Insomnia strikes as woes add up

Local | Cissy So 12 Mar 2020

Forty percent of citizens suffer from insomnia amid the social unrest and coronavirus outbreak, a survey found ahead of World Sleep Day tomorrow.

Social enterprise Silveriders commissioned the Chinese University's Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey to conduct a poll on 800 Cantonese-speaking people aged 18 and over last month.

The random telephone survey found that 68 percent suffer from insomnia, indicating sleep deprivation was quite common in Hong Kong, said Dennis Leung Ka-kuen, assistant principal research executive of the center.

Of these, 60 percent said they were affected by the unrest and the coronavirus outbreak.

Leung said the two issues were the most recent ones that might affect people's sleeping habits, although the study did not ask respondents factors for their sleeplessness in Hong Kong due to the restriction of a phone interview. About two out of five said that it was caused by pressure at work and school, followed by health, family and emotions.

"Insomnia is a common phenomenon," said psychiatry specialist Victor Lui Wing-cheong. "Suffering from insomnia in the long term will increase the risk of mood disorders, alcohol or medical abuse, and cardiovascular disease."

Men suffer more from insomnia than women due to job and study pressures, while those aged 18 to 29 were the most affected, followed by those 30 to 39, the survey found.

Twenty-eight percent found that health issues caused them to suffer from insomnia, especially women and those aged 60 and older.

Among those who suffered from insomnia, more than 80 percent had never taken sleeping pills or sought help from doctors.

A Mrs Chan, in her 40s, said that she had emotional problems with her husband, and that she could only fall asleep after drinking beer at night in the past 10 years.

Lui said people should consult a doctor if they suffer from sleep problems three times a week for a month and if their lifestyle has been disturbed.



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