Sleeping in a bubble: factors affecting sleep during New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdown

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Oxford University Press on behalf of Sleep Research Society
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New Zealand (NZ) enforced a rigorous lockdown in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020. Infection rates remained remarkably low, yet social and personal routines were affected. Factors associated with reporting worsening sleep were explored using an anonymous online survey launched during New Zealand’s 2020 lockdown. Participants were 723 adults aged 20–85 years (median: 45 years, 82% women). Bed and wake times occurred significantly later compared to pre-lockdown estimates and resulted in shorter social jetlag (15 min). During lockdown, 54.5% were identified as “poor sleepers” [i.e. score > 5 on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI)]. Overall, 45% rated their sleep quality to worsen compared to pre-lockdown, 22% reported an improvement. Reports of worsening sleep were significantly related to increased sleep latency, reduced sleep efficiency, and heightened PSQI scores compared to those with better sleep or no change. Subjectively worse sleep was significantly associated with less time engaging in physical activity, less exposure to daylight, and social interactions compared to pre-lockdown estimates (p < .05). Logistic regression models identified significant relationships between having more vivid dreams and worsening sleep. Worse sleepers also had increased likelihoods of reporting poorer mood and they also scored higher for anxiety compared to those with no change or improved sleep during lockdown (p < .05). Pandemic-related restrictions contributed to poorer self-reported sleep which was linked to deterioration of mood. Negative affect was comparatively lower than reported elsewhere. These findings provide unique insights to the psychosocial impact of the initial COVID-19 lockdown in New Zealand, where the disease outbreak remained low.
anxiety, circadian rhythms, dreams, sleep deprivation
Sleep Adv, 2022, 3 (1), pp. zpac017 - ?