Relationships between the usage of televisions, computers, and mobile phones and the quality of sleep in a Chinese population: Community-based cross-sectional study

Yao Jie Xie, Daphne S.K. Cheung, Alice Y. Loke, Bernice L. Nogueira, Karry M. Liu, Angela Y.M. Leung, Alice S.M. Tsang, Cindy S.U. Leong, Alex Molassiotis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: No study has comprehensively investigated the association between the usage of typical screen-based electronic media devices and sleep quality in a Chinese population with individuals in a wide range of ages. Objective: This study aimed to understand the characteristics of television (TV) viewing, computer usage, and mobile phone usage in a representative Chinese population in Macau and to examine their roles in predicting the variations in sleep quality. Methods: This cross-sectional study was an analysis of 1500 Macau residents aged 15 to 90 years based on a community-based health needs assessment study entitled, “Healthy Living, Longer Lives.” Data collection was conducted in 7 districts of Macau from 2017 to 2018 through face-to-face interviews. The durations of daily TV viewing, computer usage, and mobile phone usage were recorded in a self-administered questionnaire. The Chinese version of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was used to assess the sleep quality. Results: The prevalence of TV, computer, and mobile phone usage was 78.4% (1176/1500), 51.6% (769/1490), and 85.5% (1276/1492), respectively. The average daily hours of usage were 1.75 (1.62), 1.53 (2.26), and 2.85 (2.47) hours, respectively. Females spent more time watching TV (P=.03) and using mobile phones (P=.02) and less time on the computer (P=.04) as compared to males. Older adults were more likely to watch TV while young people spent more time using the computer and mobile phones (P for all trends<.001). The mean PSQI global score was 4.79 (2.80) among the participants. Females exhibited significantly higher PSQI scores than males (5.04 vs 4.49, respectively; P<.001). No linear association was observed between the PSQI score and the amount of time spent on the 3 electronic devices (P=.58 for PSQI-TV, P=.05 for PSQI-computer, and P=.52 for PSQI-mobile phone). Curve estimation showed significant quadratic curvilinear associations in PSQI-TV (P=.003) and PSQI-computer (P<.001) among all the participants and in PSQI-mobile phone among youths (age, 15-24 years; P=.04). After adjustment of the gender, age, body mass index, demographics, and lifestyle factors, more than 3 hours of TV viewing and 4 hours of computer usage or mobile phone usage was associated with 85% (95% CI 1.04-1.87; P=.008), 72% (95% CI 1.01-2.92; P=.045), and 53% (95% CI 1.06-2.22; P=.03) greater odds of having poor sleep quality (PSQI score>5), respectively. Conclusions: The mobile phone was the most popular screen-based electronic device used in the Macau population, especially among young people. “J” shape associations were observed between sleep quality and the duration of TV viewing, computer usage, and mobile phone usage, indicating that the extreme use of screen-based electronic devices predicted poorer sleep status, whereas moderate use would be acceptable.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere18095
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Chinese
  • Digital
  • Electronic device
  • Mobile phone
  • Screen-based
  • Sleep


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