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COVID-19 having a “severe” impact on the nation’s sleep

According to a new survey commissioned by Sleepstation, The Sleep Council and The Sleep Charity, COVID-19 is having a severe impact on the nation’s sleep.

More than 2700 people took part in the National Sleep Survey to provide an overview of the nation’s sleep during the global pandemic. It is the largest UK survey of its kind to date on this subject.

Close to half of the respondents (43 per cent) said they were now finding it harder to fall asleep, with unease around the current situation affecting sleep for three quarters (75 per cent) of people.

Alarmingly, more than three quarters (77 per cent) said that a lack of sleep was interfering with their ability to function during the day, with reports of daytime fatigue, concentration and low mood common place.

12 per cent said they were experiencing severe symptoms of depression, with women more likely to report symptoms in the moderate to severe range than men.

Women were also recorded as suffering more than men with anxiety and stress around coronavirus and reported having more vivid dreams.

Lisa Artis, head of The Sleep Council, said: “Sleeping well is crucial to our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

“With people experiencing signs of depression and reporting that lack of sleep is impacting on their mood, concentration and how tired they feel in the day, we need the Government to take action.

“We have been exposed to lots of government advice around diet, exercise and how to look after our mental health during these challenging times. However, we’ve not heard anything concrete around sleep – and it has never been more important.”

Dr Neil Stanley, an independent sleep expert who works with both Sleepstation and The Sleep Council, added: “Given that millions of Brits have been impacted by the coronavirus in some way, it’s no wonder three quarters of those surveyed feel ‘corona-anxiety’ is affecting their sleep.

“Women (41 per cent) are almost twice as likely to report this feeling than men (26 per cent) – this may be down to juggling ‘home schooling’ and working from home. Sleep is hard when anxiety levels are high.”

The survey findings come amid rising concern that these unprecedented times are causing a surge in sleep issues.

A lack of support, or lack of awareness of the support available for those issues, could have a lasting impact on the people of Britain, the report said.