“We must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from COVID,” Boris Johnson warned. The others nations of the UK – which have separate public-health regimes – took pointedly slower schedules.
But at about the same time as England’s unlocking, new daily cases started to plummet. It was the opposite of what many experts expected.
“This is a remarkably rapid decline and one that few anticipated,” said Martin McKee, professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told Bloomberg.
“Overall, it is a bit of a mystery.”
Soccer might have played a role in the spike
Although it is “really difficult” to know what drove the sharp rise in cases, “there does seem to have been a spike associated with the Euros,” McKee told Insider on Tuesday.
The England soccer team went all the way to the finals in the much-awaited championship. From June 11 to July 11, large crowds of supporters celebrated their teams in stadiums and pubs, a breeding ground for infections, prompting WHO experts to express concern.
The end of the championship allowed cases to fall, McKee said.
Summer, warm weather, and individual nerves about unlocking likely contributed to the rapid fall
The effects of lifting the restrictions might also not have been felt yet. A heatwave his the UK in July. The consequence is that there were likely fewer people drinking indoors, McKee said.
People also seem uncertain about going back to pre-pandemic habits.
“You can run some very simple models to see if the case numbers that we saw earlier this month are consistent with effective herd immunity,” Prof Mark Woolhouse of Edinburgh University, told the Observer.
“There are some big caveats but the bottom line is that those figures are consistent with the impact of herd immunity,” he said.
McKee thinks that this is “unlikely.” Cases are still rising in Israel, where vaccination levels are even higher, he noted.
Experts worry that problems will surface again in the fall, as children come back to school and the UK winter weather forces people indoors again.
But all in all, it is very difficult to know at this point what the future holds for the UK.
“At this point, I think it’s really hard to understand what has happened and what is going to happen in the long term,” John Edmunds, a professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, told the Observer.
“Specialize and pick your own niche,” is a piece of advice most entrepreneurs will have heard at some point throughout their careers, however, 29-year-old Tugrul Cirakoglu seems to really have taken it to heart.
In September 2014, after graduating and struggling to find work elsewhere, Cirakoglu started a cleaning company that started by cleaning up after parties, and has since progressed to tidying up after hoarders and clearing crime scenes, according to an interview he gave to Vice Nederland.
This specialty is referred to as “trauma cleaning”. Taking on the tough jobs that seemingly no one else wants to do seems to work out in Cirakoglu’s favor, at least financially, as according to his interview with Vice, he’s regularly called out to clean-up jobs that can earn him up to several thousand dollars a day.
The Amsterdam-based cleaner regularly posts images online to showcase his work. However, a word of warning that some of the images on his Instagram account make for graphic viewing that requires a strong stomach, so scroll his feed with discretion.
How it all started
For Cirakoglu, it all started with much more inoffensive work.
Though “student digs” and “post-house-party” scenes aren’t exactly renowned for being the cleanest places on Earth, they’re certainly not in the same ballpark as most of the jobs Cirakoglu comes across nowadays.
Five years ago, Cirakoglu had earned a Master’s degree in Management & International Business, yet he was still struggling to find a job.
A post shared by Schoonmaakbedrijf Frisse Kater (@frissekater) on Feb 8, 2017 at 8:03am PST
With a little over $300 in start-up capital, he founded his company, “Frisse Kater”. Though it initially focused on “deep-cleaning” after house parties, Cirakoglu soon started noticing that, the dirtier the job, the better they paid.
“The more extreme, the more lucrative,” appears to be the rule, according to the entrepreneur. It’s for this reason that Cirakoglu decided to focus purely on extreme and exceptionally dirty jobs.
He promises his customers such a thorough cleaning job, that it will be “as though nothing had ever happened”.
A post shared by Schoonmaakbedrijf Frisse Kater (@frissekater) on Feb 8, 2017 at 8:05am PST
Often, there are serious issues with hygiene in the homes Cirakoglu visits.
From hoarders who compulsively collect objects in their homes to the point where they’re drowning in clutter to people who soil themselves and their own homes, there are probably few things Cirakoglu hasn’t seen.
In May, a housing association asked Cirakoglu to shovel 150 kilograms of human feces out of a bathroom as residents had complained about the stench. Though the toilet had been clogged for some time, the resident had just continued to relieve themselves to the point where it had overflowed with waste and covered the floor.
A post shared by Schoonmaakbedrijf Frisse Kater (@frissekater) on Jun 19, 2019 at 1:00pm PDT
“In the end, the resident would simply go to the threshold of the bathroom and use the doorstep to relieve themselves,” Cirakoglu told Vice.
In 2017, Cirakoglu was called out to a job in Eindhoven, where it turned out that a large individual had passed away without anyone noticing. The death had remained “unattended” for five months, to the point where there was very little left in the way of discernable remains. The odor was so substantial that, when the police opened the windows, the guests in the hotel opposite were forced to leave.
The bodily fluids and human waste had spread over 10 square meters of floor space over the months. The house was in such an unimaginable state that the landlord was willing to pay the first price Cirakoglu offered in order to clean the house thoroughly.
A post shared by Schoonmaakbedrijf Frisse Kater (@frissekater) on Aug 18, 2017 at 12:50pm PDT
As well as places where incidents have occurred, Cirakoglu often attends to scenes where violent crimes have taken place. The cleaner explained that certain types of accidents or death entail more cleaning than others.
Heavier-duty jobs can cost up to $4,000
Cirakoglu divides his jobs into categories to ascertain a price. The “heavier” the category, the higher the price. For example, cleaning out 150 kilograms of human waste from an overflowing bathroom would fall into the heaviest category, costing around $4,000 a day, he told Vice.
Even for a job in the lightest category, you can easily make somewhere in the region of $2,000. Last year, Cirakoglu made nearly $300,000 in turnover and he thinks he can definitely increase that figure to $1 million a year.
He’s earned this enviable salary despite working in a field he was never trained for – he is self-taught and for four months, he read everything there was to find on the internet about the toughest cleaning jobs.
A post shared by Schoonmaakbedrijf Frisse Kater (@frissekater) on Aug 26, 2018 at 8:12pm PDT
He learned everything about cleaning up bodily fluids, which cleaning materials to use, as well as which disinfectants and which degreasers are the best for which jobs. From brushes and shovels to gloves and disposable overalls, he researched it all himself.
He didn’t have to go through any kind of inspection for a permit as there isn’t one for this sort of field, which Cirakoglu finds “weird”. The only licenses required are those for transporting medical waste, which can’t just be disposed of in normal trash receptacles. Otherwise, there are no other permits or laws, according to the self-made cleaning entrepreneur.
Hazardous air and blood
Not only is the work incredibly dirty; it can also be rather dangerous.
Cirakoglu explained that, when someone has passed away and their remains are left for a considerable period of time, their body begins to decompose and produces a sort of dust.
A post shared by Schoonmaakbedrijf Frisse Kater (@frissekater) on Aug 27, 2018 at 12:33pm PDT
As soon as you start sweeping or vacuuming, you start unsettling this dust and blowing it around into the surrounding air.
“If you breathe it in, you’re basically breathing in parts of the deceased person. You can get contract all sorts of diseases from that,” he told Vice. He also warned that you need to be careful with blood – even if blood from a deceased person has been around for some time, there’s still a risk of infection.
Customers pay a danger premium for these kinds of jobs
When Cirakoglu gets called out, he goes armed with special equipment like special vacuum cleaners equipped with heavy filters that prevent bacteria from being blown into the air. The equipment also comes at a hefty price – according to Cirakoglu, this type of cleaner can cost up to $1,600.
The extreme situations in which the cleaner finds himself aren’t what stop him in his tracks; it isn’t the dirt or the graphic scenes but the devastating story behind each one.
A post shared by Schoonmaakbedrijf Frisse Kater (@frissekater) on Sep 7, 2018 at 1:37am PDT
“I don’t find it shocking that people are murdered; that’s been happening for as long as we can remember. What surprises me is the prevalence of loneliness and mental health problems in the Netherlands,” he told Vice, highlighting the fact that the notion of a person willing to use a clogged bathroom for months on end is in stark contrast to the beautiful image of the Netherlands often painted out.
“You ask yourself how someone can lie dead in his home for five months unnoticed without anyone caring,” reflected Cirakoglu. “It’s then that you really start to notice that the Netherlands is actually one of the most individualistic countries in the world.”
Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet venture has secured a license to construct a satellite ground station on the Isle of Man, which will provide “blanket coverage” across Great Britain, the Telegraph reports.
Starlink, part of of Musk’s SpaceX, has filed an application with the communications regulator for the Isle of Man to improve its broadband coverage for rural areas in northern Britain that cannot be reached by fiber broadband or 5G internet, the newspaper reported.
By transmitting from a station on the island, which is west off the coast of northern Britain, Starlink can capitalize on the island’s less crowded airwaves so their signal can reach these rural broadband holes, the Telegraph said.
Starlink already has established satellite bases in Buckinghamshire and Cornwall. With the three ground stations and its network of satellites in orbit, the company is expected to beam down full broadband coverage for all of the UK, it said.
The internet service would compete with other British broadband companies in Britain, particularly the UK government-owned OneWeb, which also works with a low Earth orbit satellite network.
SpaceX is looking to provide Starlink satellite internet globally by this September and connecting in-flight internet service. The company has been working on launching 42,000 Starlink satellites into orbit by 2027 to support its global broadband signal.
Starlink launched a UK limited test service earlier this year, charging £89 ($123) a month, plus £439 ($610) for a satellite dish, according to the Telegraph. More than 500,000 people have placed an order for Starlink internet, Musk said in May.
Ofcom, the UK’s communication regulator, said last week it is updating the terms and process for obtaining licenses for low-orbit satellites, like the ones Starlink uses, and were halting any current or new applications. However, the regulators said they were in the final stages of issuing one license that was developed with their proposed guideline. Ofcom did not comment on who filed the application.
Starlink could not be reached by the time of publication.
A former stockbroker has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for assaulting two cruise passengers during a late-night buffet on the vessel, MailOnline reported.
Paul Evans, 45, and his wife, Tabatha Young, 43, became angry after another family on board the P&O’s Royal Britannia ship requested that the couple stop swearing in front of their children as they dined, the report said.
This led to an altercation, during which Evans assaulted the woman’s husband and another passenger as part of a “brutal attack,” the report said.
Evans, who was reportedly intoxicated, punched and kicked the men as if he were “taking a penalty,” the Metro reported.
Young, a YouTube personality who interviews boxers, was also involved in the violence, the report said.
The ship was traveling to Southampton, UK, from Bergen, Norway, on July 26, 2019. A P&O Cruises spokesman told the Metro: “We will not tolerate disruptive behavior on board our ships.”
Evans, of Clayhill, Essex, was charged with two counts of assault causing actual bodily harm. He told the court he was acting in self-defense but a judge at Southampton Crown Court said “there was no need for defensive force,” reports said.
Young pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm and cried as she was handed a nine-month jail sentence, MailOnline reported. She was ordered to complete 180 hours of community service.
Detective Constable Lisa Robins told the Metro: ”Nobody should have to tolerate inappropriate and abusive language or behavior.”
“Having a few drinks does not excuse criminal behavior, in any setting,” she added.
But in the UK, where 71.8% of the population is fully vaccinated, the new surge is not bringing the same death toll as past coronavirus waves.
The UK government’s coronavirus dashboard features daily counts of positive COVID-19 tests and deaths. A comparison of those two data sets shows how the relationship between infections and deaths has changed over time.
Throughout July, the ratio of deaths to cases in the UK has remained much lower than it was at any prior point of the pandemic.
In the early days of the UK’s first wave last spring, the ratio of deaths to cases shot up. Similarly, in the wave seen last winter, that ratio rose notably again.
The UK’s latest surge began in June. By July 1, the seven-day average of new cases had grown to nearly six times what it was on June 1. The new wave is producing almost as many daily cases as the surge the UK saw in January. But deaths have not risen nearly as much.
The low ratio is probably because of vaccines, which have proven highly effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalizations, and deaths.
A UK study found that two doses of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines were 88% and 67% effective, respectively, at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 from the Delta variant – the UK’s dominant strain.
Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have both said that lab tests suggest their vaccines are also highly effective against Delta, though peer-reviewed research on those shots’ real-world effectiveness in the face of Delta has not yet been published.
Overall, the effectiveness of widespread vaccination is evident in the UK’s shrinking ratio of deaths to cases over time. In early February, just 1% of the UK population was fully vaccinated, and about 25% of the population had received one dose. During that time, the UK counted an average of five deaths for every 100 new cases.
Now that the UK is 71.8% vaccinated against COVID-19 – and 88.4% of people have received at least one dose – the death-to-cases ratio is nearly zero.
The moment something unforeseen happens, many of us tend to slip into negative thinking habits.
Not only do these thinking patterns drag you down when it comes to achieving your goals – they can, in extreme cases, be detrimental to your health.
“Humans are very creative when it comes to finding new ways of thinking unconstructively and unrealistically,” explained psychologist Elke Overdick. “But in my experience, these nine – with which I enjoy working very much – are the most common.”
In cognitive-behavioral therapy, all thinking traps have one thing in common. As a general rule, they don’t meet the criteria for appropriate thinking:
Thinking should be realistic.
They should be helpful.
That may sound pretty obvious but it’s hard to ensure all your thoughts always fulfill these two criteria.
Take perfectionism or people-pleasing as examples: neither thought pattern is realistic or helpful and yet many of us fall into these thinking traps. Unfortunately, by the time we notice, it’s usually too late.
“To be honest, I’ve never met anyone, myself included, who isn’t affected by thinking traps,” said Overdick.
In an interview with Insider, she explained how you can manage or even rid yourself of these negative thinking patterns.
Being an overly harsh critic
Self-deprecation can be very damaging.
“I think it’s the worst thinking trap of them all,” said Overdick.
If you keep telling yourself you’re not likable or loveable, that means you’re focusing single-mindedly on your weaknesses.
“And if you only look at your weaknesses,” she said, “then, of course, it will be hard to like yourself because you’re not picking up on your strengths or your potential.”
How to get out of the thinking trap
If you’re doing the above, are your thought patterns reasonable? Probably not.
“If you have friends or there are people in your family who enjoy spending time with you, that’s evidence that, realistically, you have positive or lovable qualities”.
As well as bearing this in mind, it might also be helpful to make a list of your own positive qualities.
If, on the other hand, it’s your work you’re devaluing and you genuinely believe you aren’t good enough for your job, you need to bear in mind that companies are always thinking about how to fill vacancies.
When negative thoughts enter your head, actively try to remind yourself to be realistic by saying “I am lovable” or “I make an important contribution”.
“Anxious thoughts can be rational and, to a certain extent, serve an important purpose,” said Overdick.
“If we’re afraid or worried, we may be able to better prepare ourselves for or avoid situations that endanger us — however, if the thoughts get out of hand and become unrealistic, you’ve fallen into a thinking trap.
How to get out of the thinking trap
Overdick likes to work with five questions against fears and inhibitions. These questions can help bring your fearful thoughts down to a realistic level and work as a good guard against catastrophic thinking. Here they are:
1. What’s the worst that could happen?
2. What can I do to prevent “the worst that could happen”?
3. How likely is it the worst thing will happen?
4. What can I do if the worst thing does happen?
5. What will it mean for my future if the worst thing happens?
If you take a moment to answer these questions, you may find that the problem is not as bad as you’d previously thought and, equally, that the worst-case scenario isn’t either.
Rather than worrying, try saying to yourself: “I can handle it” or “There is always a way”.
Taking on too much responsibility
Do you sometimes feel responsible for things that are out of your hands? Do you often feel like you want to influence things you can’t change?
That’s a sign you have a tendency to take on too much responsibility.
While it may sound a positive trait, unfortunately, your behavior can also have a negative impact on others, as Overdick explains: “People in this thinking trap sometimes tend to incapacitate others without intending to and, obviously, with no malicious intent at all — but not delegating tasks to others might prevent those people from learning something and progressing themselves.”
How to get out of the thinking trap
Sometimes you can take the time to ask yourself whether something is really your job, or you can ask yourself whether you can actually influence a situation.
Remind yourself: “That’s not my job”, “I have no influence over this” or “I’ll let another person do this for their own development”.
Dealing only in absolutes
We all have values and standards we adhere to in life.
People who fall into the trap of absolute demands, “musts”, and “shoulds” find it very important to adhere to these values — perhaps even to an exaggerated degree.
“If someone doesn’t adhere to your standards and you can’t accept that, you’ll end up angry. Often we forget that our values aren’t universal.”
How to get out of the thinking trap
Unfortunately, you have to face the facts: you are not the measure of all things.
“Sometimes it’s also good to be in others’ shoes. Other people have different rules that may be just as good and valuable to them as yours are to you,” Overdick explains. “The trick to managing this trap lies in accepting that there are basically no universal values and standards.”
Values and standards are subjective — they vary from person to person and are influenced by things like upbringing, culture, religion, and education.
Alternatives thoughts for when you find yourself stuck in the “must” or “should” mindset are “I am not the measure of all things” or “standards and values are subjective”.
Salvador Dali once said: “Have no fear of perfection — you’ll never reach it.”
Perfectionists expect themselves and others to be perfect and end up failing massively.
“It’s unrealistic and unattainable,” said Overdick.
However, perfectionism shouldn’t be confused with striving to improve.
It’s useful to strive to better oneself so you can develop, progress, and be successful. Perfectionism, on the other hand, is not.
“If you don’t allow yourself to make mistakes, you aren’t just putting yourself under a lot of pressure; you can’t develop any further either because, without mistakes, you can’t learn.
How to get out of the thinking trap
The goal should be to see the positive in mistakes and to accept one’s own mistakes, as well as those of others.
“Mistakes are a learning experience and help you to progress. They teach you how to do things differently and how to get closer to your goals.
Instead of looking into the past with an “Oh God, how could I have done that” mentality, Overdick said it’s more productive to think of the future and say to yourself: “Okay, that went badly and I did it wrong. Next time I’ll do it better.”
Alternatives phrases to say to yourself include “mistakes get me ahead in the long-run”, “mistakes are human” or even “mistakes make me likable”.
“After all, nobody wants to be around someone perfect all the time,” said the psychologist.
Can you think of a single well-known public figure who has ever managed to be liked by everyone?
The Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, or Gandhi? Marilyn Monroe and John Lennon?
While all these people were admired by many, they were by no means liked by everyone. This is demonstrative of how unrealistic it is to aim to be liked by everyone.
How to get out of the thinking trap
“I think it’s very important to remind yourself that you don’t like everyone,” said Overdick.
“Whether or not someone likes you depends on so many different factors, over which you simply often have no influence at all. For example, what does the person I’m trying to impress like? If he likes tall blonds, I can’t change that I’m small and dark-haired.”
Alternatives things you can say to yourself include “It’s enough if my friends like me”, “I don’t like everyone either” or “I don’t have to be popular, it’s enough if people respect me”.
Your telephone provider doesn’t need to like you; it’s enough if you get what you need.
Trying to mind-read
Sometimes it can be as little as a glance or an ambiguous comment — those who get caught up in attempting to mind-read end up interpreting others’ actions or remarks as being directed against themselves, which leads to a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.
How to get out of the thinking trap
Is your thinking rational and accurate? Probably not if you’re trying to read someone’s mind.
Maybe there’s a completely different reason for the behavior you’ve picked up on.
For example, could it have something to do with the fact that the other person is stressed or under pressure? Is there a reason for his behavior that has nothing to do with you?
Counter-thoughts at times when you find yourself worrying about what someone else is thinking might include: “This behavior isn’t necessarily intended for me” or “It’s their issue; not mine”.
Do you often find yourself saying: “Everyone else is to blame, not me”?
People who think like that are usually over-simplifying, according to Overdick.
“On the one hand it’s easy to cede responsibility; on the other hand — and this is the big disadvantage of this thinking trap — you end up losing sight of your own potential to influence a situation, as well as opportunities to develop yourself.”
How to get out of the thinking trap
Question the extent to which you’ve contributed to a situation.
Do you always get handed pointless, thankless tasks at work?
Well, had you ever stopped to think that, perhaps, you failed to mention that these tasks are a waste of time?
Have you ever asked to do something else? If not, then why aren’t you thinking about what you can do to change the situation?
If you can’t solve the problem alone, you can also get help — for example from a colleague, by talking to your manager or, in extreme cases, by talking to HR.
Remember to say to yourself “There’s always something I can do” or to ask yourself “How can I do something to change this?” before you start pointing fingers.
Kidding yourself when it comes to over-indulgence
Sometimes it’s okay to indulge a little, but it can become problematic when you delude yourself into thinking something that isn’t all that good for you is somehow beneficial: it can prevent you from achieving your goals in the longterm.
“It’s good not to focus on goals and achievements constantly but, in the long run, continually indulging and focusing on things that distract you from what matters are actually good for you is obviously an ineffective approach,” said the psychologist.
“Unfortunately, as humans, we function in such a way that we want short term gratification but aren’t always prepared for the long term negative consequences. Take gambling addiction or food binges as an example: we’re looking for quick and immediate pleasure and, at the time, prefer to ignore the long-term negative consequences, like financial loss and weight gain.”
How to get out of the thinking trap
“I think the same logic can be applied here as for those who victimize themselves — you just need a bit of a kick up the behind,” said Overdick.
In general, it’s good to question yourself, to be critical, and to ask again and again what longterm drawbacks you may experience by seeking short term enjoyment. In that way, you can stop to consider what to do about it.
“It’s better to intervene with yourself as soon as possible.”
Useful affirmations such as “I can stand up for my own goals” may help you to stop and consider what needs to be done.
Practical tips to avoid thinking traps
Thinking traps wouldn’t be so awful if we were able to recognize them and nip them in the bud immediately. Unfortunately, it’s usually only the case that we recognize the symptoms once they’re really getting out of hand.
One thing you can do to challenge your own thinking traps is to look for a “sparring partner”, which is basically someone who supports you using their own experience and knowledge — particularly any knowledge and experience that’s relevant to you.
“This can be anyone from a family member or partner to a good friend or colleague, and it can also be a coach or a therapist,” said Overdick, “as long as it isn’t someone who’ll be easily satisfied with your first answer.”
Another method is to write “counter-thoughts” on a small card and place them somewhere where you’ll look often during the day. It could be your wallet, your desk, or the front door — or you can also use a symbolic object.
“In psychology, we refer to these objects as ‘anchors’ — a new way of thinking ‘anchored’ into a postcard, a shell from a nice beach or a pretty piece of jewelry. The object itself is less important — it’s more important that you put it in a place where it will always actively remind you to think of the alternative.”
This is a great technique for those thoughts that resurface when you least expect them to, according to Overdick, “because they hit you even harder”.
It’s especially important that you’re reminded over and over again: you don’t adopt a new way of thinking overnight simply by flipping a switch. It takes a lot of repetition to get rid of your old thinking patterns.
“It’s like learning to play the piano — it’s not enough just to understand how a piece works; you need to consolidate what you learn through repetition and practice.”
“He’s a wonderfully creative person, but he shouldn’t be getting very little sleep,” Richard Branson once said, referring to Elon Musk’s late-night tweeting escapades.
Branson isn’t the only one who thinks Musk could benefit from similar advice.
“Entrepreneurs, athletes, and other high performers desperately need good sleep,” Floris Wouterson told Insider, claiming that sleep is even more important than eating or exercising well.
Author of the book “Superslapen,” Wouterson is the first self-proclaimed “sleep performance coach” in Europe.
“Although, that’s not exactly hard, considering I came up with the term myself,” he told Insider. “I’ve been researching everything I could find on optimal sleep for years.”
He then started coaching, with athletes and top managers claiming to benefit greatly from Wouterson’s approach. Wouterson, based in Flanders, Belgium, comes from an entrepreneurial family himself and since 2002, his wife has set up a number of sleeping comfort stores.
Over the past sixteen years, Wouterson spoke to thousands of customers and became increasingly intrigued by sleep, as he too had struggled with poor sleep for a period of time.
According to Wouterson, the consequences of bad sleep are hugely underestimated. “Fatigue, irritability, loss of concentration, forgetfulness… it works against you in your work as well as in your relationships. The risk of injuries or accidents also increases by 40%.”
The long-term effects of bad sleep can also be severe – depression and burn-out can take hold if you don’t relax. Here are the five tips Wouterson gave Insider to become a super-sleeper.
1. Forget the “eight hours of sleep is a must” myth
According to Wouterson, this rigid notion that you must sleep for eight hours can actually cause sleep stress.
“If you think you should sleep eight hours every night, it can work against you,” said the expert. Lying awake and staying in bed because you have to reach eight hours in bed is illogical according to Wouterson.
You have to find your own sleep rhythm, go to sleep at a fixed time, and get up at a fixed time as much as possible. “Don’t stay lying down – it’s a misconception that sleep will come naturally.”
2. Don’t believe stories about super-short sleep
Stories about CEOs or politicians who only need a few hours of sleep make them sound tough, but according to Wouterson, only a small percentage of people can genuinely cope with little sleep.
It’s possible to train to temporarily sleep less, he said. Wouterson coached Sanne Haarhuis, a pilot in hot-air balloon competitions, to regulate her sleeping pattern and endure heavy, multi-day races with a minimum of sleep. Wouterson also sees top athletes who can quickly refuel with napping.
“You can recharge your batteries with a 12-minute power nap for two hours,” said the sleep expert however, you have to wake up in time before you sink into a very deep sleep.
According to Wouterson, you can achieve this by, for example, holding a bunch of keys in your hand while taking a short nap. “As soon as you sink too deeply, your hand relaxes, the keys fall to the ground and you’re awake again.”
3. Small steps bring about big changes
Wouterson is convinced there isn’t just one quick fix to sleep better; there are several areas that demand your attention.
“80% of the five main sleeping problems are learned,” he said. You can achieve an enormous amount by taking small steps to alter your diet, exercise, and sleep routine, for example.
But self-examination, looking at your own attitude to sleep, is perhaps most important according to Wouterson.
4. Eat well and take a break from your phone
Eating and resting your head are two things that require extra attention when it comes to ensuring a good night’s sleep.
Wouterson said to choose healthy food and to be careful with carbohydrates, sugar, and alcohol, adding: “A good night’s sleep starts on your plate.”
Letting your mind drift is one thing but, of course, brooding and pondering won’t help if you want to sleep – negative media reports about “the state of affairs in the world” can keep you feeling worrisome, tossing and turning.
Wouterson advises you to focus on your own circle of influence – what are some challenges in your life you can influence yourself? Focus mainly on those things and try not to keep worrying too much about problems you can’t do much about.
A media diet can bring peace – make sure to put your smartphone away in the evening, a few hours before you go to sleep.
5. Employers should see their employees’ sleep as an investment
Keep going, slog away, work through lunch, soldier on, stay an extra hour – it may seem logical to squeeze as much as you can out of your employees but it’s actually counterproductive, according to Wouterson.
Businesses may see a drastic improvement in the performance of their employees when they’ve slept better. The number of mistakes decreases, while better decisions will take the company further.
“As an employer, you don’t exactly want to be in your employees’ bedrooms, but offering sleep training or sleeping facilities can actually be a good investment,” said Wouterson.
According to the sleep performance coach, this is already a common phenomenon in Japan.
“Self-confessed vaccine skeptic until he caught Covid, if he could turn back time he would,” Cheyne wrote. “Our sickest patients are unvaccinated & under 40. Matthew is fighting for his life … save yours.”
He had shared a photograph of a positive lateral flow test on Facebook on July 2, saying he felt “like I been hit by a truck,” adding the hashtag #covidisreal. His subsequent posts said he was self-isolating.
The Speak In Club, a mental health support group, described Keenan as “genuinely one of the nicest people you will ever meet and the life and soul of everything,” adding: “He lit up everywhere he stepped.”
As of June – the latest data available from the UK’s Office of National Statistics – around 4% of the UK population expressed some hesitancy around the COVID-19 vaccine, with 96% feeling positive about it.
But a vocal minority of skeptics have held numerous protests involving high-profile conspiracy theorists.
On Sunday, David Icke – proponent of the anti-semitic “Illuminati” conspiracy theory – along with Piers Corbyn, an anti-vaxxer and brother of former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn – joined thousands in a protest in central London, as Insider’s Bethany Dawson reported.
Keenan’s positive test came as UK cases were rising steeply, They peaked at more than 50,000 per day by July 17, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Two days later, almost all COVID-19 restrictions were removed on what was dubbed “Freedom Day.”
The country’s cases had since declined for six days in a row as of Tuesday.
The UK’s daily coronavirus cases are falling almost quickly as they rose earlier this summer.
During the first two weeks of July, average daily cases there jumped 80%, peaking at nearly 55,000 on July 17. That’s close to the levels recorded during the worst days of the UK’s winter outbreak, when vaccines weren’t yet widely available.
But cases have dropped dramatically in the last week, down to just 25,000 cases on Monday, as shown in the chart below.
UK COVID-19 cases over the last month
Experts, though surprised, have a few theories as to what happened. A recent decline in testing could be one factor: The UK administered 9% fewer tests this week than it did three weeks prior, and testing overall has declined since mid-March.
“A lot of the people who are becoming symptomatic are becoming more mildly symptomatic because they’re younger people or they’re people who have been vaccinated,” Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, told CNBC on Monday. “So those people aren’t presenting for testing.”
But a likelier explanation, according to other experts, is a combination of warm weather – which encourages people to spend less time indoors – and fewer public gatherings.
The Euro 2020 soccer championship, which ended two weeks ago, may have temporarily driven up UK cases, since the semifinals were held at London’s Wembley Stadium on July 6 and 7, then the finals on July 11. Many schools also closed for summer holidays last week.
Additionally, the recent spike in cases may have prompted more people to self-isolate, either to avoid getting sick or because they had known exposure to someone with COVID-19.
The UK’s promising trajectory may bode well for the US
There’s no guarantee that the UK’s downward case trend will last, however, especially since most social distancing restrictions lifted on July 19. Since then, venues like restaurants, clubs, and festivals have reopened. Official case numbers generally reflect the spread of infections two weeks prior, due to the virus’ incubation period and the time it takes to get tested, get results, and see those results reported to health authorities.
“Today’s figures do not of course include any impact of last Monday’s end of restrictions,” Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, told the BBC. “It will not be until about next Friday before the data includes the impact of this change.”
So it’s possible that case totals will tick up again starting next week. Still, vaccines should continue to prevent fully immunized people from becoming severely ill. New research suggests that two doses of Pfizer’s or AstraZeneca’s vaccine are 88% and 67% effective, respectively, at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 from the Delta variant – the UK’s dominant strain.
The UK’s promising trajectory may even bode well for other highly vaccinated counties like the US, where cases are surging.
“If the UK is turning the corner, it’s a pretty good indication that maybe we’re further into this than we think,” Gottlieb told CNBC. “Maybe we’re two or three weeks away from starting to see our own plateau here in the United States.”