A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that while exercise may help insomniacs overcome their sleeping problem, it has more of a long-term impact and does not provide any quick fix.
The study was conducted by researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine who analyzed data from a 2010 clinical trial that looked into the link between exercise and sleep. The researchers observed the daily activities and sleeping habits of nearly a dozen women between 57 and 70 years of age over a 16-week period.
All of the participants suffered from insomnia with older participants having higher rates of insomnia. The researchers found that it was only after a long period of persistent exercise that the women were able to have more restful nights with the participants sleeping for 45 minutes more on average every night after months of exercise, which typically involved walking on treadmill several times a week.
"If you have insomnia you won't exercise yourself into sleep right away. It's a long-term relationship. You have to keep at it and not get discouraged. People have to realise that even if they don't want to exercise, that's the time they need to dig in their heels and get themselves out there", lead researcher Dr Kelly Baron said.