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Half the UK are struggling to sleep during lockdown, research finds

Have you been struggling?

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A new survey says that over half of the UK population is struggling with sleep during the lockdown. 

Research from King’s College London suggests that sleep problems are more common when people are facing financial hardship, something I think we can definitely all relate to. 

According to the research, two in five people have reported more vivid dreams, while some people have been sleeping for longer but not feeling rested.

The research took place via online interviews in late May with 2,254 UK residents aged between 16 and 75, and was carried out by Ipsos MORI and King’s College London. 

Kings College London

“As with so much about Covid-19, the crisis is affecting people very differently depending on their circumstances, and that includes the most fundamental aspects of life, such as sleep,” said Prof Bobby Duffy of King’s College London.

Nearly two-thirds of the public have reported a negative impact on their sleep showing just how unsettling the pandemic and lockdown measures have been on the public. 

As with most things, there are signs that this is having a disproportionate impact on particular groups; women, young people and those facing financial difficulties. 

Stephen Oliver / Unsplash

Disturbed sleep is often caused by stress and can itself increase stress levels, which creates a vicious cycle which is difficult to break, according to Dr Ivana Rosenzweig of Kings College. 

On the other hand, the report also highlighted that a quarter of the participants reported that they were sleeping more. 

Rosenzweig said that this demonstrates that: “as a society, we simply do not get the chance to sleep as much as we need, and that this pandemic is allowing some of us to rediscover the importance of sleep”.

Previous research has already been done to explain why some people were suffering from vivid dreams throughout lockdown. 

Many people across the world have reported not only having more vivid and weirder dreams, but being able to fully remember them when they had woken up.

Although there are many contributing factors that stem from the lockdown, the main one being increased stress and anxiety in general, especially regarding finances.

Other reasoning comes down to much more specific factors. For instance, being home more means are home are warmer, and when you’re warmer during sleep you naturally have more vivid dreams.

Cabin fever, lack of social contact, more monotonous life and lie-ins are all also contributing to our weird dreams. 

Damir Spanic / Unsplash

If you are struggling with sleep here are some main points from the NHS on how to get to sleep and tips on tackling insomnia:

  • Sleep at regular times – a good routine tricks the internal body clock
  • Make sure you wind down, for instance, take a bath
  • Make your bedroom a relaxing environment 
  • Keep a sleep diary
  • Increase exercise – getting active helps to relieve tension
  • Cut down caffeine
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Try relaxing before bed such as gentle yoga, meditation or a warm bath
  • Write your anxieties down before bed

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Energy bills set to rise even higher in worrying new prediction

Households will soon be faced with annual bills of over £4,000

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Energy bills are set to rise even higher than previously predicted, according to worrying new figures released today.

Energy consultancy firm Cornwall Insight has forecasted that the average household will be paying £3,582 a year, £200 higher from the £3,359 originally predicted earlier this month.

And from January, the amount is expected to rise even higher to £4,266 before continuing to rise in April to £4,427.

The previous forecast for April was £3,729 – that’s a rise of £650.

Cornwall insight said it had increased its forecast due to the continuing rise in wholesale prices and an expected change in methodology for how the energy price cap is calculated.

Dr. Craig Lowrey, principal consultant at Cornwall Insight, described the predicted increase in January as a ‘fresh shock’.

Read More: Ofgem boss issues warning to people planning energy bill boycott

He said: “The cost of living crisis was already top of the news agenda as more and more people face fuel poverty, this will only compound the concerns.”

However, Dr. Lowrey explained that without the more frequent changes to the price cap, more energy suppliers might be in danger of collapse.

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He said the change in how the price cap is calculated was necessary to prevent suppliers going bust, but added: “Rather than critiquing the methodology of the cap, it may be time to consider the cap’s place altogether.

“After all, if it is not controlling consumer prices, and is damaging suppliers’ business models, we must wonder if it is fit for purpose – especially in these times of unprecedented energy market conditions.

“It is essential that the government use our predictions to spur on a review of the support package being offered to consumers.

“If the £400 was not enough to make a dent in the impact of our previous forecast, it most certainly is not enough now.”

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Avanti West Coast slashes timetable and suspends ticket sales to Manchester ‘until further notice’

The disruption is expected to last for the rest of the month

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Avanti West Coast

Avanti West Coast has slashed its timetables and suspended ticket sales to Manchester ‘until further notice’.

The company said severe staff shortages caused by ‘unofficial strike action’ by ASLEF members is the reason for their reduced services, which are expected to be impacted for the rest of the month.

As a result of this, services will run on a reduced service, with trains between London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly being the worst affected.

Train frequencies between the capital and Manchester will be reduced to as few as one per hour, rather than the usual three.

There will be just four Avanti West Coast trains per hour from Euston travelling to Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham.

Avanti West Coast said that many passengers have experienced short-notice cancellations in recent weeks and they hope the reduced timetable will allow them to run a reliable service.

Ticket sales and closed reservations have also been suspended from August 14th to September 11th ‘to minimise the number of people disrupted’.

A statement from the company said: “From August 14th, until further notice, we will be introducing a reduced timetable on our services. This is due to the current industrial relations climate which has resulted in severe staff shortages in some grades through increased sickness levels, as well as unofficial strike action by ASLEF members.

“As a result of the above, including the majority of drivers declaring themselves unavailable for overtime, our customers have faced multiple short-notice cancellations on our network which has had a severe impact on their plans.

“The reduced timetable is being introduced to ensure a reliable service is delivered so our customers can travel with greater certainty. This decision was not taken lightly, and we are sorry for the enormous frustration and inconvenience this will cause.”

The company went on to urge rail unions to ‘engage in meaningful industry reform talks around modernising working practices and developing a railway fit for the 21st century’.

Their statement concluded: “If you’ve already booked to travel with us from August 14th onwards and your train is cancelled, your ticket will be accepted on the Avanti West Coast service before or after your original booked train.”

Alternatively, passengers can claim a full, fee-free refund from their point of purchase if they can no longer travel due to the amended timetable.

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‘Grease’ star Dame Olivia Newton-John has died aged 73

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Grease actress Dame Olivia Newton-John has died at the age of seventy-three.

A representative for the Cambridge-born actress confirmed the news tonight, saying Olivia ‘died peacefully at her ranch in Southern California Monday morning, surrounded by family and friends’.

Her death comes after a thirty-year-long battle with breast cancer.

Her husband John Easterling confirmed the news in a Facebook post on her official page, writing: “Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends.

“We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.

“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over thirty years sharing her journey with breast cancer.

“Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer.

“In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund (ONJFoundationFund.org).

“Olivia is survived by her husband John Easterling; daughter Chloe Lattanzi; sister Sarah Newton-John; brother Toby Newton-John; nieces and nephews Tottie, Fiona and Brett Goldsmith; Emerson, Charlie, Zac, Jeremy, Randall, and Pierz Newton-John; Jude Newton-Stock, Layla Lee; Kira and Tasha Edelstein; and Brin and Valerie Hall.”

Olivia was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and again in 2013, though she chose to keep her diagnosis private the second time around.

When she was diagnosed for the third time in 2018, she was informed the cancer had spread to the base of her spine. However, she remained optimistic and was determined to beat the disease with the help of her husband. 

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