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William Leggett receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Dr. William Leggett.

William Leggett, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology and Queen's 17th principal, has received the H. Ahlstrom Lifetime Achievement Award from the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society for his contributions to the fields of larval fish ecology.

The American Fisheries Society is the biggest association of professional aquatic ecologists in the world, with over 9,000 members worldwide.

"œIt feels good to be singled out by such large group of people who I respect so highly," says Dr. Leggett. "œI didn'™t expect to receive this award so it'™s a big honour and thrill to get it."

Dr. Leggett'™s research focuses on the dynamics of fish populations and his work as a biologist and a leader in education has been recognized nationally and internationally. A membership in the Order of Canada, a fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada, and the Award of Excellence in Fisheries Education are just some of the awards he has received for outstanding contributions to graduate education and marine science.

The Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society recognized Dr. Leggett'™s "œexceptional contributions to the understanding of early life history of fishes that has inspired the careers of a number of fisheries scientists worldwide and has led to major progress in fish ecology and studies of recruitment dynamics."

The award was recently presented in Quebec City at the 38th annual Larval Fish Conference held in conjunction with the 144th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.


Easy-to-build ventilators

A team of Canadian physicists, led by Queen’s Nobel Laureate Art McDonald, is part of an international effort to design a ventilator to help in the treatment of COVID-19.

Arthur McDonald
Nobel Laureate Art McDonald and other Queen’s physics researchers are working as part of an international team developing a ventilator that can be certified and manufactured with off-the-shelf parts. (University Communications)

A team of Canadian physicists, including Nobel Laureate Art McDonald and other Queen’s physics researchers, are part of an international team working to develop a robust, easy-to-manufacture ventilator that can be certified and manufactured with off-the-shelf parts from established supply chains.

Nobel Prize
Queen’s Professor Emeritus, Dr. Art McDonald was co-recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery that neutrinos, essential building blocks of the Universe, have mass. He is partnering with the nation’s leading particle and nuclear physics laboratories, SNOLAB, TRIUMF and Canadian National Laboratories, to lead the Canadian arm of the Mechanical Ventilator Milano project.

The ventilator design leverages the collaborators’ collective expertise in the design of gas-handling and electronic control systems used in the search for dark matter, the mysterious substance which makes up more than 80 per cent of the universe. The original design and prototypes were led by Dr. Cristiano Galbiati, a Princeton professor and collaborator on Italy’s DarkSide (Global Argon Dark Matter Collaboration) experiment in response to that country’s desperate need for ventilators.

Now a multi-national project, the Mechanical Ventilator Milano collaboration aims to design, develop, build and certify a simple mechanical ventilator system that provides a controlled supply of oxygen and air to COVID-19-stricken patients.  Importantly, the mechanical, control, and display systems are constructed from readily available parts, aiding rapid manufacture that can be adopted in different countries.

“The goal is to develop a ventilator model to meet current needs that can be constructed quickly and reliably in Canada and in other countries,” says Dr. Art McDonald, Professor Emeritus (Physics, Engineering Physics, and Astronomy) at Queen’s University and 2015 Nobel Laureate. “This project is an example of how we can harness the capacity and talent of the Canadian nuclear and particle physics community at SNOLAB, TRIUMF, and the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories to help combat COVID-19 with our international partners.”

With Dr. McDonald, the Canadian partners, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, SNOLAB and TRIUMF, have joined an international group of researchers from Italy, the EU and US, working: to develop a common international standard for the machine, modify the design in collaboration with medical clinicians, test the viability of the device in medical environments, secure certifications through national health agencies, and partner with governments and manufacturers to support mass production.

Today, in his daily media briefing, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, highlighted the project as one of the key examples of how Canadian researchers are working together to provide effective and creative solutions to supply shortages in the COVID-19 pandemic.  The project was also recently highlighted in a Globe and Mail article, Nobel Laureate leads push for simple made-in-Canada ventilator.

The project continues to evolve. The Gazette will continue to follow this project and keep the Queen’s community updated on progress and further developments. Please visit the Mechanical Ventilator Milano website for more information.

Ventilator design
The Mechanical Ventilator Milano collaboration aims to design, develop, build and certify a simple mechanical ventilator system that provides a controlled supply of oxygen and air to COVID-19 patients.


Queen’s researcher Pascale Champagne honoured by Professional Engineers Ontario

Canada Research Chair Pascale Champagne has been recognized for her outstanding contributions to engineering research and development

Queen’s researcher Pascale Champagne (Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering) has been awarded the 2020 Engineering Medal in the Research and Development category from Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO). Presented in partnership with the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, the Ontario Professional Engineers Awards recognize those who have made outstanding contributions to their profession and their community.

"I feel humbled to have been recognized by the PEO and fellow Engineers for the long-term impact of my research and developments to the profession," says Dr. Champagne. "My research has focused on achieving sustainable development, including low energy and low impact eco-engineered systems for the treatment of wastewater, as well as using renewable resources in the creation of novel production of bioenergy, biofuels and bio-products. It is always wonderful to be recognized for something that you are passionate about and I feel privileged to have received this award."

Dr. Champagne is the Canada Research Chair in Bioresources Engineering and the Director of Queen’s Beaty Water Research Centre (BWRC). Her research investigates sustainable wastewater treatment strategies for downstream recovery of biofuels. This research will lead to better bioresource management and contribute to a new generation of technologies for treating waste, residuals, and biomass feedstocks. Under her direction, the interdisciplinary BWRC supports research under the four themes of water governance, use, resources, and quality.

Working with Queen’s researchers Michael Cunningham (Chemical Engineering, Chemistry), Philip Jessop (Chemistry) and Warren Mabee (Geography and Planning, School of Policy Studies), Dr. Champagne was also recognized with the NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize in 2019. Given annually to only one research team across Canada, the award supports the team’s research in enhancing the value and sustainability of our natural renewable resources through collaboration.

As well, Dr. Champagne was recently inducted as a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering to recognize her distinguished achievements and career-long service to the engineering profession.

For more information about her research, listen to Dr. Champagne’s episode of Blind Date with Knowledge, a Research@Queen’s podcast.

Library’s virtual doors open to students, researchers

Queen’s University Library continues to provide remote services during the university’s response to COVID-19.

While library locations remain closed at this time, the Queen’s University Library is very much open online, with many supports and resources available to students, faculty, and staff, as outlined on the library’s COVID-19 website.

“We are committed, as ever, to supporting students and researchers and providing a wide array of information resources and services to enhance and facilitate online course instruction and research,” says Michael Vandenburg, Interim Vice-Provost and University Librarian. “This is an unprecedented time, and while it is a major shift, I would like the community to know that the library is well-equipped to provide additional online resources and support, and library staff are hard at work to ensure that everyone has what they need.”

Remote Learning

Library staff have been keenly focused on supporting instructors with the transition to remote learning. To help students in the Faculty of Law access resources they need to complete their work, the Lederman Law Library has reached out to Canadian legal publishers to provide students and faculty with expanded access to key online legal resources. As a result, law students and faculty now have online access to The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (also known as the McGill Guide) through personal WestlawNext accounts until the end of the winter term, and Irwin’s Law E-Library is now available campus-wide until the end of the calendar year.

Accessing Library Resources

In Bracken Health Sciences Library, librarians are responding to questions from clinicians searching for more resources on COVID-19 and pandemic planning, and adjusting to provide library services, including instruction on searching databases and citation management, online via Zoom instead of in-person in classes. Across the library, subject specialists are working with researchers remotely to provide the ongoing support needed to continue and complete projects. Library staff are available to answer questions about how to access these resources.

Library staff also continue to work directly with students to ensure they have what they need for coursework or capstone projects to complete the term. All library eReserves are still available to students via OnQ and students and faculty members can email library.reserves@queensu.ca to discuss any changes to reading lists and options for accessing materials online.

“We are doing as much as we can to make this challenging time smoother for students and faculty members,” says Heather McMullen, Associate University Librarian. “We encourage the community to reach out for library support, and to ask us for help if they are facing obstacles in their research and teaching.”

The library’s online resources, including e-journals, e-books, databases, and much more, continue to be available and subject librarians and specialists are available remotely to answer any research questions or inquiries. They can be reached through the Ask Us service or directly via email.

The Copyright Advisory Office has created Copyright & Digital Delivery guides for instructors who are digitizing course materials: Quick Guide and Detailed Guide. Online consultations are available with Mark Swartz, Copyright Manager

Currently, there is no access to print collections but the library is reviewing options for providing access. There is no need to return books to the library at this time, and late fines will not be charged. The library continues to provide Interlibrary Loan services for electronic materials only. Due dates for materials currently out on interlibrary loan will not be enforced, and late fines will not be charged.

More information is available on the library’s COVID-19 website.

Protecting mothers and babies

More Confronting COVID-19 Stories


Queen’s University professor Graeme Smith says hospitals have made preparations for childbirths during the COVID-19 crisis.

A newborn baby's feet
Despite the COVID-19 epidemic it is business as usual for labour and delivery as policies and procedures are in place to protect mothers, babies and their support teams. (Unsplash / Janko Ferlic)

While many aspects of daily life have come to a halt as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still babies being born. Queen’s University professor and head of Obstetrics & Gynecology Graeme Smith spoke to the Gazette about some of the policies and procedures in place to protect mothers, babies and their support teams.

What is your message to parents who are concerned as they prepare for childbirth?
Dr. Graeme Smith: For those that are not affected, it’s still business as usual on labour and delivery, though it may look somewhat different. We may get to the point where all patients/support people must wear a mask during their entire stay and may get to the point where staff are as well but we’re not there yet as the prevalence in Kingston is still very low. The precautions are already in place to protect our patients and their babies and our staff.

How are staff being protected?
Dr. Smith: At this point, staff are being protected by extra screening of patients and support persons. There is close screening getting into the hospital and a second screening to get in to labour and delivery. We expect we may see some patients go into labour who are also COVID-19 positive or have symptoms. These patients will be asked to wear masks and wash their hands. In turn, staff coming in contact with them (and we will limit number of staff) will wear complete Personal Protective Equipment (gowns, masks, gloves).

Explain the hospital policy around people in the delivery rooms.
Dr. Smith: We’re still trying to sort out how to safely allow support persons into the delivery room when their partner in labour is COVID-19 positive or is symptomatic. Currently just one support person is allowed. Support people who are COVID-19 positive or are symptomatic shouldn’t be allowed into the hospital otherwise but for labouring patients this should probably be a provincial decision rather than at the individual hospital level. If the support person has COVID-19, we are expecting the province will soon clarify what to do.

What happens if mom is COVID-19 positive – are you still advocating skin to skin and breastfeeding?
Dr. Smith: If mom is COVID-19 positive or has symptoms, she would wear a mask (and wash her hands) in labour or at any time when she would be in direct contact with the baby. The baby should be in a bassinette six feet from mother’s bed. Breastfeeding is still encouraged.

How are moms and babies being protected after birth?
Dr. Smith: Again, physical distancing. Mothers are encouraged to regularly wash their hands, especially if leaving their rooms. COVID-19 positive patients and/or symptomatic patients (and their support person) will be in private rooms and will be required to remain in their rooms until discharge.

Where can expectant mothers get more information?
Dr. Smith: My website www.themothersprogram.ca is designed to help women who are contemplating pregnancy, are pregnant or are now new mothers, keep up-to-date on the latest medical information, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Internal funding for coronavirus research

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Vice-Principal (Research) launches funding competition for medical and social coronavirus-related solutions.

Queen's research

In response to the international COVID-19 pandemic, the Vice-Principal (Research) has launched an internal initiative to fund and support research projects that will contribute to the development, testing, and implementation of medical or social countermeasures to mitigate the rapid spread of the virus and its negative consequences on global communities.

Open to Queen’s faculty, the competition will invest $200,000 ($10,000-$50,000 per project) in research across the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities that align with medical and social/policy countermeasures inspired by World Health Organization recommendations.

“In this time of global crisis, our research community is driven to work together to find creative and innovative solutions to address SARS CoV-2/COVID-19,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “This rapid response competition will provide the funding and support our researchers need to mobilize teams and resources quickly and efficiently.”

 The competition will fund two waves of applications, with the first deadline on April 17 (decisions released April 27) and the second on May 15 (decisions released May 25). 

For information on eligibility, how to apply, and the list of medical and social/policy countermeasures with which projects must align, please visit the Vice-Principal (Research) website.

Crisis reflections from the front lines

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Advice on how to cope in crisis situations from a family physician and former medical officer in the Canadian Armed Forces

Brent Wolfrom is a family physician and Postgraduate Program Director in the Department of Family Medicine at Queen’s University. Prior to joining Queen’s, he was previously a full-time Medical Officer with the Canadian Armed Forces and served in the South Pacific, Mediterranean, as well as two tours to Afghanistan.

Recently, Dr. Wolfrom published a blog in the Canadian Medical Association Journal outlining tips for how physicians can cope in periods of stress and uncertainty. The blog was based on an email he distributed to his colleagues in Department of Family Medicine as they prepared for the arrival of COVID-19. The Gazette has received permission to republish these tips and adapt them for a broader audience.


Brent Wolfrom
Dr. Brent Wolfrom (Family Medicine)

My past experiences working with the Canadian Armed Forces in the South Pacific and the Mediterranean and in particular during my times deployed in Afghanistan, taught me a great deal about coping with crises, stress, confusion, guilt, loss and grief. They taught me how I myself cope with crises, be it an unexpected emergency requiring immediate action, or an expected and prolonged event involving complex systems and little control, much like what we are experiencing with COVID-19. As we head down this road, I find myself experiencing so many of the same emotions that I did during my deployments. I also find myself reflexively, and largely unconsciously, setting up supports, defenses and plans.

Based on these experiences and lessons, I wrote a message to my fellow physicians in my department with some of the advice I wish I had received 12-13 years ago. The following is an adaptation of these reflections that are applicable to the entire Queen’s and greater community.

  1. This event is unlike anything we have lived through before and we expect it to be drawn out, especially if social distancing does what we hope it will. It is likely that at some point we will transition from an acute to chronic crisis mentality. This can be a difficult transition because it can feel like defeat. It’s not. It’s us getting better at beating COVID-19.
  2. Plan now for how you will maintain your own physical and mental wellness and stick to your plan rigidly. Specifically, how you will deal with both physical and social isolation, confusion and anxiety.
  3. Find supports who will talk with you about non-COVID-19 related topics and stay in touch daily even if just by text or email.
  4. There will be some long and dark days ahead and people will all cope differently. A small word of encouragement or appreciation from you to a friend or colleague could make all the difference in helping someone get through the day.
  5. Support each other. If you have the time or capacity to help someone, just do it.
  6. Communicate with those who need information and minimize communication with those who don’t. Be deliberate about your email distributions and who you include on the “To” vs “CC” lines. Information overload is going to happen, and we need to be deliberate about protecting each other.
  7. Grief doesn’t equal failure. Bad outcomes don’t equal failure. Sadness doesn’t equal failure.
  8. There will be many changes and constraints over the coming weeks, including lack of access to sports, clubs and social events that you used to recharge you. Try to find a replacement for each joyful activity you lose.

All of us have a role to play in defeating this threat and the actions of each of us have the potential to change the trajectory of the ultimate outcome.  Best of luck and I look forward to seeing you on the other side of this.

A version of this blog was originally posted in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Coronavirus tips: 7 lessons we can learn from hockey

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Lessons learned from Canada's favourite game can offer some wisdom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queen's Gaels score against Ontario Tech
Canadians often see hockey as a metaphor for life.

Canadians often see hockey as a metaphor for life. Hockey’s cliché-littered locker room may offer some wisdom as we collectively deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Let’s take a few of hockey’s time-worn aphorisms and apply them to our situation.

In Canada’s COVID-19 outbreak we are in the first period and it’s 2-0 for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Team Canada faces an opponent that is big, strong and fast, and engenders fear. To ensure the game ends in favour of Team Canada, the first step is overcoming fear by building a sense of team.

1. There is no “I” in team

We will defeat COVID-19 as a team. As a cardiologist and head of medicine at Queen’s University, I am acutely aware of the importance of every member of the health-care team. But the team that’s required to defeat COVID-19 is even larger than that, and includes the whole community. It’s going to take all of us to get this done.

2. The best defence is a good offence

We are using social distancing and the cancellation of events, mass gatherings and even elective health-care services to ensure we don’t all get sick at the same time.

This flattening of the epidemic’s curve (see below) is designed to slow the spread of a virus, against which we have no natural immunity, so that the numbers of infected people will be distributed over a longer period.

This makes the care of those who become sick much more manageable. This is a good defensive strategy, and until we get an effective vaccine, it is the best defence we have.

Slow the spread: Flattening the curve distributes transmission over a longer period. (Esther Kim & Carl T. Bergstrom)CC BY

3. Move to where the puck will be

There’s a famous quote from Wayne Gretzky, of Edmonton Oilers fame, about not skating to where the puck is, but to where it is going to be. This advice can be applied to COVID-19. The question is not where we are now. You can see where the outbreak is today, and how it has progressed, using this online tool. The question is where we are going. What will the epidemic look like in the third period? How can we shape it to ensure we are victorious?

Skating to where the puck will be requires a dynamic partnership between health care and public health. Think of public health agencies as hockey scouts who track the epidemic and apply lessons learned from other provinces and countries. These scouting reports are helpful because they tell us the natural history of the pandemic and predict the spread of COVID-19, helping us deploy resources wisely.

We can take some comfort in knowing that we are prepared and that fewer than five per cent of cases will be life-threatening. For most (80 per cent) infected people, including almost all who are young and healthy, this will be a self-limited infection, managed by staying home and recovering with symptomatic care, good nutrition, fluids and over-the-counter medications.

In Ontario, we have planned for out-patient and in-patient screening for the virus. It has been a slow ramp up, however, due to a national shortage of the swabs required to acquire the specimens for the COVID-19 test.

I am encouraged by victories that have occurred internationally. After three very difficult months, things have stabilized in China; indeed cases peaked in February. Some countries, such as South Korea and Germany, are managing to avoid high mortality rates. We can learn from them.

4. Play your position

There is not a position on the team that trumps the others in terms of importance. Our victory will reflect the efforts of front-line nurses, doctors and trainees, and those in our lab and pharmacy, as well as support services, from housekeeping to our information technology team.

As a calm, well-informed member of the public you, too, are part of Team Canada. There will not be a three-star selection when we beat COVID-19; you will all be stars!

5. Thank your team members

A typical hockey interview given by the star player after a game almost always follows a standard, self-deprecating script: “I’d like to thank the coach. My goalie was amazing. The wingers were passing the puck tape to tape, and our fans were great!” It’s never self-congratulatory.

Listen to former Chicago Black Hawks star Marion Hossa give credit to everyone else — his teammates, and even the opposition.

In the hospital and beyond, a virtual pat on the back to a colleague or team member is always appreciated and goes a huge way to reassure them. Small acts of kindness to support each other are always appreciated. The bolstering effect of praise and acknowledgement is particularly felt as health-care workers struggle with daycare and school closures and worry about aging parents, all while caring for patients.

Here at Queen’s University, our medical students are offering a tangible example of support to our physicians during this difficult time. They are providing services such as child care, pickups, drop-offs, etc. You can probably envision how you can help a neighbour who must continue to work in an essential service field!

5. Keep your head up

In hockey, this admonition is a reminder to be aware of what is happening around you so you are not blindsided (run over by an opponent). In the COVID-19 pandemic we can keep our head up by paying attention to high quality, reliable information about your city, province and country.

There is lots of information that is dark and false on the internet, so follow the information feeds from trusted news outlets and reliable health agencies.

6. Envision success

Believing that you will succeed is a precondition for success, whether in hockey or medicine. In hockey you cannot let your mind go to that easily reached, dark place of defeat. When its 2-0 in the first period, all thoughts should be focused on turning the tide: stop further goals, score one goal, repeat as necessary!

In the case of COVID-19, we are doing much the same: slowing the spread through social distancing, hand hygiene and suspension of elective services, buttressed by ramping up COVID-19 testing in symptomatic people. I am envisioning success and a resumption of normal life!

7. Thank the fans

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt by students, families and people working in restaurants, retail outlets, utilities and more. We, your health-care professionals, stand with the people in our communities.

Doctors, we can “thank the fans” in this analogy, not only through the health care we provide but also by listening to and allaying their concerns, providing accurate information and providing role models for calm response.

Permit me a few final aphorisms.

  • Keep your stick on the ice (be prepared).
  • Skate to the paint (stay engaged with your friends and co-workers).
  • And finally, together we will put the puck in the net.The Conversation


Stephen Archer is a professor at Queen's University and Head of the Department of Medicine.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Making all the right moves

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Queen’s University researcher Robert Ross encourages us to stay active during trying times.

A person walks along a path in a park
A key to staying healthy while working remotely is to reduce time in front of the screen and being physically active, while practicing proper social distancing. (Unsplash / Arek Adeoye)

Self-isolation comes with its own unique set of challenges including staying fit and healthy when normal routines have been disrupted. Queen’s University researcher Robert Ross has several ideas on how to stay active during this challenging time.

“These are somber, uncertain times and, unfortunately, we have little control over what is happening,” says Dr. Ross, professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies  “The one thing we do have control over is how we take care of ourselves and this is empowering news. You have control over your own behaviours, including staying physically active.”

Dr. Ross runs the Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Research Unit at Queen’s. His research is focused on obesity in adults. The lab has conducted a number of randomized trials to determine the effectiveness of lifestyle-based interventions on improving overall health.

One key area Dr. Ross says everyone should keep in mind is reducing the amount of time you are sitting, including time spent in front of screens while working from home.

“Just getting up and moving around is huge. During commercials, online meetings, finishing emails or breaks between shows, walk around the house, stand up and stretch, take a break outside. Make it a fun family activity.”

He added people also need to remember they should still go outside and get some fresh air and exercise – while practicing proper social distancing with anyone not in their household.

“I’m asking people to go for walks – any kind of walk will do. You can walk fast, or you can walk slow. Move at your own pace. I’m not telling people to run five kilometres, do whatever is comfortable for you and it will still improve your health and wellbeing.”

These simple tricks will also help people sleep better during this time of increased anxiety and stress and also ensure proper weight is maintained while our lives are disrupted. Exercise has also been shown to help maintain the immune system.

“We aren’t certain about what lies ahead but we can empower ourselves by committing to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”

Twenty-Four Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults are available for free at https://csepguidelines.ca/.

Getting your rest during trying times

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Queen’s sleep expert Judith Davidson outlines the best way to get the rest we need as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Woman sleeping in a brown bed
Queen’s University researcher Judith Davidson, one of Canada’s leading sleep experts, says it is normal to have some degree of sleep difficulty in times of uncertainty and when our daily routines have been suddenly altered. (Unsplash / Gregory Pappas)

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, more and more people are finding themselves confined to their homes for most of the day. Queen’s University researcher Judith Davidson is one of Canada’s leading sleep experts and says it is normal to have some degree of sleep difficulty in times of uncertainty and when our daily routines have been suddenly altered.

“People may be experiencing some trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, associated with the uncertainty about the pandemic, processing the fast-changing global news about it, and making sense of what it all means for them, and their family and friends,” Dr. Davidson, a faculty member in the Department of Psychology, says.

Dr. Davidson has worked in sleep research since 1981 and her work now focuses on insomnia and its treatment. She is currently looking at the best ways to make effective, non-drug treatment more available to people with insomnia. She says there four things people can do to help improve their sleep, without resorting to medication:

  • Know that it’s completely normal to have some anxiety, uneasiness, and perhaps some temporary sleep difficulty at this time.
  • Keep your routines in place. If you are off work or working from home, have structure in your day. Get up at the same time each day, get dressed, and start your day. Keep your regular meal and exercise times and stick to your regular bedtime. Avoid drifting to later bedtimes and sleeping in. On the other hand, avoid going to bed earlier than usual.
  • Don’t try to sleep. If you’re in bed and it feels like you’ve been awake for more than about 15 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room and do something until you are sleepy. Return to bed when you feel sleepy. Same thing applies to waking up during the night.
  • Give your brain a break from the news and thinking about what’s happening in the world, especially in the hour before bedtime. Read a book, watch a movie, work on a jigsaw puzzle or a crossword.

Dr. Davidson explains temporary sleep difficulty can lead to irritability and low mood, and if the issue turns into chronic insomnia (trouble falling or staying asleep that persists for at least three months and that interferes with daytime functioning), there is an increased likelihood of depression, cardiovascular problems, and Type 2 diabetes.

“It doesn’t mean everyone with chronic insomnia gets these things, it means that the likelihood is somewhat higher compared to people without chronic insomnia,” she explains. “Fortunately, there is a very effective treatment for chronic insomnia called cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia. This is the first-line treatment, above medications. So, even if you develop chronic insomnia, it can be reversed.”

For more information, visit Dr. Davidson’s website.


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