The Covid Effect: Less Steps and More Sleep

As Covid-19 spread across Europe, governments enacted policies limiting citizens’ movement in order to slow the spread of the disease. With countries now beginning to ease restrictions and slowly re-open economies, Fitbit explored what impact these policies have had on their 30 million active users worldwide. Fitbit looked at the effect on activity levels and sleep patterns in numerous European countries.



It will come as no surprise to learn that as lockdown measures were put in place, Europeans daily movement began to change with the severity of the decline in steps varying between countries. For example, data up to the week ending 22 March showed Fitbit users in Spain (38%) and Italy (25%) recorded the steepest change in step count, compared to Belgian (12%) and Irish (9%) users, a direct correlation as to when measures were implemented across Europe.

Sleep patterns

With over 10.5 billion nights recorded, Fitbit is an expert when it comes to sleep having pioneered sleep tracking on the wrist over 10 years ago. The pandemic has seen Fitbit users go to bed later but get more sleep, as well as more quality rest with those aged 18-29 years benefitting the most.

Anonymised data shows Parisians average sleep duration was impacted the most, spiking once school closures were announced and public gatherings were banned. In Milan, the average sleep duration increased at the beginning of March, when northern Italy underwent quarantine restrictions.

As Europe looks to Asia for signs of post Covid-19 hope, countries such as China who have loosened restrictions are seeing an increase in movement and activity levels but are still not anywhere near 2019 levels. This highlights, in case there was any doubt, the long road ahead in returning to normal life.

To help people stay healthy, Fitbit is offering a free 90-day trial to its Premium subscription service for all existing users. To redeem your 90-day Premium trial, open the Fitbit app and tap on the “Premium” tab in the lower-right corner. This trial offer is only valid through the Fitbit app. For more information on Premium and Charge 4, visit the Fitbit website.


By: Padraic Varley

Client Manager, Corporate Reputation and Public Affairs

[email protected]