June 29, 2020 -- Sleep expert Rachel Manber, PhD, has seen the pervasive miseries of insomnia. Patients who are frustrated and fatigued tell her they toss in bed all night, seeking that elusive comfortable spot. Others give up evening outings or vacations to avoid messing up their sleep schedules. Still others get anxious at bedtime, pondering whether to take sleep medications or wind down with a nightcap.

But trying so hard to fall asleep works against you, says Manber, a professor of insomnia and behavioral sciences at Stanford University Medical Center and a behavioral sleep medicine specialist.

“When you talk to somebody who sleeps well and you ask them, ‘How do you sleep? How do you do that?’ they will likely look at you with blank eyes. They don’t do anything. Sleep is an automatic process,” she says.

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