World Mental Health Day is observed every year on October 10 to draw attention towards mental health issues worldwide and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. The theme for World World Mental Health Day 2021 is 'Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality' and focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on people’s mental health. The importance of sleep for physical and mental health has been well-established with numerous studies on why sleep is so essential to maintain critical body functions.
Sleep deprivation can not only impair a person's ability to focus and think clearly, but also cause a wide range of physical problems. People suffering from chronic sleep deprivation are at increased risk of serious health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Lack of sleep can also affect a person's immune system, exposing them to infections and disease, and affect productivity.
Besides those with pre-existing mental health conditions, according to World Health Organization, COVID-19 pandemic has affected health and other frontline workers, students, people living alone, and other groups. "And services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders have been significantly disrupted."
A study published in February 2021 considered 44 papers, involving a total of 54,231 participants from 13 countries, for a systematic review and meta-analysis of sleep problems during COVID-19. It found the the global pooled prevalence rate of sleep problems among all populations was 35.7%. "Patients with COVID-19 appeared to be the most affected group, with a pooled rate of 74.8%. Health care workers and the general population had comparative rates of sleep problems, with rates of 36.0% and 32.3%, respectively.
"The prevalence of sleep problems during the COVID-19 pandemic is high and affects approximately 40% of people from the general and health care populations. Patients with active COVID-19 appeared to have a higher prevalence rates of sleep problems," the study concluded.
Another study, published in medical journal Lancent, found that sleep problems were common during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "Moreover, sleep problems were found to be associated with higher levels of psychological distress," it said.