Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients Were Five Times More Likely to Suffer From Total Sleep Deprivation Compared to Non-COVID-19 Patients; an Observational Comparative Study

Eva S. van den Ende, Kim D. I. van Veldhuizen, Belle Toussaint, Hanneke Merten, Peter M. van de Ven, Natasja A. Kok, Prabath W. B. Nanayakkara*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: Sleeping disorders are a common complaint in patients who suffer from an acute COVID-19 infection. Nonetheless, little is known about the severity of sleep disturbances in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and whether these are caused by disease related symptoms, hospitalization, or the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare the quality and quantity of sleep in hospitalized patients with and without COVID-19, and to determine the main reasons for sleep disruption. Methods: This was an observational comparative study conducted between October 1, 2020 and February 1, 2021 at the pulmonary ward of an academic hospital in the Netherlands. This ward contained both COVID-19-positive and -negative tested patients. The sleep quality was assessed using the PROMIS-Sleep Disturbance Short Form and sleep quantity using the Consensus Sleep Diary. Patient-reported sleep disturbing factors were summarized. Results: A total of 79 COVID-19 patients (mean age 63.0, male 59.5%) and 50 non-COVID-19 patients (mean age 59.5, male 54.0%) participated in this study. A significantly larger proportion of patients with COVID-19 reported not to have slept at all (19% vs. 4% of non-COVID-19 patients, p = 0.011). The Sleep quality (PROMIS total score) and quantity (Total Sleep Time) did not significantly differ between both groups ((median PROMIS total score COVID-19; 26 [IQR 17-35], non-COVID-19; 23 [IQR 18-29], p = 0.104), (Mean Total Sleep Time COVID-19; 5 h 5 min, non-COVID-19 mean; 5 h 32 min, p = 0.405)). The most frequently reported disturbing factors by COVID-19 patients were; ‘dyspnea’, ‘concerns about the disease’, ‘anxiety’ and ‘noises of other patients, medical staff and medical devices’. Conclusion: This study showed that both patients with and without an acute COVID-19 infection experienced poor quality and quantity of sleep at the hospital. Although the mean scores did not significantly differ between groups, total sleep deprivation was reported five times more often by COVID-19 patients. With one in five COVID-19 patients reporting a complete absence of night sleep, poor sleep seems to be a serious problem. Sleep improving interventions should focus on physical and psychological comfort and noise reduction in the hospital environment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number680932
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2021

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