PPFF #122

I meandered this week in search of something to write about that wasn’t cringe-worthily trite. I tried themed quotes; in particular meaninglessness of life. It depressed the life out of me. So I binned that. Then I started reading an article about the gender myth surrounding colour preferences; boys for blue and girls for pink, after I suddenly wondered why I felt so compelled to take that pink bell off my bike (in short, apparently it’s just social conditioning). Then I remembered what i thought was a cute little list called ‘six phases of a project’:

Enthusiasm, Disillusionment, Panic, Hunt for the guilty, Punishment of the innocent, and Reward for the uninvolved.

But I mentioned this to a group of colleagues so recently that it felt like recycling and I could almost hear someone saying “I’ve heard that one before, Lee (not my real name)”. So I backed away and had a few drinks instead. That turned out to be a good move. Because it reminded me of numerous occasions when I had fallen asleep on the bus/train home waking up many miles away from my stop.


I guess tiredness as well as effects of alcohol goes some way toward explaining the ubiquitous sights of people sleeping on public transportation but ‘isn’t there any more to it than that?’, I wondered.

Luckily I found the abstract for a paper entitled “Rhythm of the rails – on the brain” by Martin Lenhardt, from Bioacoustics Laboratory. Unfortunately I didn’t have access to the full paper but from what I’ve read in the abstract,  it seems “vibrotactile stimulation can entrain the electroencephalogram into the low frequency regions associated with sleep”.

Ok. I didn’t really understand that last sentence and I have absolutely no clue as to what vibrotactile stimulation or electroencephalogram means but I’m guessing (again) that earlier sentence means the frequency range of vibrations from moving trains helps induce sleepiness in passengers, much like those vibrating baby rockers/chairs.

Now we know why. For those of you who suffer from insomnia, don’t bother with Nytol. Instead have a wee dram and get on the train going wherever, and if you happen to live in London, I suggest you get on the Circle Line.

Have a vibrotactily stimulated Friday.