Pre-existing and post-pandemic insomnia symptoms are associated with high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression globally during the COVID-19 pandemic

Hailey Meaklim, Moira F. Junge, Prerna Varma, Wendy A. Finck, Melinda L. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Study Objectives: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to an increased prevalence of insomnia and mental health symptoms globally. However, most studies to date have not examined mental health symptoms between individuals with insomnia, either pre-existing or developing post-pandemic compared with good sleepers. This study examined differences in stress, anxiety, and depression between individuals with pre-existing insomnia symptoms, postpandemic insomnia symptoms, and no insomnia symptoms in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was completed by 2724 participants from 67 countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Perceived stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms were compared between individuals with post-pandemic insomnia symptoms (n = 1007), pre-existing insomnia symptoms (n = 804), and no insomnia symptoms (n = 913). Results: Post-pandemic insomnia symptoms were associated with higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression than pre-existing or no insomnia symptoms (P < .001). Pre-existing insomnia symptoms were also associated with higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression than no insomnia symptoms (P < .001). Individualswhomet likely criteria for acute insomnia also reported higher stress, anxiety, and depression than thosewith insomnia disorder (P < .001).Across all groups, individuals reporting a previous mental health diagnosis had worse stress, anxiety, and depression than those without a previous mental health diagnosis (P < .001). Last, individuals from South Africa reported higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression than other countries (P < .01). Conclusions: Internationally, individuals with pre-existing and post-pandemic insomnia symptoms may be more susceptible to stress, anxiety, and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health initiatives should include insomnia management to improve mental health during the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2085-2097
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Volume17
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Acute insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Mental health
  • Sleep
  • South Africa
  • Stress

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