Since the first lockdown of Spring 2020, the COVID-19 contagion waves pervasively disrupted the sleep and mental health of the worldwide population. Notwithstanding the largest vaccination campaign in human history, the pandemic has continued to impact the everyday life of the general population for 2 years now. The present study provides the first evidence of the longitudinal trajectories of sleep disturbances and mental health throughout the pandemic in Italy, also describing the differential time course of age groups, genders and chronotypes. A total of 1062 Italians participated in a three-time-point longitudinal study covering two critical stages of the emergency (the first lockdown in April 2020 and the second partial lockdown in December 2020) and providing a long-term overview 2 years after the pandemic outbreak (April 2022). We administered validated questionnaires to evaluate sleep quality/habits, insomnia, depression, stress and anxiety symptoms. Analyses showed a gradual improvement in sleep disturbances, depression and anxiety. Conversely, sleep duration progressively decreased, particularly in evening-type and younger people. Participants reported substantial earlier bedtime and get-up time. Stress levels increased during December 2020 and then stabilised. This effect was stronger in the population groups apparently more resilient during the first lockdown (older people, men and morning-types). Our results describe a promising scenario 2 years after the pandemic onset. However, the improvements were relatively small, the perceived stress increased, and the re-establishment of pre-existing social/working dynamics led to general sleep curtailment. Further long-term monitoring is required to claim the end of the COVID-19 emergency on Italians' sleep and mental health.
Salfi, Federico;Corigliano, Domenico;Viselli, Lorenzo;D'Atri, Aurora;Tempesta, Daniela;Ferrara, Michele
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