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‘I only sleep for about four hours a night’

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SLEEPING only four hours every night might be most people’s idea of hell, but for Guernsey’s director of Public Health it is par for the course.

Dr Nicola Brink. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28327231)

Dr Nicola Brink revealed that she is short sleeper and feels fine after only a few hours of shut-eye every night.

‘I don’t sleep very much. I only sleep for about four hours a night, I always have done my whole life, I don’t need a lot of sleep, which has been great for this situation.’

Being a night owl and an early bird has its advantages when time is vital and being present and always on call is important for making quick decisions.

When the testing results came through before 7am that Guernsey no longer had any active coronavirus cases, Dr Brink was already in the office, and her staff say that she is usually the last to switch off the lights at night.

Suddenly thrust into the limelight a few months ago, Dr Brink has won plaudits for the way she has handled the crisis.

The stress levels have eased slightly, but there are still plenty of challenges ahead, and Dr Brink said that doing the occasional bit of gardening has helped.

‘I’m lucky to have a lovely garden so it’s nice to go home and garden in the evening. I’ve got my husband and my 86-year-old mother lives with us.

‘Obviously I’ve had to socially distance from her but now we’re getting into more of a bubble so she lives with us in our house.

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‘It’s been difficult for everyone. I’ve got two children over in the UK and I’ve not seen them for months now, so I’m no different from anyone else because we all miss our families that are not here and we do what we can to relax under the circumstances.’

As a public health expert with a particular interest in virology and emerging viral infections, Dr Brink had trained for a pandemic her whole life.

She stressed that the successes so far had been down to teamwork, the solidarity of the community, and forthright communication.

‘From the beginning I felt that we had to have an open, transparent and honest relationship with the people of Guernsey, and with the press as well, and I’ve really felt very strongly that this data belongs to all of us.

‘We really wanted to have this Guernsey all together approach.

‘I’ve answered every question as best I can and to the best of my ability. Sometimes it comes out OK and sometimes I look at it afterwards and think oh dear, that didn’t come out well.’

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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