After the March-April 2020 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, a second contagion wave afflicted Europe in the autumn. The present study aimed to evaluate sleep health/patterns of Italians during this further challenging situation. A total of 2,013 Italians longitudinally participated in a web-based survey during the two contagion peaks of the COVID-19 outbreak. We investigated the risk factors for sleep disturbances during the second wave, and we compared sleep quality and psychological well-being between the two assessments (March-April and November-December 2020). Female gender, low education, evening chronotype, being a high-risk person for COVID-19 infection, reporting negative social or economic impact, and evening smartphone overuse predicted a higher risk of poor sleep and insomnia symptoms during the second wave. Advanced age, living with a high-risk person for COVID-19 infection, and having a relative/friend infected with COVID-19 before the prior 2 weeks were risk categories for poor sleep quality. Living with children, having contracted COVID-19 before the prior 2 weeks, being pessimistic about the vaccine and working in healthcare, were risk factors for insomnia symptoms. The follow-up assessment highlighted reduced insomnia symptoms and anxiety. Nevertheless, we found reduced sleep duration, higher daytime dysfunction, advanced bedtime and wake-up time, and a shift to morningness, confirming the alarming prevalence of poor sleepers (~60%) and severe depression (~20%) in a context of increased perceived stress. The present study showed a persistent impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sleep and mental health. Large-scale interventions to counteract the chronicity and exacerbation of sleep and psychological disturbances are necessary, especially for the at-risk categories.
© 2021 European Sleep Research Society.