As more than a third of humanity #StayAtHome under lockdown, excessive boredom has seen some people getting pretty inventive with how they choose to spend their time at home. If you're partial to booze, it can be all too easy for that 5pm beer to start coming at 1pm. Or, in the case of one comedian, during a 9.15am on-air interview. As alcohol sales spike, a group of scientists have launched a global survey to find out just how much the world is drinking under lockdown.
The study aims to compare how we are drinking under lockdown to how we were drinking before. They want to gain insight into how or if social isolation and boredom can affect our libation habits. The survey involves volunteers giving weekly confessions of their intake, with questionnaires enquiring about their experience of isolation, how bored they’ve felt, and how often they’ve been stressed.
“During these unprecedented times, many of us have faced and continue to face, vast changes to our lives and livelihoods, such as having to work from home alongside looking after children,” the survey states. “While necessary, this period in isolation is stressful for many of us.”
Stress is a common catalyst for hazardous drinking and with many people off work due to lockdown measures, there’s less reason not to enjoy a Tuesday tipple than ever. Despite its reputation as a nightcap, alcohol can actually impede our sleep as while we fall asleep quickly, the quality of the sleep is poor. Lack of sleep can lead to an increase in stress and depression, and even make us more likely to catch respiratory illnesses.
“This period of isolation might lead to a spike in alcohol use, relapse, and potentially, the development of alcohol use disorder in at-risk individuals, placing further strain on health services during and after the pandemic,” reads the survey’s website. “Therefore, we are also carrying out a study examining how people across the world are coping with social isolation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and in particular, how this is affecting alcohol consumption.”
If you’re interested in taking part, you’ll need to complete weekly questionnaires and a short survey throughout your time in isolation, which should take around half an hour to complete each week.
The survey is seeking anyone over the age of 18 (the legal drinking age in the UK) who drinks some amount of alcohol to join in. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but you can’t be tee-total. It’s also available in several languages with hopes the researchers can gather global data to get an idea of how drinking under lockdown is playing out worldwide.