Sleep disturbances common among people with long Covid: Study

Researchers from Cleveland Clinic found 41 per cent of patients with long Covid had moderate to severe sleep disturbances.

Long Covid patients are more likely to suffer from sleep disturbances, according to a study. Researchers from Cleveland Clinic found 41 per cent of patients with long Covid had moderate to severe sleep disturbances.

The retrospective analysis, published in Journal of General Internal Medicine, also identified risk factors for moderate to severe sleep disturbances, including race, hospitalisation for Covid-19, greater anxiety severity and fatigue.

“Sleep difficulties and fatigue are widely reported by people with long Covid but little is known about the severity and factors associated with these symptoms,” said lead author Cynthia Pena Orbea, Assistant professor of medicine at Cleveland Clinic’s Sleep Disorders Center.

The team analysed data collected from 962 adult patients with long Covid – known clinically as post-acute sequelae of Covid-19 (PASC) – between February 2021 and April 2022.

The patients had recovered from Covid-19 and completed the sleep disturbance and fatigue questionnaires of the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System.

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More than two-thirds of patients (67.2 per cent) reported moderate to severe fatigue, while 21.8 per cent reported severe fatigue.

More than half of the patients (58 per cent) reported normal to mild disturbances, while 41.3 per cent indicated moderate to severe sleep disturbances.

“Our findings not only emphasise the importance of identification of sleep disturbance in long Covid considering its impact on patients’ quality of life, daytime functioning and medical health status but they also draw the attention to the persistent inequities seen throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Pena Orbea.

The researchers said there is an unmet need to understand the neurobiological mechanisms or pathways behind the association of sleep disturbances with long Covid.

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