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Many people report suffering from post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 or "long-COVID", but there are still open questions on what actually constitutes long-COVID and how prevalent it is. The current definition of post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 is based on voting using the Delphi-method by the WHO post-COVID-19 working group. It emphasizes long-lasting fatigue, shortness of breath and cognitive dysfunction as the core symptoms of post-acute sequelae of COVID-19. In this international survey study consisting of 13,628 subjects aged 18-99 years from 16 countries of Asia, Europe, North America and South America (May-Dec 2021), we show that post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 symptoms were more prevalent amongst the more severe COVID-19 cases, i.e. those requiring hospitalisation for COVID-19. We also found that long-lasting sleep symptoms are at the core of post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 and associate with the COVID-19 severity when COVID-19 cases are compared with COVID-negative cases. Specifically, fatigue (61.3%), insomnia symptoms (49.6%) and excessive daytime sleepiness (35.8%) were highly prevalent amongst respondents reporting long-lasting symptoms after hospitalisation for COVID-19. Understanding the importance of sleep-related symptoms in post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 has a clinical relevance when diagnosing and treating long-COVID.

Original publication




Journal article


J Sleep Res

Publication Date



COVID-19, excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, insomnia, pandemic, post-acute sequelae of COVID-19