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Sleep during COVID-19 lockdown: A cross-cultural study investigating job system relevance

  • Florea, Cristina1
  • Topalidis, Pavlos1
  • Hauser, Theresa1
  • Angerer, Monika1
  • Kurapov, Anton2
  • Beltran Leon, Carlos Alberto3
  • Soares Brandão, Daniel4
  • Schabus, Manuel1
  • 1 Laboratory for Sleep, Cognition & Consciousness Research, Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience Salzburg (CCNS), Paris-Lodron University of Salzburg, Austria
  • 2 Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev, Ukraine
  • 3 Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Havana, Cuba
  • 4 Brain Institute, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, Brazil
Published Article
Biochemical pharmacology
New York, NY : Elsevier Science Inc
Publication Date
Feb 10, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.bcp.2021.114463
PMID: 33577893
PMCID: PMC7872856
PubMed Central
  • Article


Our study aimed to assess the change in the sleep patterns during the Coronavirus lockdown in five regions (Austria/Germany, Ukraine, Greece, Cuba and Brazil), using online surveys, translated in each language. Part of the cohort (age 25–65, well-educated) was collected directly during lockdown, to which retrospective cross-sectional data from and after lockdown (retrospective) questionnaires were added. We investigated sleep times and sleep quality changes from before to during lockdown and found that, during lockdown, participants had (i) worse perceived sleep quality if worried by COVID-19, (ii) a shift of bedtimes to later hours during workdays, and (iii) a sleep loss on free days (resulting from more overall sleep during workdays in non-system relevant jobs), leading to (iv) a marked reduction of social jetlag across all cultures. For further analyses we directly compared system relevant and system irrelevant jobs, because it was assumed that the nature of the lockdown’s consequences is dependent upon system relevance. System relevant jobs were found to have earlier wake-up times as well as shorter total sleep times on workdays, leading to higher social jetlag for people in system relevant jobs. Cultural differences revealed a general effect that participants from Greece and Ukraine had later bedtimes (on both work and free days) and wake-up times (on workdays) than Cuba, Brazil and Austria, irrespective of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

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