Sleep and chronotype in university students in COVID-19 pandemic




Sleep; Students; Universities; Circadian Rhythm; COVID-19


Introduction: In order to perform its specific functions (e.g., hormone production, cellular homeostasis and immunology), it is essential that the hours of sleep are correct. However, this quantity and quality of sleep can be impaired by several factors, such as psychological and environmental. Therefore, the objective was to investigate in the literature the sleep habits, chronotype and biological clock of university students in the current pandemic scenario of COVID-19. Methodology: A narrative bibliographic review was carried out with scientific articles published between 2010 and 2020 in the Cochrane, Embase, Web of Science, LILACS, Scielo, Pubmed, Sciencedirect databases; the descriptors were "sleep", "sleep disorders", "chronotype", "biological clock", "circadian rhythm", "morning", "evening", "students", "university students", "epidemics", "pandemics" , “COVID-19” and the Boolean “and”. Results and discussion: Making up the interactive complexity of sleep with the biological clock, are fluctuations, sensitivity, homeostasis, photopic and seasonal influence, pathology, body temperature, food, hormonal levels, immune system, psychological changes and physical activity. Consequently, many aspects related to the chronotype of young university students were altered and with prejudice to it, especially in view of the current stressful situation, which is the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusion: Sleep and chronotype exert various physiological processes on the body of university students. This occurs in a non-linear and quite complex way; levels of cortisol, growth hormone, melatonin and fluctuations in body temperature were shown to be predictive and sensitive to changes in the sleep-wake process.

Author Biographies

Bruno Massayuki Makimoto Monteiro, Universidade Estadual de Mato Grosso do Sul

É acadêmico de medicina da Universidade Estadual de Mato Grosso do Sul (UEMS).

Carleon Nascimento Santos Neto, Universidade Estadual de Mato Grosso do Sul

É acadêmico de medicina da Universidade Estadual de Mato Grosso do Sul (UEMS).

José Carlos Rosa Pires de Souza, Universidade Estadual de Mato Grosso do Sul

É PhD em saúde mental, psiquiatra e docente do curso de Medicina da Universidade Estadual de Mato Grosso do Sul (UEMS).


Aguiar B.F, Lind J., Netto H.P., Ramires Y., Ramos M.P. & Rocha J.L.P. (2020). Reprocessamento de máscaras N95 ou equivalente: uma revisão narrativa. Journal of Infection Control, 9(2),76-83.

American Psychiatric Association. (2014). Manual Diagnóstico e Estatístico de Transtornos Mentais: DSM-5. 5ª edição. Porto Alegre: Artmed.

Asif N., Iqbal R., & Nazir C.F. (2017). Human immune system during sleep. American Journal of Clinical and Experimental Immunology, 2017, 6(6), 92–96.

Bao Y., Sun Y., Meng S., Shi J. & Lu L. (2020). 2019-nCoV epidemic: address mental health care to empower society. The Lancet, 395(10224), 37-38.

Blume C., Schmidt M.H., & Cajochen C. (2020). Effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on human sleep and rest-activity rhythms. Current Biology, 30(14), 795-797.

Cespedes M.S. & Souza J.C.R.P. (2020). Hábitos e distúrbios do sono nos estudantes de medicina da Universidade Estadual de Mato Grosso do Sul. Arquivos Médicos dos Hospitais e da Faculdade de Ciências Médicas da Santa Casa de São Paulo, 66 (2), 116-123.

Chen Y., Zhao A., Xia Y., Lyu J., Ye X., Liu N. & Li S. (2020). In the big picture of COVID-19 pandemic: what can sleep do. Sleep Medicine, 72, 109–110.

Gao C & Scullin M.K. (2020). Sleep health early in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States: integrating longitudinal, cross-sectional, and retrospective recall data. Sleep Medicine, 73, 1-10.

Geiger S.S., Curtis A.M., O'Neill L.A.J. & Siegel R.M. (2019). Daily variation in macrophage phagocytosis is clock-independent and dispensable for cytokine production. Immunology, 157(2), 122-136.

Gupta N. J. & Khare A. (2020). Disruption in daily eating-fasting and activity-rest cycles in Indian adolescents attending school. PLOS ONE, 15(1), e0227002.

Haregu A., Gelaye B., Pensuksan W.C., Lohsoonthorn V., Lertmaharit S., Rattananupong T., Tadesse M.G. & Williams M.A. (2015). Circadian rhythm characteristics, poor sleep quality, daytime sleepiness and common psychiatric disorders among Thai college students. Asia Pac Psychiatry, 7(2), 182-9.

Júnior R.-O.A., Abrantes M.M. & Barkan A.L. (2013). Complex rhythmicity and age dependence of growth hormone secretion are preserved in patients with acromegaly: further evidence for a present hypothalamic control of pituitary somatotropinomas. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 98(7), 2959–2966.

Kanikowska D., Roszak M., Rutkowski R., Sato M., Sikorska D., Orzechowska Z., Breborowicz A. & Witowski J. (2019). Seasonal differences in rhythmicity of salivary cortisol in healthy adults. Journal of Applied Physiology, 126(3), 764-770.

Kantermann T. (2020). Behavior: How a Global Social Lockdown Unlocks Time for Sleep. Current Biology, 30(14), 822-823.

Marelli S., Castelnuovo A., Somma A., Castronovo V., Mombelli S., Bottoni D., Leitner C., Fossati A. & Ferini- Strambi L. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 lockdown on sleep quality in university students and administration staff. Journal of Neurology, 1-8.

Marti A.R., Pedersen T.T., Wisor J.P., Mrdalj J., Holmelid Ø., Patil S., Meerlo P., Bramham C. R. & Grønli J. (2020). Cognitive function and brain plasticity in a rat model of shift work: role of daily rhythms, sleep and glucocorticoids. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 13141.

Martinez D., Lenz M.C.S. & Menna-Barreto L. (2008). Diagnóstico dos transtornos do sono relacionados ao ritmo circadiano. Jornal Brasileiro de Pneumologia, 34(3),173-180.

Muller M.R., & Guimaraes S.S. (2007). Sleep disorders impact on daily functioning and life quality. Estudos de Psicologia, 24(4), 519-528.

Neves G.S.M.L., Macedo P. & Gomes M.M. (2017). Transtornos do sono: atualização (1/2). Revista Brasileira de Neurologia, 53(3), 19-30.

Organização Mundial da Saúde. (1994). CID-10: Classificação Estatística Internacional de Doenças. v 1. Edusp.

Organização Pan-Americana da Saúde. (2020). Folha informativa – COVID-19 – Brasil. Recuperado de

Organização Mundial da Saúde. (2020). Discurso de abertura do Diretor-Geral da OMS no briefing para a mídia sobre COVID-19. Recuperado de

Papaioannou V.E., Sertaridou E.N., Chouvarda I.G., Kolios G.C., & Pneumatikos I.N. (2019). Determining rhythmicity and determinism of temperature curves in septic and non-septic critically ill patients through chronobiological and recurrence quantification analysis: a pilot study. Intensive Care Medicine Experimental, 7(1), 1-16.

Romero-Blanco C., Rodríguez-almagro J., Onieva-zafra M.D., Parra-Fernández M.L., Prado-laguna M.C. & Hernández-Martínez A. (2020). Sleep Pattern Changes in Nursing Students during the COVID-19 Lockdown. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(14), 5222.

Rubio-Sastre P., Gómez-Abellán P., Martinez-Nicolas A., Ordovás J.M., Madrid J.A. & Garaulet M. (2014). Evening physical activity alters wrist temperature circadian rhythmicity. Chronobiology International, 31(2), 276–282.

Sher L. (2020). COVID-19, anxiety, sleep disturbances and suicide. Sleep Medicine, 70, 124.

Surya S., Symons K., Rothman E. & Barkan A.L. (2006). Complex rhythmicity of growth hormone secretion in humans. Pituitary, 9(2), 121-125.

Vakili H., Jin Y. & Cattini P.A. (2016). Evidence for a circadian effect on the reduction of human growth hormone gene expression in response to excess caloric intake. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 291(26), 13823-13833.

Vargas I., Vgontzas A.N., Abelson J.L., Faghih R.T., Morales K.H. & Perlis M.L. (2018). Altered ultradian cortisol rhythmicity as a potential neurobiologic substrate for chronic insomnia. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 41, 234–243.

Vinciguerra M., Borghesan M., Pazienza V., Piepoli A., Palmieri O., Tarquini R., Tevy M.F., De Cata A. & Mazzoccoli G. (2013). The transcriptional regulators, the immune system and the the circadian clock. Journal of Biological and Regulators Homeostatic Agents, 27(1), 9-22.

Wright K.P., Linton S.K., Withrow D., Casiraghi L., Lanza S.M., de la Iglesia H., Vetter C. & Depner C.M. (2020). Sleep in University Students Prior to and During COVID-19 Stay-at-Home orders. Current Biology, 30(14), 97–98.

Xiao H., Zhang Y., Kong D., Li S. & Yang N. (2020). Social Capital and Sleep Quality in Individuals Who Self-Isolated for 14 Days During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak in January 2020 in China. Medical Science Monitor, 26, e923921.

Zhai Y, & Du X. (2020). Addressing collegiate mental health amid COVID-19 pandemic. Psychiatry Research, 288, 113003.

Zhang R., Wang X., Ni L., Di X., Ma B., Niu S., Liu C. & Reiter R. (2020). COVID-19: melatonin as a potential adjuvant treatment. Life Sciences, 250, 117583.



How to Cite

Monteiro, B. M. M., Santos Neto, C. N., & Souza, J. C. R. P. de. (2020). Sleep and chronotype in university students in COVID-19 pandemic. Research, Society and Development, 9(9), e632997688.



Health Sciences