Exercise is an often-cited remedy for sleep problems, but the effect isn’t immediate, says Kelly Glazer Baron, a sleep expert at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
In fact, it can take about 16 weeks of regular aerobic exercise for women with insomnia to see improvement, according to her research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
People with existing sleep problems have a heightened level of brain activity, which takes time to adjust, says Baron, who studied middle-aged and older female volunteers with insomnia. Her research is different from other studies on the daily effects of exercise and sleep, which used healthy sleepers as volunteers.
It can be hard to summon the energy for exercise when you don’t get enough sleep, but Baron recommends persistence and patience until you get results.