MOROCCO TO TIMBUKTU: AN ARABIAN ADVENTURE, BBC2, 9pm
WHO on earth is Alice? This new travel series is presented by Alice Morrison, a writer and explorer, and I was glad to have never heard of her. Often these shows are pinned to a celebrity whose staged exclamations at seeing the wonders of the world quickly become irritating.

Happily, Morrison is free of such celebrity affectations and takes her journey across North Africa seriously, speaking with the locals comfortably in Arabic and French. Think of her as a Sahara-trotting Mary Beard.

In the first of two programmes she is in Morocco and her route will follow the old “salt roads” along which ancient traders would journey, bringing salt from the Atlas Mountains. She’ll travel across the Sahara to see Timbuktu, the “legendary City of Gold” before it’s lost forever to “sand and war”, and she gamely makes her journey by train and camel, stopping to camp out with the nomadic Berbers.

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THE TRUTH ABOUT SLEEP, BBC1, 9pm
WE’RE supposed to spend one-third of our lives sleeping, but who has time for that?

Research shows we’re not getting enough sleep but this doesn’t just mean we wake up grouchy; it can have implications for our mental health and has been linked to the rise in diabetes and the obesity epidemic.

Michael Mosley, a chronic insomniac who wakes most mornings at 3am, presents this look at the current sleep research and speaks to experts who are frustrated at how little is being done to combat sleep deprivation.

So what can be done? We know about spritzing pillows with lavender, switching off smartphones, and trying to count sheep, but this show looks at the more surprising suggestions of eating more fibre, keeping the bedroom cold, and even having an espresso just before bed.