with many taking over an hour to fall asleep and many having reduced sleeping time, according to the results of a study led by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Rishikesh along with other major hospitals in 25 states of the country, said AIIMS officials.
The study which was based on a survey comprising questionnaire on various aspects of sleep was spearheaded by Head of Department of Psychiatry & Neurology in AIIMS Rishikesh, Dr Ravi Gupta. In the survey conducted in early May on social media platforms, the group of doctors involved in the study received response from 958 respondents across the country and some from foreign countries.
“The lockdown caused by Covid-19 pandemic affected the life of almost every person in the country. We wanted to find out how it has also affected the sleep pattern of people for which we decided to a do a study based on a survey in the public,” said Dr Gupta.
“Initiating the process we conducted a survey by putting the questionnaire on social media platforms with the help of department of psychiatry in other several prominent government and private hospital in 25 states. The survey conducted in early May had questions related to demographic characteristics, current and previous sleep schedules, routine and working patters, insomnia, anxiety and others,” said Dr Gupta.
He informed that the group received ‘valid’ response on the survey from 958 respondents including 938 from India and remaining from some foreign countries.
“After studying the responses, significant change in sleep pattern was found in those respondents during period before the lockdown and after the lockdown. There was a shift in the bedtime and waking time apart from a reduction in night time sleep of people,” said Dr Gupta.
Pointing out some important changes in sleep pattern found during the study, he informed, “It was found that 48.4% people used to go to sleep after 11pm before lockdown, which increased to 65.2% after lockdown. Similarly, 51.6% people used to go to sleep before 11pm before the lockdown, which reduced to 34.8% after lockdown.”
“Also, earlier before the lockdown, 79.4% people used to fall asleep in less than 30 minutes which reduced to 56.6% after lockdown. In another major finding, 3.8% people used to take more than 60 minutes to fall asleep which increased to 16.99% after the lockdown,” he added.
Before the lockdown, 16.70% people used to fall asleep between 30-60 minutes which rose to 26.4% post lockdown.
The study also revealed that daytime napping also increased during the lockdown period. “Earlier 31.1% people used to take naps during daytime for less than 60 minutes but after lockdown 38% people are taking daytime naps for the same time. Also, 9.2% people used to take naps during day for more than 600 minutes which after lockdown increased to 25%.”
The number of people feeling refreshed after sleep also decreased after lockdown. “Before lockdown, 70% people used to feel refreshed after a sleep which reduced to 55% after lockdown,” Dr Gupta shared.
Apart from the change in sleep pattern, the study also found that ‘10% respondents in the survey showed symptoms of insomnia while 11% showed symptoms of anxiety and 11% showing symptoms of depression.’
However, the psychiatrists involved in the study couldn’t confirm if it was caused by lockdown. “We couldn’t say that it was because of the effect of lockdown as we don’t their health background,” said Dr Gupta adding that “Sleep time of 16% people reduced after lockdown.”
Terming the study a very significant one, director of AIIMS Rishikesh, Dr Ravi Kant said, “The study to analyse the change in sleep patterns of the people is very important because sleeping is a vital healing process of brain.”
“If one has problems in his sleep then he is prone to diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and other ailments. In this regard the relevance of the study is very important,” said Dr Ravi Kant.