Self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with worsened eating behaviors and sleep hygiene, however, limited studies focus on patients with obesity. This study investigates effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on eating behaviors and sleep amongst three groups of bariatric surgery patients: patients who completed surgery prior to COVID-19 restrictions (Cohort 1), patients who began the pre-operative process prior to COVID-19 restrictions and subsequently completed surgery (Cohort 2), and patients who began the pre-operative process following COVID-19 restrictions and have not yet undergone surgery (Cohort 3).


This study included 296 patients at a single bariatric center. Cohort 1 included 123 participants, Cohort 2 included 40, and Cohort 3 included 24. Participants completed measures of eating behaviors and sleep. Weights were obtained through chart review.


Both higher levels of insomnia symptoms and poorer sleep quality predicted a higher level of emotional eating (b = .22, t (151) =2.75, p <.01, and b = .27, t (141) = 3.31, p <.01, respectively). Sleep quality was poorer (U = 1297.5, p <. 001) and levels of emotional eating higher (U = 1295, p <. 01) in Cohort 1 compared to Cohort 2. Post-operative %TWL did not differ between groups.


Results suggest a relationship between sleep disturbances and emotional eating among bariatric patients and indicate poorer sleep quality and more emotional eating in patients who underwent surgery prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, findings do not suggest relationships between the COVID-19 pandemic and weight loss after bariatric surgery.