NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- It's one of the worst feelings in the world -- lying awake in the middle of the night because you can't fall asleep.
Now we may know the secret for getting a good night's rest. And as CBS 2's Dr. Holly Phillips explains it may improve your sex life, too.
With every step she takes Roberta Price says she's on her way to getting a better night's sleep.
"I walk probably like two and a half miles a day," Price said.
Price used to be fairly sedentary during the day and then she'd lie awake most of the night.
"That was very frustrating for me, because you would wake up in the morning tired. You would go to bed tired, and you would never get any rest and you couldn't understand why," Price said.
Price is far from alone. As many as 40 percent of adults 55 and older have trouble sleeping, but a new study says the solution to insomnia may simply be to get up and get moving during the day.
The study by the National Sleep Foundation looked for a connection between regular, moderate exercise and a good night's sleep.
"We saw a significant difference in the sleep quality," said Dr. Phyllis Zee, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern University.
Price was one of the participants. Those who either walked on a treadmill or rode a stationary bike fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer than the study's control group, who didn't exercise but participated in other activities like cooking classes and trips to museums.
And that's not all.
"We saw a big difference in their mood. There were less depressive symptoms in the group that had the exercise," Dr. Zee said.
Research also shows an active lifestyle can lead to a better sex life. Another new study found people who exercise even have significantly higher sex drives.
So how much exercise are we talking about? Well, the optimum amount is 40 minutes, three times a week and timing matters, too. Researchers found late afternoon exercise is best.
"I'll do one hour on the treadmill. And I enjoy that and I feel good about that," Price said.
Price says she enjoys walking at a pretty brisk pace, but the study shows the workout doesn't have to be high intensity to get a good night's sleep.
The adrenaline rush and stress relief from a brief workout has also been shown to replace similar feelings smokers get from tobacco. So needless to say, doctors say exercise can help reduce the urge for a cigarette.
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