Swedes alone but not lonely
Sweden has the highest number of single households in all of Europe. But just because Swedes seem to like living alone, it doesn’t mean they feel lonely. Nearly one out of two households in Sweden is a single household, and mostly in the big cities: Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö. Lars Tornstam, professor in sociology at Uppsala University, has researched how lonely Swedes feel today as compared to 20 years ago. And in spite of the increasing number of single households, Swedes aren’t any lonelier. “In spite of what one might think, living arrangements and company have little to do with feelings of loneliness,” Tornstam says. “It has first and foremost to do with age. It’s a paradox that it’s people in their 30s with a great social network who experience loneliness—not older people.” Tornstam believes it’s a common misconception that people are less lonely in countries where living in big families is the norm, like around the Mediterranean. “The further north you go, the less feelings of loneliness,” he says. “If you are forced to live with people, then that can create feelings of loneliness and lack of freedom.” He also believes the decreased sense of loneliness in Sweden may have to do with today’s social media. “Through them you can live alone while at the same time have a great network of contacts all over the globe.”

S want high school to be mandatory
The Social Democratic Party (Socialdemokraterna) wants “gymnasiet” (the equivalent of the American high school) to be mandatory in Sweden, and thus make school attendance compulsory until the age of 18. This proposal will be introduced at the party’s congress in April. Stefan Löven, leader of the party and Ibrahim Baylan, former Minister for Education, call this: “An ambitious but realistic step,” in daily Dagens Nyheter. The two write that a secondary education is now a prerequisite for young people to survive on the job market. A reform like this would be costly, but having unemployed young people costs even more.


Swedes and sleeping problems
One out of three Swedes suffers from sleeping problems. A new study shows that Swedes with asthma, those who are overweight and smokers suffer the most. Over 25,000 men and women were polled, answering questions about sleep problems, asthma, tobacco use and physical activity. More than one-third admitted they had some kind of sleep problems. The most common issue was waking several times during the night, but other problems included waking early without being able to fall asleep again. The researchers discovered that asthma sufferers (7 percent) were more inclined to have problems, especially if they also had blocked sinuses. The more asthma symptoms a person had, the more problems they had with sleep. Smokers and overweight people were also affected more than others. According to Dr. Fredrik Sundbom, one of the researchers behind the study, the findings show that treatment of asthma has to improve in order to treat the sleep issues. He has the following advice for asthma sufferers: Make sure you follow the same sleep routines, that you have a good place to sleep, and that you get the proper amount of exercise. Also, change your lifestyle if you are a smoker or overweight.