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Physical activity and sleep problems in 38 low- and middle-income countries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Davy Vancampfort, Brendon Stubbs, Lee Smith, Mats Hallgren, Joseph Firth, Matthew P. Herring, Michel Probst, Ai Koyanagi

Original languageEnglish
Early online date24 May 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 May 2018

King's Authors


Although physical activity (PA) is associated with a reduction of a wide range of sleep problems, it remains uncertain whether complying with the international guidelines of 150 min of moderate to vigorous PA per week can reduce sleep problems in adults. This research investigated the relationship between compliance with the PA recommendations of the World Health Organization and sleep problems in 38 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Cross-sectional, community-based data from the World Health Survey were analyzed. Adjusted logistic regression analyses were undertaken to explore the relationship between PA levels using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and self-reported sleep problems (such as difficulties falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night or waking up too early in the morning) in the last 30 days.

Across 204,315 individuals (38.6±16.1 years; 49.3% males), the overall prevalence (95%CI) of low PA and sleep problems were 29.9% (29.1-30.8%) and 7.5% (7.2-7.9%), respectively. After adjusting for socio-demographics, obesity, chronic physical conditions, depression, and anxiety, not complying with PA recommendations was associated with higher odds for sleep problems overall [odds ratio (OR)=1.23; 95%CI=1.10-1.38] and across the entire age range: 18-34 years (OR=1.26; 95%CI=1.02-1.57); 35-64 years (OR=1.17; 95%CI=1.01-1.35); age ≥65 years (OR=1.40; 95%CI=1.11-1.76).

Not complying with international PA recommendations is associated with higher odds of sleep problems, independently of depression and anxiety in LMICs. Future longitudinal and interventional studies are warranted to assess whether increasing PA levels may improve sleep problems in this setting.

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