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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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Around 20 people involved in mass brawl ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens

The violence spilled out into the street

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Magnus D / Flickr

A large group of people were involved in a mass fight ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens last night.

Around 20 people were caught up in the large brawl on Monday evening, and according to reports some were armed with knives.

The fight took place outside Morrisons on the end of Oldham Street, and happened around 9:30pm.

Witnesses reported seeing some of the suspects carrying knives, although police didn’t recover any from the scene, and busses were forced to stop as the violence spread out onto the road.

Peter McDermott / Geograph

Someone who witnessed the fight said on Twitter: “Piccadilly gardens is the roughest place on earth… a lovely night out helping ruined by a group of young kids kicking each others faces in”.

Officers responded to the incident, but no arrests were made or serious injuries reported.

This incident was the third of serious violence in just a few days.

Saturday afternoon saw another incident outside Morrisons in Piccadilly Gardens, in which a man was slashed in the face.

And on Sunday a brawl involving two tables at Barca bar in Castlefield happened, with some involved arming themselves with weapons like bar furniture and a baseball bat.

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Leading scientists call for end of face masks and social distancing by June

Do you agree?

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Leading scientists have written to the UK government calling for social distancing and face masks to be scrapped from June.

In total 22 scientists have signed the communication, saying that these measures should finish on June 22nd – the same date limits on social contact are set to be scrapped in England.

One of the scientists who has added their name to the letter is Dr Roland Salmon, the former director of the communicable disease centre in Wales.

Nickolay Romensky/Flickr

Dr Salmon told BBC Radio Wales: “I am not venting my frustration but I do think some dialogue is well overdue.

“I have always felt that there has been little credible evidence benefit for many of the measures that we take.”

According to him, the letter was written to encourage the government to focus on protecting vulnerable people rather than the masses as we move forward.

Dr Salmon said we need to deal with the ‘here and now’ when asked about the threat of variants, going on to add that the vaccine has shown it helps prevent severe disease and death.

He added: “We can’t stop living forever while we wait for things to happen”.

Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

Scientists who’ve signed the letter include Prof Robert Dingwall from Nottingham Trent University, who sits on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG). 

There’s also Prof Anthony Brookes, a geneticist and health data scientist at the University of Leicester, and Prof Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University.

The letter reads: “We are being told simultaneously that we have successful vaccines and that major restrictions on everyday life must continue indefinitely. Both propositions cannot be true.

“We need to give more weight to the data on the actual success of the vaccines and less to theoretical risks of vaccine escape and/or surge in a largely vaccinated population.”



It continues: “Covid-19 no longer requires exceptional measures of control in everyday life, especially where there have been no evaluations and little credible evidence of benefit.

“Measures to reduce or discourage social interaction are extremely damaging to the mental health of citizens; to the education of children and young people; to people with disabilities; to new entrants to the workforce; and to the spontaneous personal connections from which innovation and enterprise emerge.”

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Boris Johnson is regarded as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters

It follows weeks of allegations against the PM

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No10 / Flickr

According to a new poll Boris Johnson is seen as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters in Britain, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer seen as more trustworthy.

The poll from Ipsos MORI was shared by the Evening Standard, and comes after weeks of leaks and allegations about sleaze aimed at the prime minister.

The research found that Mr Johnson is trusted by just 35% of voters and deemed untrustworthy by 59%, while Sir Keir is seen as trustworthy by 42% and is untrusted by 41%.

No10 / Flickr

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: “On honesty Boris Johnson is clearly trumped by Keir Starmer, so this is an area of potential risk for him. 

“However, his own supporters still trust him, and the public overall have never seen it as one of his strongest attributes … and as previous leaders such as Tony Blair have shown, you don’t have to be ahead on trust to win elections. 

“The key question is whether and if these stories continue and start to change the public’s overall view on him as PM.”

No10 / Flickr

The poll was taken following weeks of reports about murky donations being used to refurbish the prime minister’s flat, as well as disclosures about covert lobbying.

However, it was undertaken before the most recent allegations that Mr Johnson said he’d rather see ‘bodies pile high’ than have another lockdown, so those reports won’t have been taken into consideration by those polled.

Despite all the recent controversy, the prime minister and government’s net satisfaction hasn’t changed much since March, with both Mr Johnson (44 satisfied/50 dissatisfied) and Sir Keir (36/46) having net negative ratings.

Ipsos MORI interviewed 1090 adults across the UK by telephone from April 16th to the 22nd – you can find full details here.

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