When was the last time you slept (lying down) on a train? Or a better question: have you ever slept lying down on a train?
My guess is “no” , or, if you have, it was a long time ago. While overnight rail service played a role in Canada’s past, it’s no longer a preferred mode of travel. Multi-lane highways and cheap flights have replaced overnight rail service for most of us.
Still, there’s something alluring about the train. Maybe it’s the romance of exotic railway routes, like the Orient Express or the Trans-Siberian – trains that are still running today. Even if you’ve never slept on a train, you’ve likely read a book or article – or seen a movie – about these trains with their closed cabins and worlds of intrigue.
The sleeper train to Scotland
It’s this romantic nostalgia for something I’ve never done that hooked me on the news that Scotland is introducing a totally new sleeper service between London and many destinations north this summer. These totally new trains are made for the modern traveller. Some cabins have their own shower and bathroom, the mattresses are top notch, and all the mod-cons (like wifi) are onboard. You can read about it here.
The thought of leaving a world city like London at night and waking up in the morning to the Scottish Highlands whizzing by made me want to book an overnight journey. I haven’t yet, but it’s a trip that’s definitely on my list.
There’s a whole world of trains
Of course, the news of the new train in Scotland got me looking at other sleeper train journeys. There are many. Some are luxurious (there are some high-end ones in India and Africa), but many others are just interesting journeys by rail. This Lonely Planet guide to 10 amazing train journeys is worth a read.
And no matter your vehicle of choice, if you’re taking a trip this summer, happy travels!
Thanks for reading,
Ian M. Hull
Standing was the new sitting. Now, sleeping is the new standing.
Behold – the sleeping desk:
As we all know, focus and attentiveness are key to workplace success and efficiency. Coffee is a great aid to maintaining this focus. However, afternoon coffee consumption can interfere with nocturnal sleeping patterns, leading to drowsy, unfocused mornings, thereby exacerbating the problem.
The solution? The sleeping desk (aka the nap desk).
According to an article by theheartysoul.com, an afternoon nap can improve mental alertness. A short nap can be more beneficial than a long sleep. (As if we needed more reasons to nap, see “8 Scientific Benefits of Napping”.)
The sleeping desk, designed by Nancy Leivaditou, is a multipurpose desk that can transform into a bed. See the desk in action, here.
I don’t know about you, but on those rare occasions when I sleep in on a weekend morning, I often feel guilty about missing a good part of the day rather than happy and relaxed knowing that I got some extra sleep.
Why is that? While some of it is the legitimate realization that I might have missed a part of the morning that I enjoy (leisurely breakfast, reading or watching the news, catching up on sports highlights), the other part is (I think) that part of society that encourages us to push and drive ourselves to constantly succeed.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a mother or father at home looking after kids, or an entrepreneur launching a new business, there’s always an Instagram or blog post that takes “being your best” to a new level. We glorify overachievement and consciously (or subconsciously) vilify sleep as weak and time-wasting.
We need to stop doing that. Research has shown just how significantly “under-sleep” negatively impacts our body and our performance. This article refers to under-sleep as “the new sugar”, and a health time bomb. You can read more about the impact here.
There’s even specific advice out there to deal with those guilty feelings of sleeping in on a Saturday morning. The company behind the meditation app “Headspace” has some great advice on how to shift your thinking about extra sleep from negative to positive:
And finally, there’s that other guilty pleasure that so many try to hide: napping. Other than taking too long a nap and feeling groggy, there really are no negatives to this activity, just a long list of positives. And if you want to learn how some famous men and women (such as Churchill, Da Vinci, Thatcher and Clinton) used napping to their advantage, this list of 15 top nappers will get you thinking.
Thank you for reading!