175. How to Sleep Better with Rafael Pelayo

Sleep is a hot topic right now, and many health experts argue your sleep is as important as eating well and exercising for your mental and physical health. Sleep medicine research has advanced a lot, and there is new information about what it is and why we do it, and strategies that work for insomnia. We can all rest easy because in this episode of Psychologists Off the Clock, co-host Diana is joined by one of the top experts — Dr. Rafael Pelayo from Stanford Health Care Sleep Medicine Center. In this episode, Dr. Pelayo, author of How to Sleep, provides an overview of sleep, sleep’s function, and strategies to help you get a better night’s rest tonight. Get cozy, and join us to take a deep dive into the world of sleep and change yours for the better!


Listen and Learn:


  • The different stages, the cycles within the stages, and what happens when any of those are interrupted
  • What the function of dreams might be
  • The indications of remembering (or not remembering) your dreams 
  • What happens when we experience insomnia and how to put it to bed
  • How our phones (or, as Dr. Pelayo calls them, our handheld computers) are impacting our sleep and what to do about it
  • What to do when you wake up in the night (Hint: It’s not what you think!)
  • How to get your kids to fall asleep and stay in bed
  • Dr. Pelayo’s expert opinion on co-sleeping
  • About Diana and Dr. Pelayo’s personal experiences with winding down before bedtime
  • What to look for and when it’s the right time to visit a specialist 
  • Why you should probably go visit a doctor if your snoring every night


Sleep Resources:



About Rafael Pelayo, MD:


Dr. Rafael Pelayo


Dr. Rafael Pelayo, author of How to Sleep, is a clinical professor at Stanford University where he co-authored the textbook for and continues to teach the popular Sleep and Dreams undergraduate course (where you may get squirted with a water gun for sleeping!). Since 1993, he has worked with the Stanford Health Care Sleep Medicine Center. His initial exposure to sleep medicine was as a medical student working with Dr. Michael Thorpy at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He joined the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic in 1993 as a fellow and never left. In 2013, he was appointed as a clinical professor at the Sleep Medicine division of the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stanford University. Dr. Pelayo’s clinical focus has been the treatment of sleep disorders in patients of all ages. He has lectured nationally and internationally and has appeared frequently in television, radio, and print. He has served as chair of the Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board of the National Center for Sleep Disorders Research at the National Heart Lung Blood Institute at the NIH. He has also chaired the pediatric special interest section of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. You can find out more about Dr. Pelayo on his Stanford profile or at the California Sleep Society webpage




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Episode 175