Categorized | Technology, Travel

Scientists find cure for insomnia in public transport

Posted on 21 May 2013

Experiment with 20 participants all found restful sleep while travelling

Scientists from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) have found an innovative cure for insomnia – public transportation. Indeed, all 20 participants in the groundbreaking experiment to cure the urban malaise managed to attain rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – the most restful part of the activity – while travelling on the bus or train.

“We previously thought that participants would fall asleep the quickest when placed in the seat designated for handicapped people, but we found that people tend to fall asleep when avoiding eye contact with strangers squeezed awkwardly against them,” said chief researcher Ai Sui Jiao, adding that the results of the experiment came as a “shock” to the team. The team had previously thought that pregnant women or old people were catalysts for travel drowsiness.

Ai also added that prolonged sleep in such conditions could lead to better subconscious reflexes and overall balance.

“I take the train from Jurong to Changi everyday for work. And after sleeping on the journey everyday for a month, I found myself being able to subconsciously avoid body contact with everyone around me. As if I grew a forcefield!” said one participant, Bu Die Dao.

The experiment was sponsored by mattress manufacturer King Koil, who will replicate the moving sensation experienced on trains and buses on their next range of mattresses.

The following pictures from the experiment have been republished from King Koil, the king in sleep technology and STOMP, the project’s official research partner.


Please oh god, don't look at me

Thou. Shalt. Not. Peek. Over. Her. Papers. Sleep….


Double forcefield

To avoid any chance that we may fall asleep on each other, let’s just grow a forcefield.


After an exhausting round of candy crush

After an exhausting round of candy crush, when there’s nothing else to do. Sleep.



“Is she pregnant or fat” – avoid awkward moment. Sleep.



I will not stare at her tits….I will not stare at her tits. Sleep.



I will not touch his arm…I will not touch his arm…



A masterful act of avoiding body contact to a tenth of an inch



“You look old. But will you be insulted if I give up my seat?” Sleep.



Ask not what the lights can do to avoid your eyes. Ask your eyes what they can do to avoid the light.



When the person behind the glass screen becomes too painful to look at.



Ditto #9



Awkward eye-contact moment avoided.



That awkward moment when you realise that everyone in the cabin is young, but you’re the only one in the handicapped seat. Sleep.



Pregnant or fat? Sleep.



Yes I am a man carrying my girlfriend’s bag. And I’m secretly ashamed. Sleep.



We have nothing to say to each other do we? Sleep.



Ditto #16



Ditto #10



Ditto #16



Note the evenly spaced out emptiness in between the well balanced ladies catching some shut eye.

This post was written by:

- who has written 268 posts on New Nation.

Joey is an intern at New Nation. He hopes to be as funny as Belmont one day and get laid at least twice a month.

Contact the author

  • Azmi

    Some are not even guilty of giving up their seats as the train are empty? Why is it wrong to sleep on the train?