Israeli researchers have taken a peek into the effect home confinement has on sleep among parents and their children amid the current health crisis.What they found was that many mothers are reporting higher levels of anxiety and increased episodes of insomnia as a direct result of the isolated lifestyle change. Researchers from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Max Stern Yezreel Valley College surveyed a sample of 241 women (100 Arab, 141 Jewish) who were mothers to a child in the age range of six months to six years – beginning four weeks into the initial lockdown in March-April. They published their findings in the Journal of Sleep Research.Some 23% reached the threshold to be classified as experiencing clinical insomnia, compared to the 11% present before the pandemic, with about 60% reporting at least some sort of negative change in their sleep quality. Researchers added that some of their survey sample reported experiencing symptoms of clinical insomnia during the pandemic, when they had never experienced loss of sleep in the past."We further observed that mothers who reported an increase in insomnia symptoms had significantly higher levels of acute COVID-19 anxiety than mothers who reported no change in insomnia symptoms, while no group differences were detected in their typical (trait) anxiety levels, suggesting that current anxiety may contribute to the increase in severity of insomnia symptoms," said Prof. Liat Tikotzky, head of the BGU Parenting, Child Development and Sleep Lab and a faculty member of the BGU Department of Psychology.The average level of maternal trait anxiety for the survey sample was 35.71, with a score of over 40 earning a clinical designation. Some 31% of mothers in the sample scored above the clinical cut off, 63% reported mild levels while 17.2% gave indications they were experiencing high levels of anxiety. The reports of anxiety were positively correlated to be dependent on the child's sleep onset latency, awakenings and duration."In the study, we addressed, for the first time, consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and home confinement on maternal anxiety and insomnia, as well as reports of sleep problems among children between six and 72 months old," Tikotzky said. More than two-thirds of the women in the study (69%) reported no negative change in their child's sleep, however, more than half reported a change in sleep duration (35% decreased; 25% increased) and 26% reported a change in the way their child falls asleep.Those who reported experiencing clinical insomnia were more likely to report a negative change in their child's sleep quality, which is consistent with studies performed on maternal-infant sleep before the COVID-19 pandemic."The results of the present study indicate that many mothers of young children are experiencing substantial negative psychosocial changes during the COVID‐19 crisis, as shown in the exacerbation of insomnia severity and the high levels of acute anxiety during the current crisis," the study authors wrote in conclusion. "Notwithstanding these significant findings, it is important to note that the majority of mothers reported no change in their child’s sleep quality, duration and arrangement, and their perception of their child’s sleep as being problematic."