The city that can't sleep

Posted on September 25, 2013

Up to 2.8 million people in Hong Kong suffer from some kind of insomnia. Anna Cummins takes a look at this exhausting problem and considers if our work-obsessed culture is slowly pushing us all towards a mental health crisis

How did you sleep last night? Perhaps you struggled to get to sleep, woke up several times throughout the night, or woke up far too early. If you often find yourself counting sheep for hours or raiding the fridge at 4am, then you could well be amongst the 40 percent of Hongkongers who now suffer from some degree of insomnia.

So, why do so many people in Hong Kong struggle with sleep? Around 50 percent of insomniacs in Hong Kong – that’s about 1.4 million people – have ‘primary’ insomnia, meaning there are no underlying physical or psychological conditions causing their sleepless nights. For these people, insomnia is arguably a symptom of the hectic lifestyle that Hong Kong entails. Dr Ricci Chang is a psychiatrist, who has treated insomnia both in the UK and in Hong Kong. “In Hong Kong, the most common problem is stress; work stress and city life,” he says.

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of all these sleepless nights is that it’s not just adults, stressed out by rent and jobs, who are suffering. Many of the experts agree that Hong Kong’s children are also suffering from stress-related insomnia. “Our new generations, they are overprotected by parents, and their ability to cope with stress and daily problems becomes diminished,” says Siu. “If they are faced with stress, it can cause some anxiety problems – this is quite a general phenomenon in Hong Kong.”

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Category(s):Sleep Disorders

Source material from Timeout


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