Short-term insomnia disorder in health care workers in an academic medical center before and during COVID-19: Rates and predictive factors

William V. McCall, Demetra Mensah-Bonsu, Allison E. Withers, Robert W. Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Study Objectives: This study investigated risk factors and estimated rates of acute insomnia disorder in health care workers at the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Methods: A Qualtrics survey of more than 2,300 health care providers was conducted in a single academic health system on May 15, 2020, including practicing attending physicians, residents and fellows in training, advanced practice providers, and nurses. Six hundred and sixty-eight responded (29% response rate). The survey employed the Research Diagnostic Criteria for insomnia disorder to diagnose acute insomnia disorder. Results: Five hundred seventy-three respondents had no missing data pertaining to sleep, with a mean age of 43.4 ± 12.5 years and 72% women. The rate of insomnia disorder before COVID-19 was 44.5%, while after COVID-19 it was 64.0%. Of persons with insomnia disorder before COVID-19 10.2% stated it had resolved during COVID-19, while 43.4% of persons who did not have insomnia disorder before COVID-19 developed acute insomnia disorder during COVID-19 (χ2 = 145.2; df = 1; P < .0001). New cases of acute insomnia disorder were related positively to female sex, advancing age, and less time spent in direct patient care. Conclusions: Acute insomnia disorder was exceptionally common in this sample of tertiary care health care workers. The effects of sex and age were similar to what has been generally described as risk factors for insomnia. The surprising finding that less time spent in direct patient care was associated with more cases of acute insomnia disorder might be explained by the poorly understood stresses of working from home during COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-755
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

Keywords

  • Acute insomnia disorder
  • COVID-19
  • Health care workers
  • Insomnia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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