Virginia Black | Mar. 25, 2014 | South Bend Tribune
"The best cure for insomnia," W.C. Fields once wisecracked, "is to get a lot of sleep."
But many of us wish a blissful night's sleep were only that simple.
Jessica Payne, a sleep researcher and assistant professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, knows the feeling herself. She told a group at Chicory Cafe a few weeks ago as part of Science Cafe, a monthly sharing of science topics, that when she can't sleep, she gives up and gets some work done.
"Rather than ever lie awake in bed and trying and trying and trying to get back to sleep, the best thing you can do is to get out of the bed and the bedroom, even, so you don't learn to associate the bedroom in a fearful way," Payne tells the group. "You don't want to start to fear sleep, and that's a big part of what insomnia is."
Payne's research focuses on the importance of sleep, stress and memory. She describes the order of sleep in stages 1 through 5. The most active stage, rapid-eye movement, or REM, is when the brain is most active.