Insomnia symptoms predict longer COVID-19 symptom duration

Ivan Vargas, Alexandria Muench, Michael A. Grandner, Michael R. Irwin, Michael L. Perlis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: /Background: The goal of the present study was to assess the prevalence and incidence of insomnia in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether, among those that contracted COVID-19, insomnia predicted worse outcomes (e.g., symptoms of greater frequency, duration, or severity). Methods: A nationwide sample of 2980 adults living in the United States were surveyed online at two points during the COVID-19 pandemic (T1 = April–June 2020; T2 = January–March 2021). Insomnia symptoms were assessed at both time points using the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI). The T2 survey also asked questions regarding COVID-19 testing and symptoms. Results: The prevalence of insomnia (defined as ISI ≥15) was 15% at T1 and 13% at T2. The incidence rate of insomnia (i.e., new cases from T1 to T2) was 5.6%. Participants with insomnia were not more likely to contract COVID-19 relative to those participants without insomnia. Among those participants in our sample that contracted the virus during the study interval (n = 149), there were no significant group differences in COVID-19 symptom outcomes, with one exception, participants with insomnia were more likely to report a longer symptom duration (insomnia = 24.8 sick days, no insomnia = 16.1 sick days). Conclusions: The present study suggests the prevalence of insomnia in the U.S. population remained high during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data also support that insomnia may be related to experiencing more chronic COVID-19 symptoms. These findings have more general implications for the role of sleep and insomnia on immune functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-372
Number of pages8
JournalSleep Medicine
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Insomnia
  • Prevalence
  • Symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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