Association Between Physical Activity and Insomnia Symptoms in Rural Communities of Southeastern Missouri, Tennessee, and Arkansas

Authors

  • Jen Jen Chang PhD,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri
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  • Grace W. Pien MD,

    1. Division of Sleep Medicine and Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Division, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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  • Katherine A. Stamatakis PhD,

    1. The Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery and Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, School of Medicine, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri
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  • Ross C. Brownson PhD

    1. The Prevention Research Center, the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, and the Department of Surgery and Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, School of Medicine, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri
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  • Funding: This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant NIDDK #5 R18 DK061706 and Cooperative Agreement Number U48/DP000060 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Prevention Research Centers Program.

  • Disclosures: The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no conflict of interest among all authors related to this study.

For further information, contact: Jen Jen Chang, PhD; Department of Epidemiology; Saint Louis University School of Public Health; 3545 Lafayette Ave., Suite 300; St. Louis, MO 63104; e-mail: jjchang@slu.edu.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine whether physical activity is associated with less insomnia symptoms in the rural communities.

Methods

This study used cross-sectional data collected from a 2005 telephone survey for evaluation of a community walking trails intervention to promote physical activity in rural communities including 6 communities in the Missouri Ozark region and 6 communities in Arkansas and Tennessee (n = 1,234). The exposure variable is self-reported regular current physical activity. The outcome includes symptoms of insomnia operationalized as having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up too early nearly every day. Logistic regression was used to calculate prevalence odds ratios (PORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).

Findings

The study sample includes mostly white (95%), married (62%), overweight/obese (61%) women with a high school degree and a mean age of 54. Fourteen percent of participants reported having insomnia symptoms. Self-report of currently being physically active regularly was associated with decreased odds of insomnia symptoms (adjusted POR: .37; 95% CI, 0.14−0.99) among participants with under or normal body weight, after controlling for age, gender, education level, marital status, and chronic diseases. There was also a negative linear correlation between the number of days and total minutes of vigorous physical activity and insomnia symptoms.

Conclusions

In these rural communities, we observed a significant relationship between regular physical activity and decreased insomnia symptoms.

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