Even mild infections with SARS-CoV-2 can cause insomnia

New research shows that even mild infections with SARS-CoV-2 can cause insomnia among patients.

Mild Sars-cov-2 infections responsible for insomnia – Photo Shutterstock

A study conducted among patients who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 suggests that most reported sleep problems, including bouts of insomnia, according to Euronews.

Even a mild Covid-19 infection can increase insomnia symptoms, sleep scientists say. They obtained responses from 1,000 people who had Covid-19 in the six months prior to the study. The patients interviewed were not hospitalized and had no history of insomnia or psychiatric illness.

Scientists in Vietnam concluded that more than 75% of participants had insomnia. The study's findings were recently published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.

The authors of the study are amazed by the magnitude of the phenomenon, “remarkably more higher than previously reported in the general population“.

More frequent awakenings or severe insomnia

If half of the patients stated that they wake up more often during the night, almost a quarter reported severe insomnia. While a third stated that it is more difficult for them to fall asleep or that their sleep is no longer of the same quality as before they had the infection.

Moreover, patients with a preexisting chronic condition and those who had symptoms of depression or anxiety had statistically significant higher rates of insomnia.

As a sleep researcher, I have received many questions and complaints from relatives, friends and colleagues about their sleep disturbances after recovering from COVID-19. We found that most papers focused on hospitalized patients. Their treatment and quarantine environment would be very different from those with milder symptoms” said Huong TX Hoang of Phenikaa University, Vietnam and lead author of the study, according to the source cited above.

The study author also offered some tips to improve sleep. Thus, a warm shower before bed, daily exercise and avoiding caffeine at the end of the day are just some of the recommendations. Huong TX Hoang also advises us to turn off the phone at least an hour before going to bed.

The study has its limitations, and the researchers pointed out that including online data collection could lead to bias. Also, they could not determine the direct impact of anxiety and depression on insomnia.

Previous research has shown that people with long-term Covid have reported moderate and even severe sleep problems. And other studies have shown that not only the disease itself contributed to the increase in insomnia, but also the worries during the pandemic.

The study by Vietnamese researchers also indicates that people who have gone through the disease mildly may suffer from insomnia.