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Regular physical activity and insomnia: an international perspective

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journal contribution
posted on 27.07.2018, 13:59 authored by Iuliana HartescuIuliana Hartescu, Kevin Morgan
Very low, and very high levels of regular physical activity have been associated with degraded sleep quality. Cross-national variations in habitual physical activity levels may contribute to cross-national differences in insomnia prevalence. The present study assesses and compares the extent to which weekly durations of moderate intensity physical activity contribute to insomnia risk. Demographic, sleep, physical activity and general health profiles were obtained from a convenience sample of 9238 adults drawn from 5 countries (South Africa, Australia, China, South Korea and the UK) using social media. Insomnia prevalence ranged from 4.1% (China) to 14.8% (UK). In logistic regression adjusted only for age and gender, the lowest level of activity was associated with significant insomnia risk (OR = 1.37 (95%CI =1.05-1.79;p< 0.05). When adjusted for all covariates except country, only the highest level of physical activity (>300 min/week) was associated with significantly increased insomnia risk (OR = 1.30 (95%CI =1.03–2.51;p< 0.05). Risk associated with high activity remained after the addition of ‘country’ to the model (OR = 1.31 (95%CI =1.02–1.69;p< 0.05). Across all models, female gender, low rated health, low education, and older age consistently increased insomnia risk. These cross-national data indicate that extremes of inactivity/activity can significantly influence insomnia risk independent of country. Insomnia risk associated with very low levels of activity may be mediated by poorer health and disadvantageous social status. However, while very high levels of activity increase insomnia risk independent of health and demographic factors, they may also confound with personally and occupationally demanding lifestyles.


This research was supported by Sealy UK.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Journal of Sleep Research


HARTESCU, I. and MORGAN, K., 2018. Regular physical activity and insomnia: an international perspective. Journal of Sleep Research, 28 (2), e12745.


Wiley © European Sleep Research Society


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: HARTESCU, I. and MORGAN, K., 2018. Regular physical activity and insomnia: an international perspective. Journal of Sleep Research, 28 (2), e12745, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/jsr.12745. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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