Prevalence of sleep disturbances during COVID-19 outbreak in an urban Chinese population: a cross-sectional study

Branda Yee-Man Yu, Wing-Fai Yeung*, Jason Chun-Sing Lam, Sam Chun-Sum Yuen, Simon Ching Lam, Vincent Chi-Ho Chung, Ka-Fai Chung, Paul Hong Lee, Fiona Yan-Yee Ho, Janice Yuen-Shan Ho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic is a large-scale public health emergency that likely precipitated sleep disturbances in the community. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and correlates of sleep disturbances during the early phase of COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: This web-based cross-sectional study recruited 1138 Hong Kong adults using convenience sampling over a two-week period from 6th April 2020. The survey collected data on sleep disturbances, mood, stress, stock of infection control supplies, perceived risk of being infected by COVID-19, and sources for acquiring COVID-19 information. The participants were asked to compare their recent sleep and sleep before the outbreak. The Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) was used to assess their current insomnia severity. Prevalence was weighted according to 2016 population census.
Results: The weighted prevalence of worsened sleep quality, difficulty in sleep initiation, and shortened sleep duration since the outbreak were 38.3%, 29.8%, and 29.1%, respectively. The prevalence of current insomnia (ISI score of ≥10) was 29.9%. Insufficient stock of masks was significantly associated with worsened sleep quality, impaired sleep initiation, shortened sleep duration, and current insomnia in multivariate logistic regression (adjusted OR = 1.57, 1.72, 1.99, and 1.96 respectively, all p < 0.05).
Conclusion: A high proportion of people in Hong Kong felt that their sleep had worsened since the COVID-19 outbreak. Insufficient stock of masks was one of the risk factors that were associated with sleep disturbances. Adequate and stable supply of masks may play an important role to maintain the sleep health in the Hong Kong general population during a pandemic outbreak.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Medicine
Early online date18 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

User-Defined Keywords

  • Insomnia
  • Pandemic
  • Epidemic
  • Web-based
  • Masks
  • Coronavirus


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