Category Archives: Sleep

A leading expert’s tip for getting back to sleep if you’re tossing and turning

Last week I wanted to borrow British neuroscientist Matt Walker’s book “Why We Sleep” from my local library, but all copies were out on loan.

All 54 copies.

Yup, it’s a popular book, and sleep (in particular, people’s lack of it) is a headline-grabbing issue.

When Matt Walker gave a polished talk on this subject at TED last month, the compere asked what people should do if they find themselves tossing and turning in the night, unable to go back to sleep.

Walker’s advice was to get up, go into a different room, do some kind of activity (like reading), then return to sleep when feeling sleepy.

I tried this the other night and can attest to its effectiveness.

But even more than the suggestion itself, I loved Professor Walker’s analogy: “You’d never sit at the dinner table waiting to get hungry, so why would you lie in bed waiting to get sleepy?”