May 31, 2023

Effect of healthy sleep on risk of long COVID

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

This study by Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, Boston, finds that healthy sleep before and during the COVID-19 pandemic was linked to a substantially decreased risk of long COVID.

A total of 1,979 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II were included in the analysis. A total of 870 (44%) reported long COVID symptoms.

Compared with women who had a prepandemic sleep score of 0 or 1 (least healthy), those who scored 5 (most healthy) had a 30% lower risk of developing long COVID, regardless of healthcare worker status.

No or little daytime dysfunction prepandemic and good sleep quality during the pandemic were independently linked to a lower risk of long COVID.

Results were similar when long COVID was defined as having 8 or more weeks of symptoms or having ongoing symptoms at the time of long COVID assessment.

The findings indicate that healthy sleep before and during the COVID-19 pandemic may be protective against long COVID. Further research should investigate whether sleep health interventions may prevent or improve symptoms of long COVID, the researchers conclude.

JAMA (healthcare publication) Network logo

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