Illustration of skeleton

Why do I get pins and needles?

Pins and needles is the name for a feeling like someone is jabbing your skin with pins and needles. One cause for this is that someone is actually jabbing your skin with pins and needles. More commonly, it happens when you sit in the same position for too long or lean on your arm for ages. If you put pressure on a nerve, it blocks the pathway between your brain and your foot or arm – you’ve essentially broken the Wi-Fi. Once you change position and the nerve can work again, it goes a bit haywire, causing pins and needles. Or paraesthesia, if you want to use its posh doctory name.

How much sleep do I need?

Someone your age generally needs between eight and ten hours of sleep. But everyone is different. Thomas Edison, who invented microphones, light bulbs and movie cameras, only slept for four hours a night – maybe he was too busy inventing stuff to have any time for napping. If you need some inspiration to get more Zzzzs, super-mega-genius Albert Einstein slept for ten hours a night.

Illustration of Thomas Edison in bed shielding his eyes from a lightbulb

What causes an ice cream headache?

Sometimes when you eat an ice cream or drink a really cold drink, you might get ‘brain freeze’ – a short, sharp, horrible headache that can really spoil your chocolate-chip cookie-dough raspberry-ripple supreme with multicoloured sprinkles and pieces of walnut. (Please check that you’re actually eating pieces of walnut, and not pieces of cerebellum.) You’ll be relieved to hear that it’s not actually your brain freezing. It’s because your nerves have got muddled and sent pain signals to your brain by accident when they were sensing cold temperatures. Stupid nerves.

Why do some people need wheelchairs?

There are lots of reasons why people get around using wheels instead of feet – for example, they might have had an injury to their spinal cord that means the nerves can’t travel down to their feet, so the brain’s messages can’t get through. Or they could have been born with a condition that affects their muscles (such as muscular dystrophy) or their nerves (such as cerebral palsy). They can go to school like everybody else, and when they’re older they can go to work and drive cars – everything really!

Listen to an exclusive extract from the Kay's Anatomy audiobook

  • Kay’s Anatomy

  • THE RECORD-BREAKING NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER FROM THE UK'S BESTSELLING NON-FICTION AUTHOR.

    Discover all the weird and wonderful things that go on inside your body with Adam Kay. Covers key stage 2 / 3 human biology syllabus (in a slightly repulsive way).

    'Hilarious and fascinating! I wish Adam had been my biology teacher' - Konnie Huq


    Do you ever think about your body and how it all works? Like really properly think about it? The human body is extraordinary and fascinating and, well . . . pretty weird. Yours is weird, mine is weird, your maths teacher's is even weirder.

    This book is going to tell you what's actually going on in there, and answer the really important questions, like:

    Are bogeys safe to eat? Look, if your nose is going to all that effort of creating a snack, the least we can do is check out its nutritional value. (Yes, they're safe. Chew away!)

    And how much of your life will you spend on the toilet? About a year - so bring a good book. (I recommend this one.)

    So sit back, relax, put on some rubber gloves, and let a doctor take you on a poo (and puke) filled tour of your insides. Welcome to Kay's Anatomy*.

    *a fancy word for your body. See, you're learning already.

    'The sort of book I would have loved as a child' - Malorie Blackman

    'Like listening to a teacher who makes pupils fall about' - The Times

    'Absolutely packed with facts... Entertaining and highly informative' - Daily Mail

    'As brilliant, and revolting, as the human body it celebrates' - The i newspaper

    'Totally brilliant!' - Jacqueline Wilson

    'If only this funny and informative book had been around when I was too embarrassed to teach my kids about bodily functions' - David Baddiel

  • Buy the book

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