Domain-specific physical activity and insomnia among individuals 15 years and older in South Africa

  • Karl Peltzer
  • Supa Pengpid
Keywords: Physical activity domain, insomnia, adults, South Africa.


High levels of exercise or physical activity may decrease risk of developing insomnia. This evaluated the relationship between domain-specific physical activity and insomnia in a national population sample in South Africa. Data were examined from the cross-sectional “South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES-1)” 2012, using a sample of 14,817 persons (mean age=36.9, SD=16.5). Measures included self-reported information on domain-specific physical activity (work, transportation and leisure), insomnia, socio-demographic, health risk behaviour and mental health. Results indicated that the overall prevalence of insomnia symptoms was 7.1%, 5.4% among men and 8.6% among women (p<0.001). In adjusted logistic regression analysis among women, high level of overall physical activity and high level of work domain physical activity increased the odds of having insomnia (Odds Ratio-OR: 1.46, Confidence Interval-CI: 1.02, 2.08, and OR: 1.57, CI: 1.12, 2.19, respectively). Overall, high levels of physical activity and among men, high levels of transportation domain physical activity were associated with decreased odds of having insomnia (OR: 0.77, CI: 0.60, 0.99, and OR: 0.66, CI: 0.45, 0.97, respectively). In bivariate analysis, high levels of leisure time physical activity reduced the risks for insomnia (OR: 0.64, CI: 0.44, 0.93). In conclusion, among women, high work related physical activity increased the odds of insomnia, and among men, a high transportation related physical activity decreased the odds of insomnia.

Keywords: Physical activity domain, insomnia, adults, South Africa.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1117-4315