Duérmete ya

Duerme. Duérmete ya, hijo mío. This little saying gives the lyrical basis for the Spanish translation of Sleepyhead, except stripped down to just “Duérmete ya”, an imperative translating as “Sleep now”, there is also a sense of urgency. This is appropriate, as a campaign to improve sleep would probably achieve greater benefit for public health than any other single intervention. The work of epidemiologist Francesco Cappuccio and colleagues over the last ten years and more has clearly established that sleep deprivation (where there is routinely less than 6 hours a night) significantly increases the risk of obesity (by 57%), hypertension

Donald Trump, basketball and the dangers of late-night tweeting

Donald Trump is famous for his late-night tweeting. Does this pattern of behaviour reduce his ability to perform during the day? He might be interested in research presented yesterday at the Sleep 2017 conference in Boston showing a correlation between late-night tweeting and the next-day game performance of professional basketball players. Over the course of six years, from 2009-2016, researchers drew data from the Twitter accounts of 90 National Basketball Association (NBA) players. In particular, they were interested in any athletes who made tweets between 11pm and 7am on the night before the game. On average, late-night tweeters scored fewer

The horrors of sleep deprivation

The definitive demonstration of the horrors of sleep deprivation appeared in a celebrated paper published by sleep research pioneer Allan Rechtschaffen and his colleagues in Science in 1983. They used rats. What nobody had managed until then was to design a set-up in which both experimental and control animals received exactly the same conditions but different amounts of sleep. The solution Rechtschaffen and co. came up with is as ingenious as it is disturbing. They installed a pair of rats in neighbouring cages. In the bottom of each cage was 3cm of water, but by standing on a record-player-like disk