Sleepless in Switzerland,

Hello everyone, I’ve just celebrated my one year anniversary of becoming a FoodSmartphone PhD student and what a year it has been. The year of my PhD started on September 2017, when my flight landed to Zurich airport from Shiraz. The following twelve months was a whirlwind of fantastic experiences and one of the most amazing parts of my life so far. I had the opportunity to be part of FoodSmartphone multidisciplinary team, attend two summer schools, and meet like-minded people who share the same passion and encouragement for research as me. No wonder that all these great experiences comes with a few challenges.

Walensee, Switzerland

I guess almost every PhD student must have experienced insomnia to some extent during their studies. For me, it all started from the very beginning, when I moved to an apartment near the church bells that rings every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day. At first it was really annoying, I could hardly get any sleep for almost a month. Then I started to get used to it and I barely notice them now. What keeps me up now is the experiments, the thought of my electrodes and how to functionalize them and get a better signal. I start to troubleshoot and try to find out what went wrong and how it could be addressed in the next experiment. No surprises, many coffees during the day is not very helpful with having a good quality night sleep.

Although you might not seriously get sick with a few hours lack of sleep every week, it might affect your health if it continues for quite some time. That is why here I would like to share some tips who might come handy someday. Personally, I found that switching from coffee to tea could be very effective, since you fall sleep more easily. Still you could keep dreaming about your experiments, then practicing mindfulness do wonders. Practically, you allocate a time for your worries about your next experiments, write down everything and then stop thinking about it till the next morning. I also attended a time management workshop recently which helped me a lot to learn how to deal with time sinks during the day and therefore have more time to plan for and as the result less worries.

Birkholz Skihütte, Igis, Switzerland

The weekends are the best opportunity to compensate the week night’s lack of sleep and recharge the batteries. The only issue here is that the lakes and mountains is so beautiful, you couldn’t bear to stay at home and just sleep. The lake Walensee is my favorite which makes the perfect scenery if you take the train from Landquart to Zurich.  The mountains are very close as well. We just had our late summer party in a beautiful mountain cabin near Landquart. Everything was fantastic, the fresh mountain air, the scenery and of course enjoying the company of Jordi and his family with our fun loving group here at CSEM, Landquart. He joined our group for his secondment and we had a lot of fun working in the Lab for almost a month. Now I am off to my new adventure, my secondment in CSIC, Barcelona to work on developing an electrochemical immunosensor for aflatoxins and I can’t wait to start working with Dr. Roger Galve and Klaudia and their fantastic group at CSIC. Till my next blog,

Chao, Chao


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