#Hashtag Hong Kong



    Listen to #Hashtag Hong Kong every Sunday morning at 8.15

    Focussing on issues affecting civil society, we'll hear from representatives of NGOs, associations, statutory bodies, and non-profit groups.

    (Sundays 8.15am - 8.25am)



    Dr Joey Chan, Secretary of the Hong Kong Society of Sleep Medicine and CUHK Associate Professor (Clinical) Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK

    Hong Kong is currently facing several significant sleep-related challenges that warrant attention. Firstly, a notable concern is the high prevalence of inadequate sleep among adults and adolescents. The latest community survey conducted by CUHK included over 4,000 adults and revealed that 41% of respondents reported an average sleep duration of seven hours or less on their usual days*1. This falls below the general recommendation of the National Sleep Foundation, which advises adults to aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Disturbingly, adolescents also face similar issues, with a majority of them (94%) failing to meet the recommended nine hours of sleep per day. Furthermore, 25% of adolescents reported less than seven hours of sleep, and over half of them (58.4%) perceived their sleep as insufficient.*2
    Secondly, insomnia remains a prevalent sleep disorder in Hong Kong. Approximately one-third of the local population experiences symptoms of insomnia, while around 10% exhibit more frequent symptoms indicative of an insomnia disorder.*3
    Thirdly, a lack of awareness regarding the importance of sleep is apparent among the general public. While healthy eating and regular exercise are commonly emphasized as vital components of a modern healthy lifestyle, sleep health is often overlooked. In Hong Kong, only half of the individuals who slept less than seven hours recognized the significance of adequate sleep, alongside a mere 12% who would prioritize maintaining a regular sleep schedule *1. Additionally, seeking assistance for sleep problems remains uncommon, as half of those experiencing insomnia never seek help for their condition *4.
    Lastly, findings from a recent study comparing data from two large-scale sleep surveys conducted seven years apart (2011-2012 and 2017-2019) suggest a worsening trend in sleep health among adolescents. The study discovered that Hong Kong adolescents were sleeping 30 minutes later on weekdays, but waking up almost an hour earlier on weekends, and spending 30 minutes less time in bed overall. These changes have resulted in an escalation of sleep loss among the younger generation, indicating a concerning decline in sleep health over the past years. 
    Insomnia is the most prevalent sleep disorder around the globe. The local prevalence, as mentioned, is between 10-30% depending on the illness definition. Multiple reasons can lead to insomnia and here are the common ones: 
    First: Suboptimal sleep habits, which include irregular sleep-wake schedule, excessive use of caffeine, excessive napping in the daytime, and exposure to a lot of artificial light at night before bedtime. With the increasing use of electronic devices, not only does the engaging content keep us awake, but the blue light also has an alerting effect and it suppresses the release of melatonin, a key hormone to prepare us for sleep. 
    Secondly, our sleep can be affected by both mental and physical health issues. Stress and worries can increase insomnia, and sleep disturbance is one of the hallmark features of many mental disorders. Certain medical conditions like chronic pain, acid reflux, heart disease or thyroid problems can also interfere with sleep. 
    Thirdly, the use of certain substances or medications can also affect sleep. This may include caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, steroids and narcotics. Withdrawal from certain substances such as hypnotics, and alcohol can also lead to insomnia. 
    The first step to motivate a change in healthy sleeping practices often involves education and knowledge-building. We aim to increase public awareness about the importance of sleep health, to enable them to recognize when there is a sleep problem and know the ways to seek help. 
    The Hong Kong Society of Sleep Medicine is dedicated to promoting clinical practice, knowledge and training in Sleep Medicine in Hong Kong. We conducted regular meetings for health care professionals and webinars about common sleep problems for the general public. On World Sleep Day 15 March 2024, we’ve shared tips to tackle insomnia with RTHK-English News. (please name a few hereWe advised individuals with insomnia to maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule, avoid too much caffeine, do exercise, and get sunlight exposure in daytime. At night, try to keep the bedroom nice and cool, dim the light in the room and prepare yourself to bed by some relaxing activity, do not bring work or technology to bed. and Nonetheless, we understand that public engagement requires continuous efforts and we will continue to work on that. 
    It’s important to have good sleep, if we don’t, in the short term, a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, attention, and memory, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, sleep deficiency is linked to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and mental health issues. It is important to educate young people early, by integrating sleep-related health education into the regular school curriculum, and to have concerted efforts from school, parents, and government to facilitate a sleep-friendly lifestyle for the youngsters. The government should be proactive in terms of screening individuals with sleep problems and to provide appropriate care.
    And now I have a song I'd like to dedicate to and all of you who are listening. My song is: "Be Still" by Janice Vidal. Enjoy and Thank you.

    1) Data from the CUHK-HKJC Sleep well project: https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/press-releases/cuhk-launches-the-jockey-club-sleep-well-project
    2) Data from CUHK study: https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/press-releases/cuhk-survey-reveals-majority-of-school-teens-have-insufficient-sleep
    CUHK research team launched a 2-year programme participated by a total of 4,456 adolescents from 14 schools in Hong Kong.  The programme revealed that during weekdays, a majority (94%) of the participants did not acquire 9 hours of sleep daily as recommended by the World Association of Sleep Medicine, a quarter (25%) had less than 7 hours of sleep while more than half (58.4%) rated themselves as having insufficient sleep.
    3) Zhang J, Li AM, Kong AP, Lai KY, Tang NL, Wing YK. A community-based study of insomnia in Hong Kong Chinese children: Prevalence, risk factors and familial aggregation. Sleep Med. 2009 Oct;10(9):1040-6. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2009.01.008.
    4) Liu Y, Zhang J, Lam SP, Yu MW, Li SX, Zhou J, Chan JW, Chan NY, Li AM, Wing YK. Help-seeking behaviors for insomnia in Hong Kong Chinese: a community-based study. Sleep Med. 2016 May;21:106-13. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2016.01.006. 

    19/05/2024 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    19/05/2024 - Dr Joey Chan, Secretary of the Hong Kong Society of Sleep Medicine and CUHK Associate Professor (Clinical) Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK


    03 - 05


    Dr Joey Chan, Secretary of the Hong Kong Society of Sleep Medicine and CUHK Associate Professor (Clinical) Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK


    Dr. Anthony Ying, the Chairman of the Cancer Prevention/Early Detection Subcommittee of the Hong Kong Anti-Cancer Society


    iu Vor, Vice President of Hong Kong Entomological Society


    Faride Shroff, the Founder and CEO of SENsational Foundation


    Simon Wong, President of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants & Related Trades


    Ryan Yeung, Founder and CEO, Happy-Retired Charity Action


    Erica Lee, Director, The Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association


    Christina Lee, Director of Wofoo Social Enterprises

    Katie Wong, Chief Officer (Elderly Service) The Hong Kong Council of Social Service


    As the population ages, more people find caring for their elderly loved ones falling on their shoulders.  While the population of Hong Kong increased only by 5% between 2011 and 2021, the population of centenarians, people aged 100 or more, increased by more than 6 folds.


    In light of the rapid increase in the population of adults of advanced age, say nonagenarians and centenarians, in collaboration with The University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Shue Yan University, The Hong Kong Council of Social Service recently conducted the second round of the Hong Kong Centenarian Study (with the first round taking place in 2011) with 151 families and found that most caregivers of centenarians are their children, with many of them being between 65-74 years old (43%). 


    This phenomenon of “the elderly caring for even older seniors” is common in Hong Kong.  It poses significant challenges, including physical fatigue, emotional stress, social isolation, and financial burden, adversely impacting caregivers’ health and well-being.


    The biggest challenge faced by elderly caregivers is physical and mental fatigue.  Caring for a loved one requires a lot of strength and energy, which can be even more taxing for elderly caregivers with health issues.  They may have to frequently lift or support a frail loved one, provide assistance in daily living, and perform other tasks that can strain their bodies continually.


    Emotional stress is another challenge, particularly when caring involves complex or arduous needs.  For example, tending to a loved one with dementia or other cognitive impairments requires infinite patience and constant attention, which can be frustrating and overwhelming. Many caregivers wish to see their older loved ones through and are motivated to provide as much care to their older relatives as possible. Despite such high motivation to care, their strains may elevate to a point where their mental and physical health is compromised, which is when nursing home placements are considered.


    Caregivers may also feel isolated and burnt out, as they often have to sacrifice socialising with friends and family or their interests.  This can spiral into depression and anxiety, further exacerbating their struggles.


    The financial burden is another challenge that elderly caregivers may grapple with, especially those who are retired and living on a fixed income.  In other words, their financial resources, whether from their own children or governmental subsidies, are often shared with their older loved ones. The study mentioned above showed that 83.2% of caregivers had a monthly income below $30,000, and 70.5% of respondents earned below the poverty line of $20,000 for a 4-person household (CSD, 2020).  48.3% of caregivers expressed financial pressure.


    So, what can be done to aid elderly caregivers facing these problems? Here are a few suggestions:


    1)            Seeking out community resources, including respite care, support groups, and counselling services.  Elderly caregivers should also reach out to family and friends for help, as small gestures can make a big difference.


    2)            It is also essential for caregivers to prioritise their health and well-being by taking time for themselves, pursuing hobbies and interests, or getting mental health support when needed.  Caregivers who look after themselves are better equipped to watch over their loved ones in the long run.


    3)            Sometimes, it may be necessary to hire a professional caregiver to assist with the needs of a loved one.  With the advance in technology, some products help, such as fall prevention equipment and health-monitoring smart devices. Caregiver subsidies or financial subsidies for using Gerontechnology in the community would help.


    Taking care of an elderly loved one can be arduous and emotionally draining, particularly for caregivers themselves, seniors.  By seeking out available resources, asking for help from family and friends, being mindful of self-care, and appraising professional assistance, elderly caregivers can get the support they need to navigate the challenges and provide the best care possible for their loved ones.


    And now I have a song I'd like to dedicate to all of you listening. My song is: You’ve Got a Friend by Carole King



    04/06/2023 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    04/06/2023 - Katie Wong, Chief Officer (Elderly Service) The Hong Kong Council of Social Service