I was talking to Charlene about sleep, more specifically the narcoleptic napping kind.

I’m good at it.

A seasoned pro in fact.  Especially on a train.

I used to work in London and always managed fall asleep on the one hour train journey home.  Mostly, I’d set an alarm so I would be woken up before my stop, which, being towards the end of the line (for most of the trains I caught) meant the train was almost deserted by that point.

I only missed my stop once at the end of a regular day, which meant a wasted 20 mins or so turning around on the next train back – a small price to pay for being an idiot.

The trouble came at the end of an irregular day.

Once that involved a little imbibing.

Those kinds of sleeps were somewhat more instant and lasted longer.

Once, I found myself at a place called Mitcheldever (you can google it – its miles from anywhere, 3 stops from my station) on the last train of the night.  There’s no phone signal there, I had no change for a phone and there’s about 3 houses and thats it for about 10 miles in each direction.

Luckily, a freight train pulled in on the other platform waiting for a signal, so I shot over and begged the driver to get me back to civilisation, which he duly did.  I had to catch a cab back to my stop, but hey, at least I was home.

Then I stuffed up badly.  I overshot my stop by one, ending up in the next town (where I previously caught the taxi from) on the last train.  And there were no taxis anywhere.  I phoned lots of cab companies, but it was way past midnight.  Bugger.  I would have called my (now ex) wife, but my daughter would have been sleeping too and that would have meant getting them up to get me – not clever.

So I thought I’d walk.

9 miles.

In the pitch black.

In a suit and posh shoes.

Along unlit roads with no footpaths.

I stopped a few times before that to try to hitch a lift, but it was way dark and nobody was stopping.  Funny that.

So I walked back.

Took me hours and by the time I was back to the station my feet were killing me.  In fact, the skin on the balls of my feet had rubbed off and my shoes were full of blood.  Bugger.  I rolled in in the middle of the night, stone cold sober, knackered, bleeding and exhausted.

Now I’m a little more careful with trains, but recently, in my new job, working hard, learning, using my brain every day, the journey is a little tiring.

And every day, I’m falling asleep again.

Its only a matter of time before I find myself at the end of the line in Mandurah, 2 stops and 15 minutes past where I need to be.  I just hope it’s not on the last train when that happens – its a looong walk from Mandurah to where I live!!


Its not been easy to sleep recently.  I don’t know why particularly – obviously being sick for the best part of 2 weeks didn’t help any, but I’m still not sleeping well.

In an effort to understand this and to try to do better, I downloaded an app for my iPhone called Sleep Cycle.

Its a clever little thing – it uses the motion sensor in the phone to detect if you are moving in bed, and the amount of movement tells it which sleep mode you’re in – from deep sleep (no movement) to dreaming (twitching perhaps?) to awake (tossing and turning and looking at the clock.  cursing detection optional)

It then will try to wake you up in the morning when you’re in your lightest sleep and as close to your alarm time as possible.  So you could get woken up 30 mins yearly, but the theory is that you’re nearly awake anyway so you’ll feel clear headed and refreshed rather than when you’re woken from deep sleep when you feel like you’ve had an elephant thrown at your head.

It worked fine yesterday as I was kinda awake at the alarm time – it got me up a little early but its theory was good.  This morning though, after a shit sleep all night, I was in deep sleep (finally) and it had no choice but to sound the alarm and wake me up from my coma.  Ugh.

So, here’s night before last – lots of deep sleep and it woke me up before I went back into another deep sleep cycle – cool 🙂

night before last - lots of sleep 🙂

Last night though – was awake lots, especially around 3am and it had no choice but to wake me up at my 5:45 alarm – 5am would have been better, but thats before it’s wake up threshold.

last night - awake for 1/2 the night - ugh

So, I need to find something to keep me asleep at 2-3am, cos thats when I really wake up.  I also need to set my alarm a little earlier, cos I know I’ll be awake at that time, so I may as well get up – there’s not a lot of sleep benefit to be had after that point.  I may use the time to go for a walk before getting ready for work.

Dear Tia (aka little doggy) *contains swearing

Dear Tia

You are a sweet little pooch, ever trotting around the house following one of us about with your little tail wagging happily, scampering around the garden and sleeping curled up in the sun resting your chin on a shoe.  Your fussing over the guinea pigs and mothering them when the girls bring them in to play with them is adorable and your begging expression and big brown eyes staring up at me whenever I eat toast is very cute, although ultimately utterly futile.  I even have a cute photo of you (although I don’t carry it in my wallet, that would be freaky wouldn’t it?)

Tia the doggy

But at 11pm, 12, 1 and 2am when you start yapping at something outside I would like to turn you into a dog shaped glove or perhaps a cushion or a stuffed dog.  You’re the most annoying creature on the planet.

I’ve had this conversation with you during the day, often going something like this

you:   yap yap yap bark yap
me:   shut UP! *squirts doggy with plant mister
you:  yap?
me:  No! *squirt*
you:  bark bark yap
me:  WTF, Shut. Up! *spray*
you: …

This happens often enough that I know you must realise how much the barking annoys us all.  Our displeasure, the shouting, the water spray, the being removed from the front room on the receiving end of my big toe, the being shut in the laundry when you just wont stop – it has to sink in, surely?

So why then, little pooch, do you yap for 1/2 the fucking night?  You must know we’ll be pissed off?

Sleep – ever heard of it?

Well its clear you haven’t.  And as I result, I haven’t either,  because at 6:30am this morning you forgot again, you irritating barking little creature.  6:30am after going to bed at 2:30am!  What the Fuck!

You don’t appear to need a wee as you laid restfully in the already warm sun on the back patio when I let you out.  There’s clearing nothing bothering you as you’re sitting by the window happily dozing again already.

So what the fuck is wrong with you, Tia?  What the shitting fucking bollocking hell is going through your walnut-sized brain?

Why, on a weekend when I really could use a lie in, when the girls are round at their father’s, when I have the most unbelievable sleep-depriving series of flights to do in just 6 days time, do you think I will be happy with 4 hours sleep?

I really would appreciate your urgent attention to this matter and taking some time to shutting the fuck up in the middle of the night and early in the mornings.

Best and warmest regards

The tired and grumpy meal ticket.

*open letter idea blatantly stolen from Lauren