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Putting COVID-related sleeplessness to bed

COVID can have a direct and indirect impact on a person’s quality of sleep, resulting in sleep difficulties and insomnia (1,2). A recent study has shown that even six months after first symptom onset COVID can still impact sleep quality in three quarters of patients (3). Poor sleep quality not only negatively impacts quality of life (1), it also increases a person’s risk for viral infections and reduces the efficacy of vaccinations (2). Managing poor sleep quality to ensure a restful night’s sleep is therefore important.

COVID-19 and lock-down brought with it amongst others social isolation, home-schooling, job insecurity, financial stressors, sickness and loss of loved ones, all of which led to increased levels of stress, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and sleep difficulties. 4,5

Although lock-down measures have been necessary to reduce the spread of the virus, they have had a high psychological cost on populations around the world. 1 An online survey in Italy reported that 57 % of participants experienced poor sleep quality, 42 % high stress, 32 % high anxiety and 8 % symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the initial lock-down period.1 In fact, a review of 55 studies conducted since the start of the pandemic have shown that depression is three times higher, anxiety four times higher and PTSD five times higher in a population affected by COVID-19 than in the general population.5

A recent study conducted in China has shown that even six months after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, three quarters of patients still had at least one symptom, with fatigue, muscle weakness, sleep difficulties, anxiety and depression being the most common.3  Reduced sleep quality negatively affects life satisfaction, health, and social and emotional well-being. 1 Poor sleep quality is also associated with increased susceptibility to viral infections and reduced efficacy of vaccinations.2  For these reasons, improving sleep quality to ensure a restful night’s sleep is important especially during a pandemic. 

For more information on insomnia visit www.sleepless.co.za and download your free sleep diary.

Ask your doctor for the only registered prolonged-release melatonin tablet in South Africa. DM



  1. Casagrande M, Favieri F, Tambelli R, Forte G. The enemy who sealed the world: effects quarantine due to the COVID-19 on sleep quality, anxiety, and psychological distress in the Italian population. Sleep Med 2020;75:12-20.
  2. Gao C, Scullin MK. Sleep health early in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States: integrating longitudinal, cross-sectional, and retrospective recall data. Sleep Med 2020;73:1-10.
  3. Huang C, Huang L, Wang Y, Li X, Ren L, Gu X, et al. 6-month consequences of COVID-19 in patients discharged from hospital: a cohort study. Lancet 2021;397:220-232.
  4. Altena E, Baglioni C, Espie CA, Ellis J, Gavriloff D, Holzinger B, et al. Dealing with sleep problems during home confinement due to the COVID-19 outbreak: Practical recommendations from a task force of the European CBT-I Academy. J Sleep Res 2020;29:e13052.
  5. Cénat JM, Blais-Rochette C, Kokou-Kpolou CK, Noorishad P-G, Mukunzi JN, McIntee S-E, et al. Prevalence of symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, posttraumatic stress disorder, and psychological stress among populations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychiatr Res 2021;295:113599.
  6. Sleep Foundation. Sleep Guidelines During the COVID-19 Pandemic. [Online] 2020 Dec 17 [cited 2021 Jan 25]. Available from: URL: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-guidelines-covid-19-isolation.

Further information is available on request to the holder of registration. Litha Pharma (Pty) Ltd. Reg. No.: 1994/008717/07. 106 16th Rd, Midrand. Tel. No: 087 742 1860. www.acino.co.za. LP3411 02/2021 Exp 02/2021.










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