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Does Exercise Cure Insomnia? Maybe, but Not for A While

First Posted: Aug 15, 2013 10:01 AM EDT

Are you suffering from insomnia? (We know we are!) In any case, have you tried heading to the gym in order to cure your late night T.V. marathons? It might just be the thing to help out in the long run. Only problem? Studies show that it could take up to four months to help find a solution for your sleeplessness.

Lead study author Kelly Glazer Baron, a clinical psychologist at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Il., discusses the benefits of exercise and how a regular fitness routine can get you a good night's rest if you keep at it.

"They come to us and say, 'I exercised until I was exhausted, but I still couldn't sleep,' " she said, according to USA Today, speaking of patients frustrations when exercise does not immediately bring healthier sleeping patterns. 

In turn, the research also showed that a poor night's rest could cause people to work out less. "Sleeping poorly doesn't change your aerobic capacity, but it changes people's perception of their exertion," Baron said, via the Huffington Post. "They feel more exhausted."

The study looked at data that was previously published from a larger study, encompassing a 16-week exercise program that also combined better sleep habits to help those with insomnia problems.

They also looked at data collected on 11 women ages 57 to 70 in an exercise program who kept both exercise and sleep diaries. This was monitored by the women wearing tracking devices on their wrists that monitored they're activity, according to the study. The exercise regimen included 30 minutes of exercise three to four times a week, mostly on treadmills.

Results showed that after 16 weeks, most women slept an extra 46 minutes a night. However, this was after weeks of training.

The Mayo Clinic defines insomnia as a disorder that can cause someone to have difficulties falling asleep or staying awake. The person will often times feel unrefreshed.

Are you heading to the gym after hearing about the link between sleep and exercise? It might take a bit, but in the end, that extra hour in dream land just might be worth it for your health and your happiness. 

More information regarding the study can be found in Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine

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