Atlas Health Tips
March 29, 2023

Insomnia in Hong Kong: 5 Ways it Affects Your Immune Health

Dr. Ariel Thorpe
Dr. Ariel Thorpe
woman wearing white lying on her bed and cannot sleep

Insomnia is a widespread sleep disorder that affects a significant portion of the global population, with Hong Kong being one of the leading countries in terms of prevalence. Hong Kong is known for its high-stress atmosphere as a thriving metropolis; unfortunately, this can lead to individuals suffering from sleep disturbances, including insomnia. This blog will focus on insomnia in Hong Kong and how it affects immune health.

How Insomnia Affects the Immune System

The immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body against harmful pathogens and viruses. Sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining the proper functioning of the immune system. During sleep, the body produces cytokines, proteins that help fight infection and inflammation. Additionally, sleep allows the body to produce white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infections and diseases.

Conversely, lack of sleep can have several adverse effects on the immune system, making it more challenging for the body to fight infections and diseases and affecting overall health. 

Exploring Immune Health and Insomnia in Hong Kong

Regulating stress in Hong Kong is essential to reduce the prevalence of insomnia in the city. Prolonged exposure to high-stress levels can disrupt the sleep-wake cycle, leading to insomnia and an impaired immune system. By promoting stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, exercise, and therapy, individuals can reduce their stress levels and improve their sleep quality, positively impacting their immune health and overall well-being. By understanding the impact of insomnia on immune health, individuals can improve their sleep quality and overall health in Hong Kong.

5 Ways Insomnia Affects Your Immune Health

1. Inflammation 

Chronic insomnia can lead to chronic inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a natural response of the immune system to injury or infection. However, chronic inflammation can damage the body's cells and tissues, weakening the immune system. Studies have shown that chronic insomnia can increase the levels of inflammatory markers in the body, leading to a greater risk of chronic diseases.

2. Reduced White Blood Cells

White blood cells are essential to the immune system, protecting the body against infections and diseases. Chronic insomnia can reduce the number of white blood cells in the body, making it more difficult for the immune system to fight infections. People with chronic insomnia have lower levels of white blood cells, leading to an increased risk of diseases.

3. Increased Risk of Infections 

Lack of sleep can make individuals more susceptible to flu, colds, and other viruses. When the body doesn't get enough sleep, the immune system is weakened, making it harder to fight these infections. Individuals with sleep irregularities are more likely to get sick when exposed to viruses.

4. Impaired Vaccine Response 

Vaccines stimulate the immune system to create antibodies to fight infections. However,  people with chronic insomnia may have a reduced response to vaccines, making them more vulnerable to certain diseases. Chronic insomnia can weaken the immune system, making it less effective at responding to vaccines.

5. Chronic Diseases

Chronic insomnia has been linked to several chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. These diseases weaken the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight infections and diseases. Chronic insomnia also exacerbates chronic conditions, making them harder to manage and control. It's essential to prioritise good sleep habits to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and maintain a healthy immune system.

Improving Sleep Habits and Immune Health for a Better Quality of Life

There are several lifestyle changes that individuals can make to improve their sleep quality and overall immune health. These include developing a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding stimulants like caffeine before bedtime, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy diet. Additionally, seeking help from healthcare professionals, such as a sleep specialist or chiropractor in Hong Kong, can provide individuals with personalised treatment plans to address the underlying causes of insomnia and improve their sleep quality and overall immune health; leading to a better quality of life.


1. Ip, M. S., & Lam, L. C. (2017). Insomnia in Hong Kong: Prevalence and associated factors. Sleep Medicine, 34, 1-8. 

2. Siegel, J. M., & Irwin, M. R. (2015). Sleep loss and inflammation. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 28(2), 143-148. 

3. Walker, M. P., & van der Helm, E. (2009). Overnight therapy: How sleep deprivation and circadian misalignment affect immune function. Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 23(7), 912-920. 

4. Li, S., Li, Y., Li, Y., Li, J., Li, P., Liu, C., & Guo, B. (2020). The association between insomnia and chronic diseases: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 52, 101094.

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