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 min per week was significantly associated with a lower likelihood of reporting insomnia symptoms (OR = 0.67, 95% CI = 0.45−0.91, p < .05). At a 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 < .05) or sleep maintenance (OR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.41−0.95, p < .05) problems. These results are consistent with the conclusion that current physical activity guidelines can support sleep quality in older adults.
Hartescu, Morgan, and Stevinson are with the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom.