Sleep problems and new occurrence of chronic conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

November 25, 2022


The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted upon sleep health. Relatively little is known about how this may influence the population’s health subsequently. This prospective longitudinal study aims to examine the consequences of sleep problems for physical and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, using data from the Understanding Society: COVID-19 Study, a large-scale population-based survey with 12,804 adults aged 16 and above. A measure of sleep problems was derived from Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questions, reflecting seven dimensions of sleep quality. Binary logistic regressions were applied to investigate the relationship between sleep problem and the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension, diabetes, obesity, arthritis and an emotional, nervous or psychiatric problem over the 15 months follow-up period. The analysis confirms that sleep problems are prevalent and vary between sub-groups among adults. Notably, sleep problems are then significantly associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, arthritis and emotional, nervous or psychiatric problems, independent of demographic, socioeconomic, familial and health confounders. Our findings suggest promoting good sleep hygiene should be prioritised during the pandemic, and more generally as part of wider programmes aimed at promoting good physical and mental health.

Published in

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


Volume: 19






Open Access

© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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