Effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on human sleep and rest-activity rhythms


COVID-19 lockdown is associated with greater conformance to ‘natural’ sleep-wake cycles, but poorer sleep quality and overall wellbeing.

These adverse effects are potentially amenable to the lifestyle interventions of exercise and sunlight exposure.


  • 435 valid datasets obtained: 327 (75.2%) women, 104 (23.9%) men, 4 diverse (0.9%)
  • Median social jetlag reduced by 13 mins (IQR = –31–17 mins)
  • Median social sleep restriction reduced by 25 mins (IQR = –51–5 mins)
  • Improved alignment associated with increased median sleep duration of 13 mins (IQR = –25–51 mins)
  • Overall sleep quality decreased during the study period by 0.25 points (IQR = –1.6–2.8 points) [scale from 0–25 used, in which higher values indicate poorer sleep quality)
  • Participants reported an increase in subjective burden and a decrease in mental and physical wellbeing, which translated to poorer sleep quality and duration
  • Participants endorsed spending less time under the open sky than before lockdown