Worry about COVID-19 as a predictor of future insomnia

Lily A. Brown, Gabriella E. Hamlett, Yiqin Zhu, Joshua F. Wiley, Tyler M Moore, Grace E. DiDomenico, Elina Visoki, David M. Greenberg, Ruben C. Gur, Raquel E. Gur, Ran Barzilay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in significant increases in insomnia, with up to 60% of people reporting increased insomnia. However, it is unclear whether exposure to risk factors for the virus or worries about COVID-19 are more strongly associated with insomnia. Using a three-part survey over the course of the first 6 months of the pandemic, we evaluated associations between COVID-19 exposures, COVID-19 worries, and insomnia. We hypothesised that COVID-19-related worries and exposure to risk of COVID-19 would predict increases in insomnia. Participants (N = 3,560) completed a survey at three time-points indicating their exposures to COVID-19 risk factors, COVID-19-related worries, and insomnia. COVID-19 worry variables were consistently associated with greater insomnia severity, whereas COVID-19 exposure variables were not. COVID-19 worries decreased significantly over time, and there were significant interactions between change in COVID-19 worries and change in insomnia severity over time. Individuals who experienced increases in COVID-19 worries also experienced increases in insomnia severity. Changes in worry during the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with changes in insomnia; worries about COVID-19 were a more consistent predictor of insomnia than COVID-19 exposures. Evidence-based treatments targeting virus-related worries may improve insomnia during this and future calamities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 European Sleep Research Society.


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Mental HealthK23MH120437


    • anxiety
    • health-anxiety
    • psychology
    • sleep


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