The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.
A two-year research review of sleep studies during the pandemic shows that children and those who contracted COVID-19 took the biggest hit in their sleep quality, according to a recent study published in Sleep Medicine Reviews.
“The number of children with sleep disturbances nearly doubled. It was somewhat surprising that one of the biggest impacts we found was among the children,” said Dr. Michael Vitiello, senior author of the study and a University of Washington (UW) Medicine psychiatrist and sleep specialist.
Before the pandemic emerged in 2020, about 25% of children reportedly suffered from sleep disturbances, the report noted. During the pandemic, that percentage jumped to 46%, a statistic the study called “alarming.” Sleep disturbances among children ages 10 to 17 were attributed to bedtimes and wakeup times, inability to do outdoor activities during lockdowns, remote learning, and lack of in-person social activities.
Children also picked up on the stress of the adults around them, Vitiello noted.
This figure was part of a comprehensive meta-analysis—and one of the largest of its kind—that reviewed 250 research papers worldwide involving 493,000 people in 49 countries, including the United States.
In the analysis, six major populations were identified, with 52% of the COVID-19 patients reporting a problem with sleep, 42.5% of children and adolescents, 41% of the healthcare workers, and 36% of the general population.
“Another interesting finding is that the frequency of sleep disturbances reported in 2021 appears to be higher than in 2020, suggesting that the COVID 19 pandemic is continuing to have a negative impact on sleep,” he said.