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Friday, 7 February 2014

Friday Five: Places to fall asleep

Happy Friday, everyone!

I've done it again... come home from work, fed my boys, eaten my tea, sat down on the sofa with a cuppa to browse the internet and see what's going on in the world- and just woken up.

A waste of a Friday evening? Probably.

An unusual occurrence? Certainly not.

Impressive? Maybe... let me explain.

I have no trouble sleeping. It's almost counted as a talent. My ability to go from relaxed to R.E.M in the shortest of steps is one I've developed over the years, through a consistent regime of eating badly and burning the candle at both ends. Given the correct combination of exhaustion, warmth and sugar-crash, I can, and often do, fall asleep instantly and deeply in the most inappropriate places. But sometimes I do it just because I can. Here are some of my favourites places for a sneaky snooze.

1. The sofa.
I'm sure we've all experienced the early evening slump: it's only natural, after a hard day at work. But what about the mid-morning one? Or, my personal best, the "up and dressed and ready for work cat-nap"? On more than one occasion, I've woken on time, been ready on time, and realised I could have had that extra fifteen minutes in bed after all. So I sleep. I blame my recliner chairs.

2. On the bus/train.
Maybe it's the soothing, rocking motion. Maybe it's the desire to avoid social contact with strangers. Maybe it's the copious amounts of alcohol consumed before the last train home. For whatever reason, I can happily fall asleep on public transport. Five minutes, tops, before I wedge my head against the window and journey by myself to dreamland. I have considered using "sleep-buddies" to wake me just before I reach my stop, but I've found it more reliable to set the alarm on my phone to wake me a couple of minutes before I'm due to arrive (sleep buddies being inclined to find it funny to tip-toe away and leave me snoozing). It usually works. I say usually, because twice I've fallen asleep and missed my stop entirely, ending up being woken by night-shift cleaners in Brighton station.

3. Meetings.
At my previous place of work, I was considered the entertainment during staff meetings and INSET days. I'm sure bets were placed on how long it would take my head to start rolling and jerking upright as I fought my urge to fall asleep. As soon as my bottom touched the chair, my lids would droop. A couple of times I even nodded off during morning assembly, much to the amusement of my pupils (though not the senior leadership team). It's easier to get away with when there's a table and handouts. I've mastered the art of propping myself up so it appears I'm studying the paperwork thoroughly, when in actual fact my eyes are closed. Don't tell anyone...

4. At my desk.
My problem here is that my "marking books" posture is very similar to my "pretending to study the handouts" posture, so I think I confuse my body. After a big lunch or a hectic afternoon, I find it especially difficult to remain conscious when sitting for prolonged periods of time. The peace and quiet required to concentrate on giving quality feedback is just too similar to the peace and quiet required for a nap. I have fallen asleep in the middle of writing sentences, though never suffered the actual humiliation of waking face down in a Big Write with ink on my cheeks. It's only a matter of time, though.

5. Luggage racks.
I really can sleep anywhere. On a very long train journey in India, with no seats, no floor space and little sleep the night before, I climbed up into a luggage rack to catch up on some much-needed rest. Luckily, this being India, no one batted an eyelid, and I was even offered breakfast when I eventually woke. I have evaluated luggage racks on British trains, and they just don't meet the grade. Shame.

How about you? Do you have a talent for sleeping? Where's your usual spot- or the most unusual?

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