Sleep and mood disorders

Sleep and mood disorders can occur in people of all ages and background. They are complex conditions involving multiple brain processes, subjective experiences and social influences. Sleep and mood disorders are major public health issues. Insomnia affects approximately 10-15% of the adult population and the total cost of insomnia, including treatment, lost productivity and insomnia-related accidents are huge. Depressive disorder and bipolar disorder are the most common mood disorders. In the most recent World Health Organization report, depressive disorder is the leading cause of disease burden in middle- and high-income countries.

We welcome research collaboration as well as postgraduate students.

Major research areas include:


We look at etiology, clinical presentation, assessment and treatment of insomnia. Our recent studies examine the use of standardized diagnostic criteria in general population insomnia survey, cognitive behavioral characteristics in Chinese insomniacs and the use of self-help therapy and traditional Chinese medicine treatments for insomnia.

Related publications

1. Ho YY, Chung KF, Yeung WF. Ng TH, Cheng SK. Weekly brief phone support in self-help cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia disorder: relevance to adherence and efficacy. Behaviour Research and Therapy 2014;63:147-56
2. Chung KF, Yeung WF, Ho FY, Ho LM, Yung KP, Yu YM, Kwok CW. Validity and reliability of the Brief Insomnia Questionnaire in the general population in Hong Kong. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 2014;76:374-379.
3. Yeung WF, Chung KF, Poon MM, Ho FY, Zhang SP, Zhang ZJ, Ziea ET, Wong VT. Chinese herbal medicine for insomnia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Sleep Medicine Reviews 2012;16:497-507
4. Yeung WF, Chung KF, Tso KF, Zhang SP, Zhang ZJ, Ho LM. Electroacupuncture for residual insomnia associated with major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Sleep 2011;34:807-815.

Recent grants as PI

1. A systematic review of traditional Chinese medicine treatment for insomnia. HA contracted research ($299,336) (2010-2012)
2. A randomized controlled trial of electroacupuncture for persistent insomnia symptoms associated with major depressive disorder. HHSRF ($880,472) (2010-2013)
3. Combined electroacupuncture and auricular acupuncture for primary insomnia: a randomized controlled trial of dose-response effect. HMRF ($997,250) (2012-2015)
4. The efficacy of Gui Pi Tang, Suan Zao Ren Tang, and Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan for insomnia: a pilot randomized double-blinded trial. Chinese Medicine Research Grant, HA ($684,918) (2012-2015)

Health risks associated with sleep and mood disorders

There are many health risks associated with sleep and mood disturbance. For example, chronic insomnia may lead to major depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, suicide, decreased immune functioning, and cardiovascular disease. Our recent focus is on the effect of sleep disturbance on pain experience.

Related publications

1. Chung KF, Tso KC, Yeung WF, Li WH. Quality of life in major depressive disorder: the role of pain and pain catastrophizing cognition. Comprehensive Psychiatry 2012;53:387-395.
2. Chung KF, Tso KC. Relationship between insomnia and pain in major depressive disorder: a sleep diary and actigraphy study. Sleep Medicine 2010;11:752-8.
3. Yeung WF, Chung KF, Wong CY. Relationship between insomnia and headache in community-based middle-aged Hong Kong Chinese women. Journal of Headache and Pain 2010;11:187-195.

Sleep-wake patterns and sleep disturbance in adolescents

Insufficient sleep and irregular sleep-wake schedules among adolescents has become a major international health concern. In our recent study of Hong Kong secondary school students, we found that the average total sleep time was 7.3 hours, which is far less than the usual sleep requirement of 9 hours in adolescents. The prevalence of sleep disturbances occurring three or more times per week was almost 20%. The focus of this research area is to further explore the sleep problems in adolescents, their negative consequences, and early intervention programme.

Related publications

1. Chung KF, Kan KK, Yeung WF. Sleep duration, sleep-wake schedule regularity, and body weight in Hong Kong Chinese adolescents. Biological Rhythm Research 2013;44:169-79.
2. Chung KF, Kan KK, Yeung WF. Assessing insomnia in adolescents: comparison of Insomnia Severity Index, Athens Insomnia Scale and Sleep Quality Index. Sleep Medicine 2011;12:463-470.
3. Chung KF, Cheung MM. Sleep-wake patterns and sleep disturbance among Hong Kong Chinese adolescents. Sleep 2008;31:185-94.

Traditional Chinese medicine application in sleep and mood disorders

TCM theory has a long history; however scientific studies on the topic are limited. Our focus is to examine
TCM approach to diagnosis and treatment of sleep and mood disorders.

Related publications

1. Poon MM, Chung KF, Yeung WF, Yau VH, Zhang SP. Classification of insomnia using the traditional Chinese medicine system: a systematic review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012;2012:735078
2. Chung KF, Yeung WF, Zhang ZJ, Yung KP, Man SC, Lee CP, Lam SK, Leung TW, Leung KY, Ziea E, Wong VT. Randomized non-invasive sham-controlled pilot trial of electroacupuncture for postpartum depression. Journal of Affective Disorders 2012;142:115-21.
3. Zhang ZJ, Ng R, Man SC, Li TY, Wong W, Tan QR, Wong HK, Chung KF, Wong MT, Tsang WK, Yip KC, Ziea E, Wong VT. Dense cranial electroacupuncture stimulation for major depressive disorder - a single-blind, randomized, controlled study. PLoS One 2012;7:e29651.
4. Yeung WF, Chung KF, Leung YK, Zhang SP, Law AC. Traditional needle acupuncture treatment for insomnia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Sleep Medicine 2009;10:694-704.

Recent grants as PI

1. A pilot study of acupuncture for postpartum depression. HA contracted research ($486,439) (2010-2012)
2. A systematic review on the effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicine for depression. Chinese Medicine Research Grant, HA ($296,776) (2013-2014)

Mood disorders

The focus of this research area is to evaluate the assessment and treatment in depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.

Related publications

1. Tse S, Murray G, Chung KF, Ng KL, Davidson L, Yu AC. Exploring the recovery concept in bipolar disorder: A decision tree analysis of psychosocial correlates of recovery stages. Bipolar Disorders DOI: 10.1111/bdi.12153
2. Poon Y, Chung KF, Tso KC, Chang CL, Tang D. The use of Mood Disorder Questionnaire, Hypomania Checklist-32 and clinical predictors for screening previously unrecognized bipolar disorder in a general psychiatric setting. Psychiatry Research 2012;195:111-117.
3. Chung KF, Tso KC, Chung TY. Validation of the Mood Disorder Questionnaire in the general population in Hong Kong. Comprehensive Psychiatry 2009;50:471-6.
4. Chung KF, Tso KC, Cheung E, Wong M. Validation of the Chinese version of the Mood Disorder Questionnaire in a psychiatric population in Hong Kong. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 2008;62:464-471.

Full Publication list

Team members only