Multi-Country 2021: ICOSS-Collaboration Group

Delegate: Markku Partinen (Helsinki, Finland), Bjørn Bjorvatn (Bergen, Norway), Brigitte Holzinger (Vienna, Austria), Frances Chung (Toronto, Canada), Thomas Penzel (Berlin, Germany), Colin Espie (Oxford, UK), Charles Morin (Quebec City, Canada); Other active participants involved in some of these planning meetings were Yves Dauvilliers (Montpellier, France), Damien Leger (Paris, France), Yuchi Inoue (Tokyo, Japan), Fang Han (Beijing, China), Giuseppe Plazzi (Bologna, Italy), and Yun Kwok Wing (Hong Kong)

Affiliations:  Helsinki Sleep Clinic, Vitalmed Research Center, Helsinki, Finland ; Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Clinicum, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland ; Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway ; Norwegian Competence Center for Sleep Disorders, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway; ZK Schlafcoaching, Medical University Vienna, Vienna, Austria ; Institute for Consciousness and Dream Research, Vienna, Austria; Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University Health Network and University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada ; Interdisciplinary Sleep Medicine Center, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany; Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; Centre d’étude des troubles du sommeil, École de psychologie, Institut universitaire en santé mentale, Centre de recherche CERVO, Université Laval, Quebec, QC, Canada

Activity:  The following project description can also be found in this article published with Journal of Sleep Research: Partinen M, Bjorvatn B, Holzinger B, et al; ICOSS-collaboration group. Sleep and circadian problems during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: the International COVID-19 Sleep Study (ICOSS). J. Sleep Res. 2020;00:e13206. The overarching primary objective of the ICOSS project is to evaluate the direct and indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on various aspects of sleep and circadian rhythms in adults.

Examples of direct effects include having had COVID-19 infection and treatment; and indirect effects include confinement at home. The secondary objective is to compare results between different countries and to examine the results as a function of the differing restriction policies implemented within the participating countries. The specific objectives are to investigate:

• The prevalence/incidence of sleep disorders/symptoms before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

• The association of sleep disorders/symptoms with social confinement, and psychological conditions (anxiety, depression, stress, and post-traumatic stress) and comorbid medical disorders.

• Dream activity and nightmare prevalence as an expression of psychological/psychosomatic condition in association with social isolation and psychological states such as depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Associations between symptoms of insomnia, sleepiness and fatigue and COVID-19.

• Possible changes in the sleep–wake rhythm (circadian rhythms) during the pandemic.

• Potential differences regarding sleep, sleep complaints, and sleep habits and dreams in different countries, and their associations, e.g., differentiating based on lower or higher death rates and on timing and nature of social confinements.

As a result of the collaboration, the ICOSS questionnaire was developed. The ICOSS Questionnaire comprises 50 questions, totalling 106 items covering sociodemographic variables, whether the respondents have been ill with COVID-19, typical sleep patterns before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, symptoms of various sleep–wake disorders, psychological symptoms/disorders, and quality of life and health. The survey is composed of questions taken directly from existing and validated questionnaires with permission, as well as questions that were developed specifically for the purpose of this study. Starting next week, March 22, 2021, a new phase of research will start, assessing sleep particularly of those who have been infected with COVID-19. We cordially invite all concerned to participate!

Location:  International project, participating countries: Norway, Canada, Germany, UK, Austria, France, Japan, China, Italy, Hong Kong

Date of Activity:  Start: May 2020, ongoing

Submitted By: Dr. Brigitte Holzinger