[rNASA Announces Ninth Consecutive Clean Financial Audit Opinion The NASA Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) has led the way for an unmodified audit opinion on the agency’s fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) financial statements. This represents NASA’s ninth consecutive “clean” opinion from an independent accounting firm – the highest opinion possible. Source: NASA Breaking news http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-announces-ninth-consecutive-clean-financial-audit-opinion
Freshwater lakes already emit a quarter of global carbon – and climate change could double that
Lakes and ponds are the final resting place for many of the Earth’s plants. Rivers collect much of the planet’s dead organic matter, transporting it to rest in calmer waters.
But on a microscopic scale, lakes are anything but calm. An invisible metropolis of microbes feeds on these logs and leaves, producing greenhouse gases as a byproduct.
As a result, lakes may be responsible for as much as a quarter of the carbon in the atmosphere – and rising. New research conducted with my colleagues in Cambridge, Germany and Canada suggests that emissions from freshwater lakes could double in the coming decades because of climate change.
All known life on Earth is made of carbon. When plants and animals reach the end of their lives, microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi come to feast. They feed on the carbon-based remains of other organisms and their waste products — collectively known as organic matter.
As a byproduct of this never-ending feast, microbes release gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into the environment. While each individual microbe releases a minuscule amount of gas, they are the most abundant organisms on Earth, so it adds up. Energy from sunlight can also break the chemical bonds between molecules of organic matter, releasing smaller molecules, such as carbon dioxide, into the environment.
Some of this degradation happens on the forest floor. But much of the organic matter that falls to the ground ends up in the water. Winds, rain and snow transport it into lakes, or more often into the rivers that feed them.
The amount of greenhouse gases released from lakes by microbes and sunlight is huge. Initial estimates were about 9% of the net carbon released from the Earth’s surface to the atmosphere – that is, the amount released over and above the Earth’s carbon-storing processes.
In the coming years, lakes will receive more and more organic matter for microbes to digest. A warming climate will bring more forest cover around lakes and a greater proportion of broad-leaved trees, such as maples and oaks, as compared to needle-leaved trees, such as pines.
Carbon in a thousand forms
To understand how changes to forests will alter the role that lakes play in the carbon cycle, we performed an experiment in two Canadian lakes.
We filled plastic containers with rocks, sand, clay and different amounts and types of organic matter from nearby forests. This was intended to mimic the change in forest cover and composition expected from climate change.
We then submerged the containers in shallow lake waters where organic matter is most likely to accumulate and monitored them for three years.
Using new techniques to analyse the carbon chemistry of water, we found that those containers simulating a level of forest growth expected in the next few decades led to between 1.5 and 2.7 times more greenhouse gases in the water than conditions simulating today’s forest conditions.
The invisible diversity of organic compounds in the water was the most important factor causing this rise – even more important than the diversity of microbes and the overall amount of organic matter.
The likely explanation for this result is that the same microbes can feed on many different types of molecule. So as the number of carbon-based compounds in the water increases, there are more ways for microbes to feed and release greenhouse gases.
The increase in diversity of organic matter alone was enough to raise greenhouse gas concentrations by about 50%. But the size of this effect nearly doubled in containers with darker overlying waters – a scenario expected in most lakes as climate change brings increased tree cover.
Accurately tracing how carbon makes its journey from land to atmosphere is vital to predict the pace of climate change and mitigate its effects. By better understanding how the vegetation around lakes controls greenhouse gas concentrations in waters, our research can inform whether changing the way we manage land near lakes could help reduce carbon emissions.
For example, we might want to plant fewer aquatic plants such as cattails in lakeside areas, because they produce much higher concentrations of greenhouse gases than organic matter from forests.
Work also remains to understand fully the role lakes play in the carbon cycle. Not all organic matter that reaches lakes is digested by microbes. Some sinks to the lake floor to form muddy sediment, locking away carbon. The amount of sediment formed will also increase with climate change, but we don’t yet know by how much – and so to what degree this increase in stored carbon will offset the increased greenhouse gas emissions from lakes.
Answering this question will be crucial in improving the accuracy of carbon accounts – and assessing how much time humanity has to balance them.
Andrew J Tanentzap receives funding for climate change research from the Natural Environment Research Council, European Research Council, and Royal Society.
source: The Conversation: Environment
Nanoracks books CubeSat Rideshare and Habitat demo for single Falcon 9 Washington DC (SPX) Nov 19, 2019
Nanoracks has booked a launch mission like no other, leveraging the recently announced SpaceX Rideshare program. Onboard a Falcon 9, targeting launch in late 2020, Nanoracks has booked deployment of eight small satellites as well as the Company’s first in-space Outpost-demonstration mission. Recently, Nanoracks announced the Company’s first in-space Outpost demonstration mission in a lette Source: NanoDaily.com http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Nanoracks_books_CubeSat_Rideshare_and_Habitat_Building_Demonstration_in_single_SpaceX_Falcon_9_launch_999.html
Big Pharma has failed: the antibiotic pipeline needs to be taken under public ownership
Antibiotics are among the most important medicines known to humankind, but we are running out of this crucial resource. Decisive action is needed if we are to retain access to them. This includes rethinking our reliance on private companies and establishing public ownership of crucial parts of the antibiotic pipeline.
Since the 1930s, antibiotics have transformed the way we treat diseases, ranging from syphilis to typhoid. They have enabled increasingly complex forms of surgery and organ transplantation. They have protected people with weakened immune systems, such as those undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment, from life-threatening infections. And they have facilitated the industrialisation of global food production. So important have antibiotics become that some researchers compare them to essential infrastructure, such as hospitals and ambulance services.
But this infrastructure is at risk. After decades of increasing use, our antibiotic workhorses are worn out. The reason for this is natural selection: every use of an antibiotic can select for bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics’ effects. Because their competitors are killed by antibiotics, these resistant bacteria can proliferate rapidly and pass on their resistance genes to their offspring and often to other, unrelated bacteria. Over the last 80 years, human antibiotic use has selected for microbial populations that are increasingly effective at resisting our drugs.
Antibiotic development has not kept pace with this rapid microbial evolution. After a golden age of innovation between the 1930s and 1970s, the 1980s saw global investment in antibiotic research and development (R&D) stall – just when old scourges, such as tuberculosis and typhoid were becoming harder to treat. The reason for this was lack of profit.
Despite repeated public warnings, private companies were unwilling to invest in drugs that would only be taken for a short time and be subject to usage restrictions because of their selection for antimicrobial resistance. Instead, contemporary experience showed that investment in cancer drugs and statins, which would be taken for long periods, or in treatments for so-called lifestyle diseases, such as athlete’s foot, would be far more lucrative than sponsoring further antibiotic research.
The pipeline for new antibiotics has become drier ever since. In fact, it has been 35 years since a new class of antibiotics with a distinct new mode of antibacterial action has entered the market.
All the while, bacteria have honed their defences. By 2016, a major review commissioned by the British government predicted 10m deaths annually resulting from antibiotic resistance by 2050 if no action was taken, and exhorted both the global community as well as private companies to reinvest in new antibiotics research. These warnings of an international emergency have since been echoed by organisations ranging from the World Health Organisation to Médecins Sans Frontières.
A broken pipeline
But development continues to stall, despite many attempts to make commercial antibiotic development more attractive. Recent years have seen substantial public financing of private development, with widespread subsidised research and clinical trials, along with incentives, such as market-entry rewards, quicker licensing, supplemented prices for new antibiotics in the US, and NHS England’s new “Netflix model” for antibiotic access. Despite this, no new antibiotic class has emerged.
Even worse, the injection of over £520m of public money since 2016 has not prevented the industry from further contracting. Between 2016 and 2019, major producers, such as Sanofi, Novartis and AstraZeneca shuttered their antibiotic-development divisions. This resulted in the closure of well-financed industrial research departments and a critical global loss of human capital and expertise in antibiotic R&D. According to a recent review, there is “now a shortage of experts qualified to lead research programs employing promising new antibiotic discovery methods”.
Although international non-profit organisations are mobilising further public money to subsidise for-profit development, it is questionable whether this public-private model will bear fruit. After over three decades of market failure and in the face of a critical contraction of remaining industry activity, alternatives beyond the market should urgently be explored.
The public is already sponsoring the high-risk phases of drug discovery and trialling by university researchers and private companies but own none of the intellectual property once antibiotics go to market. There has also been little public pay-off either in terms of new antibiotic classes or increased access to effective drugs in low-income countries.
The market is broken. It is time to apply recent official calls of “public money for public goods” to areas beyond farming and seriously consider public ownership of antibiotic research, development and production.
Looking into the past shows that public ownership of antibiotic R&D is not as radical as it may sound. During the second world war, allied research on penicillin – the most iconic antibiotic – was publicly financed, organised and owned. In fact, the original penicillin was never patented.
Other medical treatments we rely on today also resulted from public financing and ownership. Founded in 1887, the non-profit and independent Pasteur Institute developed important vaccines – and was initially financed by an endowment fund consisting of individual donations and mass-subscriptions from members of the public as well as contributions from the French state. Finances were soon complemented by researchers donating their royalties to the institute, monopoly production and sales of the new diphtheria serum to the state, which allowed the institute to recoup costs for basic research, and by later licensing industry partners to produce vaccines.
Public vaccine institutes also evolved in Germany and other countries and were often sponsored by the state. Examples for public R&D are not limited to vaccines and penicillin. For a long time, the US military synthesised, screened and tested promising antimalarial drugs.
Examples are not limited to the past. In the US, major healthcare providers responded to high prices on the private market by founding the organisation Civica-Rx in 2018 to produce and provide important drugs, such as antibiotics, at cost.
As these precedents show, public ownership of international antibiotic R&D could be an effective response to the global antibiotic resistance emergency. As recently proposed by economist Lord Jim O’Neill, a quick way out of the current crisis might be to buy out remaining industry R&D – including relevant experts and patented compounds in industry archives.
The estimated US$5 billion that would be needed to own this vital global resource is remarkably cheap when compared with the over US$400 billion that was spent to bail out US lenders in 2008, the US$4.75 billion it cost to build the Large Hadron Collider, or the US$104-114 billion projected pricetag for the UK’s new High Speed Rail project.
But who should manage public efforts? It is clear that no country can be expected to solve the global market failure by itself. We propose a publicly owned international institute for antibiotic R&D. Similar to the Human Genome Project, an internationally funded institute could fund and direct research on promising compounds and quickly produce new antibiotics without having to make a profit.
Member countries would make contributions varying according to economic capabilities in return for priority access to affordable and high quality drugs, which are still lacking in many parts of the world. To safeguard antibiotics’ effectiveness, strict commitments to appropriate use would be a precondition to membership.
In many ways, publicly owned antibiotic research could be a global quadruple win. The current market failure and loss of R&D expertise could be overcome, R&D could be prioritised according to the greatest international (not commercial) need, appropriate use could be enhanced, and access to affordable and effective antibiotics could be increased across the globe – in perpetuity.
What is clear is that the world has nothing to lose from thinking outside the post-1980s box of private solutions for public problems. Similar to the other major crisis of our era – climate change – the antibiotic crisis poses a fundamental threat to human wellbeing around the world. If antibiotics are a global public good and the market is not providing sustainable solutions, the global public should retake effective control of our common antibiotic future.
The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
[rNASA Highlights Science on 19th SpaceX Resupply Mission to Space Station NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, Nov. 20, to discuss select science investigations launching on the next SpaceX commercial resupply flight to the International Space Station. Source: NASA Breaking news http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-highlights-science-on-19th-spacex-resupply-mission-to-space-station
Prince Andrew claims he ‘didn’t sweat’ – here’s the science
Sweating is a controversial topic at the moment. In his extraordinary recent BBC interview, Prince Andrew dismissed some of the allegations made against him by Virginia Giuffre (known previously as Virginia Roberts) on the grounds that he couldn’t sweat at the time – she had claimed he had been “profusely sweating”. During the interview, Prince Andrew, who has categorically denied all of the claims against him, said:
I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War, when I was shot at … it was almost impossible for me to sweat.
But what makes us sweat, why do we do it – and can some conditions prevent us from doing it at all?
The human body is an amazing entity and responds to thousands of internal and external signals every day. These responses enable us to survive in rapidly changing conditions.
The skin is the largest and heaviest organ of the human body. It is calculated to weigh approximately three to 4.5kg and, over the course of your life, you will lose about 35kg of skin. Skin constantly repairs and replaces itself and performs many functions. It protects the body against pathogens, provides insulation, synthesises vitamin D, provides sensation and most importantly regulates temperature.
The regulation of temperature is complex. Nerve fibres detect the temperature of whatever is in contact with the skin and relay this information to the brain, which makes a decision about what to do next – take off a jumper or put on a coat. But there are also more primitive and uncontrollable responses.
The skin is covered in most places by hair. When cold, the brain causes these hairs to stand on end, trapping a layer of insulating air next to the skin. Conversely, when it’s too hot, the body sweats, producing fluid from the approximately 4m sweat glands in the skin to help heat evaporate away from the body – cooling us down.
What is sweating?
Sweating is the release of a water-like fluid from special glands in the skin to help regulate body temperature. The fluid is approximately 99% water but also contains electrolytes, fatty acids, urea (as found in urine) and lactic acid. Many of these chemicals are now being analysed to detect health and hydration levels, and assist in diagnosing diseases such as cystic fibrosis.
The body is composed of up to 75% water and the loss of as little as 1% of this can cause dehydration. A 10% loss, meanwhile, can lead to life-threatening changes to the body.
A sedentary adult loses approximately 450ml of water through invisible perspiration a day, while athletes in hot, dry environments can produce 1,200ml of sweat per hour. Total water loss can often be between two and three litres a day through sweating, breathing and other routes in a sedentary adult. But in warmer climates and with activity, these rates can increase hugely.
How does sweating work?
Sweating is usually initiated by an increase in body temperature from the normal 37C. When the body senses it is getting too hot, an area of the brain called the hypothalamus controls the response. It does this through the sympathetic nervous system – also known as the “fight or flight” mechanism, because it also helps us fight for our lives or run away when we’re in danger. In this case, it triggers nervous impulses to release neurotransmitters (chemicals) that activate the sweat glands.
The main neurotransmitter involved in controlling sweating is called acetylcholine and its presence causes sweat glands to produce sweat – although a few also respond to a different neurotransmitter called adrenaline. The reason some respond to different neurotransmitters is to do with the receptors they have on their surface. Think of this as a lock and key – only the correct neurotransmitter (key) can fit in the receptor (lock) to cause the sweat gland to function.
In stressful situations, cold sweats are usually mediated by adrenaline. This is because the adrenaline causes the blood vessels to narrow and a few sweat glands to become active – producing a drop in skin temperature and a cold sweat. Most temperature-related sweating, however, is controlled by acetylcholine and the presence of adrenaline would not have any consequence on the function of these sweat glands.
Does everyone sweat?
Sweating is normal and just about everyone does it. Some people, however, do it more or less than others.
A complete absence of sweating is called anhidrosis. It can occur in particular areas of the body or be global – where more than 80% of the body has no ability to sweat. The causes are usually damage or pathology of the nervous system, or they may be inherited, such as in the case of Sjogrens Syndrome. Some individuals suffer from hypohidrosis which is a reduction in sweating and can be indicative of dehydration.
Regarding Prince Andrew’s claim, an excess or continual exposure to adrenaline is not widely recognised as causing a lack of sweating in humans. However, there is some data in horses that has suggested that exposure to extreme temperatures may result in damage to the type of sweat glands that respond to adrenaline.
Similarly, the fact that the central nervous system, and parts of it that are linked to controlling the “fight or flight” response system, can also be involved or damaged in psychological trauma, means it is impossible to rule out this possibility without more information. There are a number of reports of individuals who have developed an idiopathic (unexplained) inability to sweat during military and extreme training.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is hyperhidrosis, which is excessive sweating. This condition can be systemic (body-wide) or localised. It is known that axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive armpit sweating) affects approximately 3% of the US population. Interference of tumours and other pathologies with the central nervous system can result in this symptom.
While sweating is seen to have its primary role in reducing body temperature, it is becoming clear that what is contained in sweat is far more interesting. Sweat even appears to be able to convey a person’s emotional state.
Women who were exposed to sweat samples that were collected from donors who were exhibiting fear while watching videos, for example, performed better in word association tasks than those women who were exposed to sweat which was produced by people watching neutral videos or samples that had no sweat on them at all. The sweat appears to contain a “signal” that suggests the person was undertaking a task that produced a heightened emotional or fearful state.
We may never know the truth about Prince Andrew’s sweating, but it’s something we all do and rely on – and researchers will continue to unlock its secrets for years to come.
Adam Taylor is affiliated with the Anatomical Society.
[rNew Companies Join Growing Ranks of NASA Partners for Artemis Program NASA has added five American companies to the pool of vendors that will be eligible to bid on proposals to provide deliveries to the surface of the Moon through the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. Source: NASA Breaking news http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/new-companies-join-growing-ranks-of-nasa-partners-for-artemis-program
Melanie Edwards, 41, a carer from South Wales, today became the first Extinction Rebellion defendant to glue on in court during her own trial at City of London Magistrates Court.
Melanie glued one of her hands to the witness stand immediately after being cross examined by the prosecution. She then read out a letter explaining her action, which was taken into evidence as part of her testimony.
Witnesses said those present in the courtroom stood as a sign of respect during the reading, with many moved to tears.
The judge stood down police from arresting Melanie for criminal damage, but said she would consider overnight whether to hold her in contempt of court.
Melanie is on trial for breaching Section 14 of the Public Order Act during the April Rebellion, when she superglued herself to the pink boat in Oxford Circus.
Her trial continues tomorrow.
Free broadband: internet access is now a human right, no matter who pays the bills
The UK Labour Party is promising to provide free broadband internet to every British household by 2030 if it wins the 2019 election. To do this, the party would nationalise the broadband infrastructure business of BT and tax internet giants like Google and Facebook. Whatever you think of this plan, it at least reflects that the internet has become not only an essential utility for conducting daily life, but also crucial for exercising our political rights.
In fact, I recently published research that shows why internet access should be considered a human right and a universal entitlement. And for that reason, it ought to be provided free to those who can’t afford it, not just in the UK, but around the world.
Internet access is today necessary for leading a minimally decent life, which doesn’t just mean survival but rather includes political rights that allow us to influence the rules that shape our lives and hold authorities accountable. That is why rights such as free speech, free association, and free information are among the central rights included in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And, crucially, everyone needs to have roughly equal opportunities to exercise their political rights.
Before the internet, most people in democracies had roughly equal opportunities to exercise their political rights. They could vote, write to newspapers or their political representative, attend public meetings and join organisations.
But when some people gained internet access, their opportunities to exercise political rights became much greater compared to those without the internet. They could publish their views online for potentially millions of people to see, join forces with other people without having to physically attend regular meetings, and obtain a wealth of previously inaccessible political information.
Today, a large proportion of our political debates take place online, so in some ways our political rights can only be exercised via the internet. This means internet access is required for people to have roughly equal opportunities to make use of their political freedoms, and why we should recognise internet access as a human right.
As a human right, internet access should be “free” in two ways. First, it should be unmonitored, uncensored, and uninterrupted – as the UN’s General Assembly has demanded in a non-binding resolution in 2016. Second, governments should guarantee a minimally decent infrastructure that is available to all citizens no matter how much money they have. This means funding for internet access should be part of minimum welfare benefits, provided without charge to those who can’t afford to pay for it, just like legal counsel. (This is already the case in Germany.)
A political goal
In developing countries, digital infrastructure reaching everyone might be too expensive to guarantee immediately. But with the required technology becoming cheaper (more people on the planet have access to a web-capable phone than have access to clean water and a toilet), universal access could first be guaranteed via free wifi in public places. Supply can start off in a basic way and grow over time.
Still, expensive infrastructure isn’t the sole obstacle to universal access in developing nations. The spread of the internet could also be increased by promoting gender equality and literacy and digital skills. Developed nations ought to support these efforts by honouring their commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Should everyone in Britain have free broadband in their homes? There are many good reasons to provide the best possible internet access to everyone, such as increasing economic productivity, sharing prosperity more evenly across the country, or promoting opportunities for social engagement and civic participation. And, as such, free broadband for all may be a worthy political goal.
But what is most important is ensuring that everyone has the kind of internet access required for roughly equal opportunities to use their political freedoms. Guaranteed internet access should be considered a human right in our virtual world, whoever ultimately pays the bills.
Merten Reglitz does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Source: The Conversation: Technology http://theconversation.com/free-broadband-internet-access-is-now-a-human-right-no-matter-who-pays-the-bills-127267
Sleep-training and babies: why ‘crying it out’ is best avoided
A full night’s sleep will be near the top of many parents’ wish lists. Sleep deprivation is no fun and many parents find themselves turning to baby care books that promise to train their child to sleep through the night.
These books promote a range of ideas. At the more extreme end, extinction – often known as “cry it out” – involves putting the baby to bed and ignoring their cries (sometimes checking periodically to make sure they are not unwell or in danger). A modified version of this, often known as “controlled crying”, suggests parents should ignore cries for a set amount of time, before responding briefly to reassure their baby, gradually increasing the amount of time between checks. The idea is that babies will eventually realise no one is going to come – and sleep instead.
But there are two main issues with both variations of this sleep training. Babies can become distressed during longer periods of crying, with raised levels of stress hormones. In addition, not responding to a baby’s cries goes against everything we know about building positive attachment relationships. Babies who learn that someone will respond to their needs, in a loving and appropriate way, typically go on to have better social, emotional and educational outcomes.
The research explained
Research into these methods has shown mixed results, mainly because many parents find leaving their baby to cry too distressing. This is unsurprising. Parents are hardwired to want to respond to their baby’s cries. Other research suggests that such techniques may only work temporarily or only work for some babies.
In one study that examined whether mothers implemented sleep training advice in books, the advice only worked for around 20% of babies. Most struggled to follow the guidance or it had no impact, leaving them feeling frustrated and even like a failure.
One reason why sleep training might not work is because waking at night is developmentally normal for most babies throughout their first year. Even adults sometimes have difficulties sleeping through the night and insomnia is a common complaint. But, unlike babies, adults are able to meet their own needs. If we do wake, we can get ourselves a drink, pull the covers back or rationalise our thoughts.
In addition, some parents may be getting confusing advice, as research headlines don’t always give the full picture. One trial randomised mothers who felt their baby had a sleep problem to either behavioural sleep training techniques or “usual care”. Those in the sleep training group reported better mental health and fewer sleep problems at one year. But those mothers were also taught about normal infant sleep and given an opportunity to chat to a nurse about their worries and ideas for self-care.
At the end of the trial, mothers rated “having someone to talk to” as the most useful thing. Is this evidence that rather than trying to teach babies to sleep, there should be more support for new families instead?
So what does work?
If you are reading this as a sleep-deprived parent, do not despair. There are gentler ways to help your baby sleep better that do not involve listening to your baby cry. And the good news is that responsive sleep support can be just as effective and less stressful for everyone.
First, understanding the sleep needs and circadian rhythms of the baby can go a long way towards optimising sleep. There are two sleep regulating mechanisms in the human body. The first is the Circadian rhythm, or body clock. This is regulated by exposure to light, noise, activity and social cues at the right time of day. Getting outside in the daytime and having a predictable darkening of the room one to two hours before bedtime can really help. Some parents find a predictable routine that signals bedtime helps (having a bath, getting changed and maybe a soothing story or song).
The second regulating mechanism is something known as “homeostatic sleep pressure”. The drive to sleep (when your eyes start drooping) builds during wakeful hours. The younger we are, the less time we can manage awake. So, understanding how to support babies to take regular naps to prevent them from becoming overtired makes a big difference.
This is easier to achieve when you learn to recognise your baby’s sleep, feeding and other cues. Understanding these cues helps parents to spot when their baby is ready for sleep, before they become overly tired and frustrated. It also helps deepen the bond between parent and child. Being able to accurately interpret a baby’s need for more action, quiet time, food, cuddles or sleep will mean that parents are more in tune with them. No book can tell a parent what their baby needs right now. This can only be learned through observation and trial and error.
Finally, decreasing parental stress can make a huge difference to sleep. The more we worry about sleep, the worse it gets. Little things like accepting what’s normal, taking time for self-care and accepting offers of help, not only make it easier to feel more rested and able to cope, but can also rub off on the baby. Babies are masters at responding to emotional states, so parents will probably find that their baby is easier to settle and sleeps better when they take care of their own emotional well-being.
And if you are one such sleep-deprived parent, please remember: your baby will not be like this forever – they will sleep one day.
Amy Brown has previously received research funding from the ESRC, NIHR, Public Health Wales, the Breastfeeding Network and First Steps Nutrition Trust. She is author of four books published by Pinter and Martin Ltd – 'Breastfeeding Uncovered: who really decides how we feed our babies', 'Why starting solids matters' , 'The Positive Breastfeeding Book' and "Informed is best'
Lyndsey Hookway is the co-founder and clinical director of the Holistic Sleep Coaching Program and the author of Holistic Sleep Coaching, published by Praeclarus Press. She is affiliated with the Lactation Consultants of Great Britain for whom she works on a voluntary ad hoc basis.