J Sleep Res - (-) e13519 [2021-11-19; online 2021-11-19]
Studies on sleep during the Covid-19 pandemic have mostly been conducted during the first wave of contagion (spring 2020). To follow up on two Italian studies addressing subjective sleep features during the second wave (autumn 2020), here we assess sleep during the third wave (spring 2021) in a sample of healthy adults from Campania (Southern Italy). Actigraphic data (on 2 nights) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index were collected from 82 participants (40 F, mean age: 32.5 ± 11.5 years) from 11 March to 18 April 2021, when Campania was classified as a "red zone", i.e. it was subjected to strict restrictions, only slightly looser than those characterizing the first national lockdown (spring 2020). Although objective sleep duration and architecture appeared in the normal range, the presence of disrupted sleep was indexed by a relevant degree of sleep fragmentation (number of awakenings ≥ 1 min: 12.7 ± 6.12; number of awakenings ≥ 5 min: 3.04 ± 1.52), paralleled by poor subjective sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index global score: 5.77 ± 2.58). These data suggest that the relevant subjective sleep impairments reported during the first wave could have relied on subtle sleep disruptions that were undetected by the few objective sleep studies from the same period. Taken together with sleep data on previous phases of the pandemic, our findings show that the detrimental effects on sleep determined by the initial pandemic outbreak have not abated across the subsequent waves of contagion, and highlight the need for interventions addressing sleep health in global emergencies.