Covid-19 can trigger maternal clinical insomnia: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 12, 2020

According to a new study, the lockdown has triggered insomnia severity and mild-to-high levels of acute Covid-19, as per study the study published in the Journal of Sleep Research.

The study was carried out by the researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and The Max Stern Yezreel Valley College in Israel.

Prof. Liat Tikotzky, head of the BGU Parenting, Child Development and Sleep Lab and a member of the BGU Department of Psychology, who was part of the research, wrote: “In the study, we addressed, for the first time, consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and home confinement on maternal anxiety, insomnia, as well as reports of sleep problems among children between six and 72 months-old.”


The researchers asked mothers to complete a self-reporting questionnaire with reference to two-time points: (a) retrospectively one to two months before the Covid-19 outbreak in Israel, and (b) during home confinement.

The researchers then computed a score representing the mother’s perception of change in her sleep quality.

Prof. Tikotzky said in the study: “We further observed that mothers who reported an increase in insomnia symptoms had significantly higher levels of acute Covid-19 anxiety than mothers who reported no change in insomnia symptoms.”

He further added: “While no group differences were detected in their typical (trait) anxiety levels, suggesting that current anxiety may contribute to the increase in severity of insomnia symptoms.”

The results

The researchers found that maternal clinical insomnia (Insomnia Severity Score > 15) during the Covid-19 pandemic more than doubled to 23 per cent during the pandemic, compared with only 11 per cent before the pandemic. Approximately 80 per cent of mothers also reported mild-to-high levels of current Covid-19 anxiety.

The researchers noticed that mothers who reported higher scores of insomnia were also more likely to report that their children had poorer sleep quality and shorter sleep duration.

The authors of the study noted that around 30 per cent of mothers reported a negative change in their child’s sleep quality and a decrease in sleep duration. 12 per cent of mothers even reported a positive change in their child’s sleep quality, and 25 per cent reported an increase in sleep duration.

Published on October 12, 2020

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