Health

Sharpen your mind with a Siesta

I was talking to a medical colleague who had recently been to China. While there she had a conversation with some Chinese doctors about the types of complaints they encountered most often. When she asked how many patients complained of TATT (tired all the time) they looked blank. So she explained what she meant: "Ah," said the doctors, "You mean insomnia – yes that is very common here too".

So my usual advice to patients who suffer "insomnia" or TATT is to take a 30 minute nap in the middle of the day and see whether that helps. Interesting then to see that my homespun advice has had some degree of vindication in this trial reported by the BBC from the University of California. In their experiment, 39 healthy adults were given a hard learning task in the morning – with broadly similar results, before half of them were sent for their siesta.

When the tests were repeated, the nappers outperformed those who had carried on without sleep.