The ongoing lockdowns, unsurprisingly, are not doing good for Israelis. Israelis slept more, walked less and did fewer physical activities, and were also in a worse mood. All these findings came in the first study of its kind conducted in Israel. Using smartwatches and a dedicated app, the researchers tracked 169 subjects, before and during the second coronavirus lockdown.
The study was conducted by a team of experts from the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering at Tel Aviv University, led by Dr. Erez Shmueli, Dr. Dan Yemin, Shai Oved and Meirav Mofaz, and in collaboration with Dr. Anat Len and Prof. Haim Einat of Tel Aviv-Jaffa Academic College and Prof. Noga Kronfeld-Schor from the School of Zoology and the Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University. The results of the study were published in Preprint Research Square.
All the subjects slept more: from 6:01 hours of sleep before the lockdown to 6:08 during it. They met less with others: from 11.5 meetings a day before the lockdown to 7.8 during it. They performed less exercise: from 30 minutes before the lockdown to 27 during it. They walked less: from 8,453 steps a day before the lockdown to 7,710 during it. And they were also less happy: on a scale of (-2) to 2, they dropped from 0.87 before the lockdown to 0.76 during it. The lockdown caused severe damage to the mood of youth: from 0.89 before the lockdown to 0.72 during it. In adults, the decline was lighter: from 0.85 before the lockdown to 0.8 during it.
Concerning feelings of stress: among men the level of stress decreased, while among women the level of stress increased. The researchers offer a number of possible explanations for this, starting with the fact that more women have lost their jobs (fired or put on unpaid leave) compared to men. Also, women are usually responsible for caring for children who remained at home.
"Women in the lockdown were more isolated and stressed than men, and in general their well-being and mental health were significantly more affected than that of men," said Shmueli. "Our research shows that emphasis should be placed on the mental health of youth, who paid heavier prices because of social distancing."