Ample physical activity may help most people sleep better at night, but those suffering from insomnia may need to spend more time exercising before they can get their beauty rest.

In a study featured on Science Daily, researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine analyzed the sleeping and exercise habits of 11 women with insomnia over a period of 16 weeks and found that exercise does help people sleep better, but only if they do so regularly.

While it may take time for physical activity to take effect, it’s still the best way to go. "Patients with insomnia have a heightened level of brain activity and it takes time to re-establish a more normal level that can facilitate sleep. Rather than medications, which can induce sleep quickly, exercise may be a healthier way to improve sleep because it could address the underlying problem," senior author Phyllis Zee explains.

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The key is persistence. It’s important to push oneself in spite of the urge to quit. “People have to realize 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 author Kelly Glazer Baron concludes. After all, staying motivated may result in sweet rewards–and dreams.

(Photo by Sadie Hernandez via Flickr Creative Commons)

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