Short Sleep Duration and Insomnia Symptoms were Associated with Lower Happiness Levels in Chinese Adults in Hong Kong

Sheng Zhi Zhao, Man Ping Wang, Kasisomayajula Viswanath, Agnes Lai, Daniel Yee Tak Fong, Chia Chin Lin, Sophia Siu Chee Chan, Tai Hing Lam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Study objective: To examine the association of sleep duration and insomnia symptoms with happiness. Methods: A random sample of 1691 Chinese adult (mean age 54 ± 20.1, male 51%) were interviewed in a population-based telephone survey. Happiness was measured by the subjective happiness scale (SHS) and the one-item global happiness index (GHI). Information on sleep included mean past seven-day sleep duration (<6 h, ≥6 to <8 h and ≥8 h) and insomnia symptoms: Difficulty in initiating sleep (DIS), difficulty in maintaining sleep (DMS), and early morning awakening (EMA). Adjusted beta-coefficient (β) of SHS and adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of GHI in relation to sleep problems were calculated. Interaction effects by age (18-65 vs. ≥65) and by sex were assessed. Results: Compared to ≥8 h of sleep, having <6 h of sleep had lower SHS (adjusted β -0.32, 95% CI -0.46 to -0.17) and GHI (aOR 0.54, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.78). The associations were stronger in younger adults and in women (p < 0.05). DIS, DMS, and EMA were associated with lower SHS (adjusted β ranged from -0.20 to -0.06) and GHI (aOR ranged from 0.57 to 0.89). Dose-response association between the number of insomnia symptoms and lower SHS was observed (p < 0.001). These associations were generally stronger in older adults and among women. Conclusions: Lower levels of happiness were observed, particularly in younger adults and females with short sleep duration and older adults and females with insomnia symptoms. Prospective studies are needed to confirm the findings and understand the mechanisms between sleep and happiness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2079
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 12 2019


  • Chinese
  • life satisfaction
  • population study
  • public health
  • sleep problems
  • subjective well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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