Survey on the Sleep Quality and Quantity of Hong Kong's Working PopulationBack


Date of Release : 17 July 2003


HKU Sleep Survey Sounds Alarm:
92% of Local Working Population Deprived of Quality Sleep
60% unaware of sleeping problems


Hong Kong, July 17, 2003: - The latest survey on sleeping quality of local working population by the Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong reveals that almost the entire working populace is sleep deprived.


POP today reports the findings of "Survey on the Sleep Quality and Quantity of Hong Kong's Working Population", which shows a row of alarming results:

  • 92% of the work force shows symptoms of sleep deprivation, of which only 40% of the respondents are aware of such
  • 61% of the respondents are not able to enjoy uninterrupted sleep, among which 46% wake up twice or more every night
  • 50% of the respondents experience prolonged bad quality sleep, of which 63% believe that this has affected their work performance
  • 67% of the respondents have never tried to improve the quality of sleep, while 64% of them express no necessity to do so

The report has also studied two areas of interest, with findings being cross-analyzed:


1. Preferences on sleeping alone and sleeping with partner

  • 53% of those sleeping with partner and 85% of those sleeping alone prefer to sleep alone
  • Among those who choose to sleep alone, 83% of them state the reason of wanting more sleeping space.
  • More female respondents (68%) cannot enjoy uninterrupted sleep.

Commissioned by Simmons Bedding & Furniture (HK) Ltd, this is the second study conducted on HK people's sleeping problems. The 2002 study focused on professionals, managers, executives and businessmen (PMEBs), while the current research expanded the sample group to the entire work force, aged between 25 to 55. The random sampling research successfully conducted 1,032 telephone interviews, with data analyzed by Dr. Robert Chung, Director of POP and sleep expert, Dr. KF Chung, Assistant Professor from the Department of Psychiatry of HKU.


Mr. John Cheng, Director and General Manager of Simmons Bedding & Furniture (HK) Ltd, said in the conference, "We hope these researches will help arouse public awareness of the value of sleep. Through more coverage in the media, we hope more people will address their problems of sleep and take more initiative to sleep better and live better."


The survey focuses on the following four areas:

  • The Sleeping habits and patterns of local working population
  • Degree of sleep deprivation and its effects among the working population
  • Knowledge of quality sleep among the working population
  • Occurrence of sleep deprivation symptoms among them


The data of the survey are categorized into four major findings:


1. General conditions of sleep:
The majority of the work force experiences symptoms of sleep deprivation, however, only a minor percentage of them are aware of this. The survey adopted the "Tests of sleep deprivation symptoms" from the best selling book "Power Sleep", written by Dr. James Maas, a psychology professor of Connell University. The seven questions are:

  • I often sleep extra hours on weekend mornings.
  • I often need an alarm clock or some one to wake me up at the preferred hour.
  • I sometimes feel drowsy while driving.
  • I often fall asleep while watching TV.
  • It's a struggle for me to get out of bed in the morning.
  • I often fall asleep in boring meetings or lectures.
  • I often fall asleep while resting after lunch or dinner.


Out of the 1,032 respondents, only 81 of them (8%) gave negative answers to all seven questions. 92% responded positively to one or more symptoms of sleep deprivation. However, only 40% of the respondents are aware of their sleeping problems. The most cited symptom was 'I often sleep extra hours on weekend mornings' (62%), followed by 'I often need an alarm clock or someone to wake me up at the preferred hour' (56%) and 'I sometimes feel drowsy while driving' (46%).


Dr. KF Chung said, "The results show that the working population does not have sufficient sleep, which is about having appropriate sleeping time and being able to wake up without the assistance of an alarm clock. Sufficient and quality sleep is not only a key element for health, but also a condition for performing well in the work."


2. Sleeping time / hours
The study shows a high percentage of respondents (39%) going to bed between 11 PM to 12AM and getting up between 6 to 7 AM (41%), averaging six hours of sleep. Although 45% agree that 10 to 11PM is the preferred time to sleep, only 25% of the respondents can do so.


The cross tabulation analysis also indicates the average sleeping hours during working days are 7 hours 15 minutes, which is 1 hour 23 minutes shorter than the stated ideal duration. Only 28% and 27% of them are able to go to sleep and get up according to the ideal time respectively.


"Everybody has a different sleeping clock, but the survey finds that most people do not follow their preferred sleeping schedule, indicating the relatively low value they place on sleep, and hence the consequences of the lack of it. Insufficient sleep can cause poor temper, deterioration of creative thinking and concentration, resulting in poor work performance and even traffic and industrial accidents," added Dr. Chung.


3. Sleep deprivation
Besides quantity, quality of sleep was also studied in the survey. According to Dr. Chung, quality sleep is defined by:

  • Uninterrupted sleep
  • Appropriate sleeping time / sleeping hours
  • Completion of the sleep cycles
  • Minimal distractions during sleeping


The results show that 61% of the respondents reported waking up at night during the past 7 days, of which 46% experienced twice or more, with 'going to toilet' as the most popular reason (43% of the sub-sampling). 41% of them reported it took at least 30 minutes to fall asleep, while 47% could not sleep through 85% of their bedtime. It is worth noting that half of the respondents experienced prolonged poor sleep (3 consecutive nights), among them 63% agreed insufficient quality sleep had adversely affected their work and looks. However, 67% had never tried to improve their sleep, among them 43% (64% of the sub-sampling) did not think there were need to do so.


Dr. Chung said, "It is a serious concern that while a high percentage of the working population is suffering from insomnia; very few of them recognize this as a problem and take an active approach to improving it."


4. Knowledge of quality sleep
54% agreed sleep can 'restore functions of organs' and 'restore energy', while 38% thought uninterrupted sleep and waking up on time were requisites of quality sleep. The figure shows only a preliminary knowledge of quality sleep, without accompanied by putting into action.


The most popular choices for improving quality of sleep were: 'improving bedroom environment' (27%), 'total relax before bedtime' (24%) and 'choose a quality mattress' (20%).


Feature Studies:
For the first time, the current research explores the patterns of sleeping with partner / sleeping alone, and quality of sleep according to genders.


Feature 1: Preferences on sleeping alone and sleeping with partner
An inspiring finding is that 65% of the respondents prefer sleeping alone, among them 53% of those sleeping with partner and 85% of the alone sleepers prefer to sleep alone, compared with 21% who chose to sleep with partner. Among those who choose to sleep alone, 83% of them think sleeping alone is more comfortable. In reality, the number of co-sleepers (60%) outnumbers alone sleepers (38%).


It also studies the choices of sleeping with or without partner based on the sizes of bed, with a finding that the most popular size is 4 feet x 6 feet. Cross tabulation analysis shows 47% are using a bed of this size or even smaller. Over half (55%) sleeping with partner in a smaller bed prefer to choose sleeping alone.


Dr. Chung points out that the result does not indicate direct and causal relationships between bed sizes, insomnia and preference of sleeping alone, it adequately shows people's preference on more sleeping space.


Feature 2: Difference on sleeping quality by genders:
On quality of sleep between male and female, the research shows that 68% of the female cannot enjoy uninterrupted sleep during the past seven nights, compared with 45% of male reporting the opposite. More women (56%) report experience of prolonged bad quality sleep, while 45% of men report the same suffering.


Dr. Chung introduces the following recommendations to improve quality of sleep:

  • Value sleep
  • Sleep adequately; always go to bed at the same time.
  • Regular relaxation activities to combat pressure, e.g. exercise, listen to music
  • Set your mind free from work and pressure, devoted the sleeping hours to sleep
  • Minimize possible disturbances during sleep e.g., less water intake before going to bed, drawing a curtain, using a larger bed, sleeping on a mattress that can minimize motion transfers across bed.


Following the 2003 survey, Simmons plans to continue promoting the importance of sleep by staging more researches, seminars and producing pamphlets to strengthen and enhance the knowledge of quality sleep among the public.


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Issued by Octagon (Greater China) Ltd. on behalf of Simmons Bedding & Furniture (HK) Ltd.
For any queries, please contact:

Simmons Bedding & Furniture (HK) Ltd.
Ellen Chan - Brand Marketing Manager
Tel: 2378 4869
E Mail: [email protected]

Octagon Greater China
Edward Suen / Miranda Kwok
Tel: 2598 0798
Fax: 2544 8933