#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

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


    As the government has announced the “ Waste Blueprint for HK 2035 “ to tackle the challenge of waste management as well as to build a circular economy and a sustainable green living environment, “Waste Reduction” is on the top priority list. The government has proposed a measure to regulate disposable plastic tableware in phases. The Amendment Bill for the first phase of regulation was thus passed in March 2023 and will be in force on April 22, 2024.


    Under the Regulation, nine types of disposable plastic tableware would be introduced.


    In the first phase under the Regulation, EPS tableware, plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates are prohibited to sell to end-consumers and prohibited to provide by catering premises to customers for dine-in and takeaway services. The other disposable plastic tableware such as plates, cups food containers etc, will come into force in the second phase, but the date of implementation has yet to be determined.


    There are a few issues which the catering industry is concerned upon the introduction of the ban on using plastic disposable materials. The catering industry at first worried if there were alternative products to substitute the plastic tableware, and whether those environmental substitutes would increase the operating cost.


    Accordingly, if we look at the website of the Environmental Protection Department, we find that at the moment 64 companies are carrying 737 items which cover a wide range of non-plastic disposable tableware. Restaurant operators do have a lot of varieties to choose from which would suit their needs.


    However, many restaurant operators are, at the moment, not eager to use non-plastic tableware as the government is giving a six-month grace period to the trade, such that operators will not be fined if they do not follow the regulation on and after April 22. On the other hand, it would give enough time for importers and wholesalers as well as retailers to consume or or deal with their inventories within the allowable period. This period would also offer more time for the catering industry to find more suitable products to suit their budget and needs.


    In general, the cost of environmentally disposable products is about 20-30% more expensive than the plastic ones. Take the straws for example, a few cents increase seems not much for each straw, but it can translate to a substantial percentage increase when large quantities of straws are to be consumed. Since almost all non-plastic disposable products are imported, importers and wholesalers are not willing to take the risk of keeping too much stock in their warehouses at the moment. However, we believe that costs will come down when all restaurants have adopted the practice due to the larger quantity imports.


    Another concern is the quality of the substitutes. Those non-plastic substitutes are commonly made of paper, bamboo, softwood, wood pulp and plant fibre materials. Though there are a lot of choices for each type of utensil, the quality of the product varies. Some customers have complained that the paper straws or spoons cannot sustain in higher temperatures nor cannot be put in liquid for too long as they will become soft. Of course, we can find better quality products in the market, but the cost will then be higher.


    As the date for launching is drawing near, the catering industry has thought of ways to deal with the situation. Large restaurant groups, such as fast food chains, hotels and high-end restaurants have started using non-plastic utensils. Even though the cost, in general, is higher, they are willing to do so as it’s a social responsibility to compile with the ESG initiative. Some restaurants simply do not provide disposable utensils, but charge customers upon their request. Some restaurants or coffee shops have started to encourage customers to bring their utensils; in such cases, restaurants will save on the cost of providing the materials, while customers do not need to pay additional to the restaurants for getting non-plastic disposable tableware.


    There are about 18,000 restaurant outlets in HK, and 98% of those are small and medium-sized enterprises. With the present gloomy economic environment, these SMEs would be very cautious about the increased expenses if environmental products are used. However, I would suggest to them to use more reusable products to lower their cost and not provide the disposable utensils to customers.


    After all, the bill has passed, we, as an individual should do more for the environment. I also believe that education and publicity are vital means to pass the message to the public. The government should without any hesitation, launch more programs and publicities to educate the public how to deal with the change of living habits as well as to let people understand our environment is at risk if we do not act now.


    I'd like to share this song with you all this morning, I want to dedicate "Somewhere over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland. Thank you for listening.


    21/04/2024 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    21/04/2024 - Simon Wong, President of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants & Related Trades