Insomnia and Stress of Physicians During Pandemic

Over the past few months, reporters have asked the ubiquitous Anthony Fauci, M.D., about his sleep habits. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases usually responds with a chuckle and reveals that he is getting only a few hours a night. 

During the extraordinary months since mid March 2020, many physicians and health care workers have been in the same boat. The problem has become so prevalent that officials at the National Institutes of Health (N.I.H.) recently conducted a study of 268 physicians from different medical settings during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, the study confirmed that working with COVID-19 patients has a negative effect on the sleep of physicians. “The study revealed that female physicians had a significantly worse status of sleep compared to male physicians,” wrote researchers. “The prevalence of insomnia was significantly higher in females (77.5% vs. 64.4%), respectively. The study did not find a significant difference in the score level of sleep of physicians who worked in different shifts (P=0.147). But, most of the physicians in all shifts were sleepless.” 

The study further revealed that, “most of the physicians are sleepless during the COVID-19 outbreak. They had slightly insufficient sleep duration and unsatisfactory quality of sleep with slightly decreased physical and mental functioning during the day. The sleep of the physicians was escalated by increasing the number of days that they deal with the suspected or confirmed cases of the COVID-19 and stress level in the general hospitals.”

Source: PMC National Institute of Health

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