Sleep quality and recommended levels of physical activity in older people

A minimum level of activity likely to improve sleep outcomes among older people has not previously been explored. In a representative UK sample aged 65+ (n = 926), cross-sectional regressions controlling for appropriate confounders showed that walking at or above the internationally recommended threshold of ≥150 minutes per week was significantly associated with a lower likelihood of reporting insomnia symptoms (OR = 0.67 (95% CI = 0.45 – 0.91) p<0.05). At 4-year follow-up (n=577), higher walking levels at baseline significantly predicted a lower likelihood of reporting sleep onset (OR = 0.64 (95% CI = 0.42-0.97 p<0.05) or sleep maintenance (OR = 0.63 (95% CI = 0.41-0.95 p<0.05) problems. These results are consistent with the conclusion that current physical activity guidelines can support sleep quality in older adults.