The 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) has become a global health and economic crisis. Recent evidence from small samples suggest that it has increased mood and sleep disturbances, including insomnia, around the world. This study aimed to estimate the effect of COVID-19 on insomnia levels worldwide and in the United States during the acute phase of the pandemic.
We analyzed search query data recorded between January 2004 and May 2020 from Google Trend and Google Keyword Planner for the search term insomnia.
The number of search queries for insomnia has increased over the past decade and is greater than the number of search queries for other major sleep disorders. The COVID-19 pandemic increased search queries for insomnia both worldwide and in the United States, with the number in the United States increasing by 58% during the first five months of 2020 compared to same months from the previous three years. There is a robust diurnal pattern in insomnia search queries in the United States, with the number of queries peaking around 3 AM and the overall pattern remaining stable during the pandemic.
These results highlight the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on sleep health, and the urgent need for making effective interventions accessible. Future studies will be needed to determine whether the increase in insomnia symptoms will persist and lead to higher rates of chronic insomnia in the population.
© 2020 American Academy of Sleep Medicine.