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Sleepless in Lockdown: unpacking differences in sleep loss during the coronavirus pandemic in the UK

Sleepless in Lockdown: unpacking differences in sleep loss during the coronavirus pandemic in the UK
Sleepless in Lockdown: unpacking differences in sleep loss during the coronavirus pandemic in the UK
Background: Covid-19 has been shown to be having a disproportionate impact on the health of individuals from different ethnic groups and those employed in certain occupations, whilst the indirect impacts of Covid-19, including the closure of schools and business and the move to home working, fall disproportionately on the young and on women. These factors may in turn impact upon sleep health. Research on sleep deprivation during the pandemic crisis to date has been limited. The present study aimed to explore the levels and social determinants of self-reported sleep loss among the general population during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, with a particular focus on ethnic and gender disparities.

Methods: newly available national representative survey data from Understanding Society COVID19 Study collected during April 2020 were analysed. These data were linked to Wave 9 of Understanding Society conducted in 2018/19, providing information about the respondents prior to the outbreak of the pandemic. Cross-sectional analysis provided prevalence estimates, whilst analysis of the linked longitudinal data provided incidence estimates. The analytical sample included 15,360 respondents aged 16 and above; among these, 12,206 reported no problem of sleep loss before the epidemic.

Results: prevalence and incidence rates of perceived sleep loss were 24.7% and 20.2% respectively. Women (at the level of 31.8% and 27.0%) and individuals from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) communities (at the level of 32.0% and 24.6%) were more vulnerable to sleep deprivation due to the pandemic. Multivariate regression analysis shows that being female, the presence of young children in the household, perceived financial difficulties and being a Covid-19-related key worker were all predictive of sleep loss. Once these covariates were controlled for the bivariate relationship between ethnicity and sleep loss was reversed, reflecting the complex interaction between the coronavirus epidemic and ethnicity.

Conclusions: the pandemic has widened the disparity of sleep deprivation across different groups, with women with young children, key workers and people of BAME heritage all experiencing difficulty in sleeping, which in turn may negatively affect mental and physical health and well-being.
Falkingham, Jane
8df36615-1547-4a6d-ad55-aa9496e85519
Evandrou, Maria
cd2210ea-9625-44d7-b0f4-fc0721a25d28
Qin, Min
10d55bfb-f7e6-409a-bcc5-6d2ba1f743e8
Vlachantoni, Athina
06a52fbb-f2a0-4c81-9fbc-d6efc736c6cb
Falkingham, Jane
8df36615-1547-4a6d-ad55-aa9496e85519
Evandrou, Maria
cd2210ea-9625-44d7-b0f4-fc0721a25d28
Qin, Min
10d55bfb-f7e6-409a-bcc5-6d2ba1f743e8
Vlachantoni, Athina
06a52fbb-f2a0-4c81-9fbc-d6efc736c6cb

Falkingham, Jane, Evandrou, Maria, Qin, Min and Vlachantoni, Athina (2020) Sleepless in Lockdown: unpacking differences in sleep loss during the coronavirus pandemic in the UK. medRxiv. (doi:10.1101/2020.07.19.20157255).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: Covid-19 has been shown to be having a disproportionate impact on the health of individuals from different ethnic groups and those employed in certain occupations, whilst the indirect impacts of Covid-19, including the closure of schools and business and the move to home working, fall disproportionately on the young and on women. These factors may in turn impact upon sleep health. Research on sleep deprivation during the pandemic crisis to date has been limited. The present study aimed to explore the levels and social determinants of self-reported sleep loss among the general population during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, with a particular focus on ethnic and gender disparities.

Methods: newly available national representative survey data from Understanding Society COVID19 Study collected during April 2020 were analysed. These data were linked to Wave 9 of Understanding Society conducted in 2018/19, providing information about the respondents prior to the outbreak of the pandemic. Cross-sectional analysis provided prevalence estimates, whilst analysis of the linked longitudinal data provided incidence estimates. The analytical sample included 15,360 respondents aged 16 and above; among these, 12,206 reported no problem of sleep loss before the epidemic.

Results: prevalence and incidence rates of perceived sleep loss were 24.7% and 20.2% respectively. Women (at the level of 31.8% and 27.0%) and individuals from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) communities (at the level of 32.0% and 24.6%) were more vulnerable to sleep deprivation due to the pandemic. Multivariate regression analysis shows that being female, the presence of young children in the household, perceived financial difficulties and being a Covid-19-related key worker were all predictive of sleep loss. Once these covariates were controlled for the bivariate relationship between ethnicity and sleep loss was reversed, reflecting the complex interaction between the coronavirus epidemic and ethnicity.

Conclusions: the pandemic has widened the disparity of sleep deprivation across different groups, with women with young children, key workers and people of BAME heritage all experiencing difficulty in sleeping, which in turn may negatively affect mental and physical health and well-being.

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Accepted/In Press date: 21 July 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 21 July 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 442767
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/442767
PURE UUID: 2d4a64b8-bb1c-4a45-8321-334013ae7650
ORCID for Jane Falkingham: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7135-5875
ORCID for Maria Evandrou: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2115-9358
ORCID for Min Qin: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5941-9979
ORCID for Athina Vlachantoni: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1539-3057

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Date deposited: 27 Jul 2020 16:30
Last modified: 20 Feb 2021 02:50

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