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Just hold still...
Just hold still...
Rozena Crossman

French super chef Philippe Etchebest was simply describing reality when he called coronavirus a "national nightmare" in a recent article published by La Croix. He was referring specifically to France's shutdown restaurant owners and workers, but the metaphor can also describe the collective, surreal sense of uncertainty and fear currently permeating the world's subconscious like a bad dream come true.

Yet to call this global pandemic a nightmare isn't merely figurative. Quartz reports that Google searches for "coronavirus dreams' have shot up in the past weeks, andLe Monde invited Marc Rey, the president of France's National Institute of Sleep and Vigilance to answer readers' questions about troubled slumber. Yes, people all over the world are reporting increased nightmares as life under COVID-19 continues.

Of course, it is hardly surprising that the heightened anxiety of quarantine, health worries and a deeply uncertain future are having a serious impact on our slumber. Stress not only causes more nightmares, but more nightime wake ups — which means we're remembering more of our dreams. The continuing shutdown and social isolation multiply the effects, according to Courtney Bolstad, a sleep researcher interviewed by Time magazine: "Social rhythm theory says that the rhythms we have during the day, what time we get up, whether we see our friends, can influence our circadian rhythm," she explained. "If you aren't doing the things you typically do during the day, that could mess with your circadian rhythm which could mess with your sleep."

This doesn't necessarily mean that we'll be tossing and turning for months to come. "We're confined. It's violent. But confinement situations exist independantly of the epidemic," Marc Rey reminded Le Monde's readers. "In monastaries, in submarines, in space stations … If others can adapt to this confinement situation, we should be able to as well." Keeping a regular schedule, doing gentle exercise, practicing breathing techniques— there are many habits we can learn to regain a more peaceful rest. And it's in our best interest, as not only does sleep boost the immune system, it can alleviate stress and trauma.

So let's all do our best to dream of brighter days to come, and maybe even a night out at a Philippe Etchebest Michelin-star restaurant.


For the coming weeks, Worldcrunch will be delivering daily updates on the coronavirus pandemic from the best, most trusted international news sources — regardless of language or geography. To receive the daily Coronavirus global brief in your inbox, sign up here.

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Society

Gun Violence In America: Don't Blame The Victims — That Means Rappers Too

The recent shooting of Takeoff, a rapper, is another sad incident of gun crime in the U.S. But those blaming hip hop culture for contributing to gun violence ignore that rappers themselves are also victims. And the real point is that in today's America, nobody is safe from gun violence.

Gun Violence In America: Don't Blame The Victims — That Means Rappers Too

Fans wait outside State Farm Arena in Atlanta to attend the memorial service for Migos rapper Takeoff on Nov. 11

A.D. Carson

Add the name of Takeoff, a member of the popular rap trio Migos, to the ever-growing list of rappers, recent and past, tragically and violently killed.

The initial reaction to the shooting to death of Takeoff, born Kirsnick Ball, on Nov. 1, was to blame rap music and hip hop culture. People who engaged in this kind of scapegoating argue that the violence and despairing hopelessness in the music are the cause of so many rappers dying.

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