Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations BMJ Confidential

Michael Farquhar: Sleep, the best medicine

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 24 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k202
Duncan Smith


Michael Farquhar, 41, would like you to sleep better and is convinced that you can. Consultant in children’s sleep medicine at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, he argues that people have forgotten how crucial sleep is to physical and mental health. He instructs junior doctors that it may be better to rest than to act the hero—putting their own needs last and risking mistakes. He was inspired to become a paediatrician at age 8 after seeing doctors at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, save the life of his sister from epiglottitis.

What was your earliest ambition?

I watched the Space Shuttle Columbia’s first launch when I was 4, and I was determined to be an astronaut.

What was your best career move?

One that felt like a disaster at the time. I didn’t get a Scottish SpR (specialist registrar) post before Modernising Medical Careers came into effect, so—very reluctantly—I came to England to take up one of the last English paediatric SpR numbers. If I hadn’t I probably wouldn’t have pushed myself …

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