I’ve always struggled to sleep, says Jessica Salter in The Sunday Telegraph. I suffer from insomnia and have two babies, so rarely get more than five hours a night. In desperation, I checked in at the Savoy for a night, ordered room service and had a long bath. Knowing this “extreme solution” wasn’t sustainable in the long term, I also asked sleep expert Dr Rebecca Robbins for her tips.
Her main advice was to stick to a specific bedtime, allowing for eight hours’ sleep and a screen-free half-hour period for reading or meditation. She also said that if you do wake in the night, you should get out of bed and meditate in an armchair or on the floor. This should help you fall asleep 15 minutes quicker than just stewing in bed.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, at the Savoy I had my first full night’s sleep in more than a year. I texted my husband the next morning: “The solution is I have to move into a hotel.” He’d had a bad night with the children and wasn’t amused.
Laughter lessons can ease anxiety
Brighton Girls school is offering hour-long laughing sessions to ease post-lockdown anxiety, says The Times. They start with “a bar of laughing soap”, where pupils laugh and mime washing themselves with soap. Later they’ll laugh in the style of a Bond villain or a lawnmower.
It’s not funny, but it doesn’t have to be, says instructor Emma Jennings. “The laughter will be false… but the body cannot tell the difference between real and fake laughter, and all the benefits that laughter brings biochemically start to happen.” Besides, the absurdity of laughing yoga often “creates genuine, spontaneous laughter”.
The act of laughing reduces levels of cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, and triggers the release of endorphins, making you feel happier. Laughing with friends can also strengthen relationships. And this is one area in which children definitely outperform their parents: they laugh on average 400 times a day, while adults manage just 15.