To Sleep, To Dream, To Die?


NEW YORK (REUTERS) Dated: 6/3/12 – Many people have fought the urge to fall asleep during a boring meeting or the mid-afternoon slump but the problem seems to be more prevalent among airline pilots and train operators.

About a quarter of pilots and 23 per cent of train operators questioned in a National Sleep Foundation poll admitted that sleepiness had affected their job performance, compared to 17 per cent of non-transportation workers.

And about 20 per cent of members of both professions said they had made a serious error on the job because of their sleepiness.

‘The margin of error in these professions is extremely small. Transportation officials need to manage sleep to perform at their best,’ said David Cloud, the CEO of the Virginia-based foundation.

From: Bernard C

My comments …

I will just comment that shift work is no joke. Sometimes we wake up at 0330 hrs to report for work at 0430 hrs. That’s early morning shift. On other days, we work till 0100 hrs. By the time we go home it’s already 0200 hrs! Most of us suffer from eating disorder or gastric ailments.

Try going to bed by 2100 hrs to sleep. Can’t really sleep. By the next morning got to force myself to wake up by 0330 hrs. Tired? Sleepy? Dreamy? Of course! We are not machines. Especially when you are getting older, the body’s biological clock is slow to adjust. Just like jet lag, we are turned into zombies – the walking dead after a spell of early morning shift followed by post midnite shift.

Our life revolves around the 7-day rotating shifts with rotating off days without any social activities. When we work our friends rest but when our friends work we rest. That’s my routine for the past 17 yrs. When will it end it all? Sometimes I wonder.


How to solve this ‘can’t sleep’ sleeping problem? Simple. Just go to JB buy “Rhinathiol Promethazine” @RM18.00 or “Bena Expectorant” @RM12.00! Just take a little and sleep will set in after one hour. Can’t get it here cuz it’s controlled. Only in JB you can easily buy them. Just get a dozen and tekan them to get your much needed desired sleep.

Does anyone bother? Do they care? Not at all. That’s not my problem they say. The “door” is always open they keep chanting this mantra in unison! What can we say? Nothing can we say. Take it or leave it. Don’t kpkb.

When I hit 55 years in a few years’ time, I think I better change job. I just can’t keep on abusing my body indefinitely. Really langgar!


I am a finalist in the Singapore Blog Award 2012 – SOLD.SG Best What-The-Hell Blog! Please vote for me! Voting ends on June 30, 2012. More info on this page. Thks for your support.


About Gintai_昇泰

I'm a Chinese Singaporean living in the Eastern part of Singapore. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I write for pleasure. I also write mainly for my family and friends.
This entry was posted in Langgar. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to To Sleep, To Dream, To Die?

  1. Lohcifer says:

    Yes good sleep is restorative and is vital. In this day and age, God knows we all need quality sleep. I want to sleep well and in the end, to die well too. When my time is up, I want to go like my grandfather, an airline pilot who was allowed to continue flying way beyond his official retirement age. In his final moment, he slept through it all, unlike the hundreds of passengers in his plane who were screaming their heads off as the plane went down. But seriously, you shouldn’t be telling your readers to take cough mixtures to sleep. Prescribing medicine on your blog is not recommended. What’s more you are prescribing stuff that is not sold over the counter in Singapore. (Well, you did mentioned that they are “controlled” whatever that means.) Oh you are walking on thin ice here, my friend, and going down a a slippery slope though your intentions are honorable. Please don’t go around prescribing medication any more. Even qualified doctors do not do that online. May I suggest this? Since you are a Buddhist, how about advising your readers to meditate instead, that is, if they suffer from insomnia? Relaxation techniques or a small warm glass of milk never fail to put many people into a state of mind that quickly induces them to sleep. Worse case scenario a small shot of single malt will also help. Or even a small cup of camomile tea. A couple of shots of vintage port or cognac work for me personally. Plus it leaves a nice fragrance in my bedroom. Yes, try it sometimes – single malt, port or cognac. Maybe that’s what my grandfather did when he was flying that plane many years ago?

  2. agongkia says:

    To me sleeping is the most unproductive way of living.We are born to see and admire the beautiful things around us and you cannot do that with your eye close.

    I sleep less than 3 hours a day and I am very happy about my present situation.Even if my leader dun force me to work long hours just to pay for this and that,I will still sleep less than 3 hours.
    By sleeping 6 hours lesser than a normal person a day,I earn 6 hours a day,that is 180 hours,which is 7.5 days a month.
    That means I see more things in life and indirectly mean I have 3 months of extra living per year .Indirectly I have an extra bonus of extra 20 over years if I live up to 90.
    So if I die at 90,I actually live up to 110.
    Many spent their time surfing the net,glue their eye to their hand phone every now and then they will say they do not have enough time to sleep.
    We should have a campaign to encourage people to spent less time on their phone and surfing instead of encouraging one to have more sleep.
    Thats my opinion.I may be wrong.Be productive,sleep lesser,work and admire more.

  3. @Lohcifer,
    I wish I were a doctor but I’m not. No intention to tell readers to take medicine. I hope they are not gullible. It’s just cough syrup. Not serious abuse of drugs or narcotics at all. Normal cough medicine where u find everywhere even online. Just that here u need a doctor’s prescription. Like everything here it’s well controlled for your own good. I don’t take that. I prefer cognac like you suggest.

  4. @agonkia,
    I need to learn from you how u manage to sleep only 3 hrs of day? It’s amazing. U really gain more waking hrs by sleeping less provided u are alert and not yawning all the time. I still can’t believe that u sleep only 3 hrs a day?

  5. Lohcifer says:

    Gents, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Like agonkia I don’t sleep much – I go to bed about 2am or later if the book I’m reading is so grippling – I always read before bed – and am up at about 6am. Perhaps because by the time I put my book down, or it has fallen off my hands, I’ll already be so tired, that’s why I don’t need medication – just a sip of Louis XIII will do.

  6. SG Girl says:

    Gintai, pls don’t take cough syrup to aid you to sleep. A healthy person should not be relying on it to sleep; you may get addicted to it. Try melatonin supplement. People with jet lag or insomnia use that. (but please check on the side effects and if they can be taken when you’re on other medication, with a doctor or a pharmacist). You can also try exercise. Don’t take coffee, tea, coke, pepsi or any other caffeinated drinks hours before your bed time.

    I love to sleep. I can sleep anywhere, anytime but am a very light sleeper. I could be sleeping while in the MRT train in a 40%-60% mode; eg, for a 20mins journey, I could sleep (and have a dream) while hearing the annoucement on which station the train is at.

    Right now, (after lunch) my eyes are feeling heavy; gonna take a nap…. zzzzz….

    • Thks so much for your advice. I wonder how u nap inside the train and could even have a dream even sleeping on 40% to 60% mode.I guess u not alone. I always see pax sleeping inside the train which is quite common. In Japan, pax use the time inside the train to read books or magazines. Their train journey even longer than us – from city to another city. In case you dream of 4D, pls let me know so that I could buy. If I kena, I give u a treat OK?

      • SG Girl says:

        I happen to have a very active mind. Hence I can’t sleep soundly and dream alot and wake up frequently. I could wake up in the middle of my dream and fall back to sleep to have part B of the earlier dream. Slightest sound or aroma could wake me up. I’m irritated when awaken by neighbours’ cooking smell (can’t blame them but the design of the flat). Hence, I need ten hours of sleep instead of the normal eight hours (which is quite difficult for most of us since we clock in long working hours). Weekend is good to catch up on lost (or lack of) sleep.

        The PRC believe in the importance of sleep. Hence, after lunch they’ll pull out mattresses, lights off, incoming calls would not be answered and off they go to dreamland together.

        Gintai, your four hours of sleep is way to short. Your organs need to rest. Insufficient sleep/rest will put lots of stress on your body and organs…

        • How I wish to have Part B of earlier dream in between sleep. If it keeps repeating then it becomes a mini series of dreams – Part A, B, C etc in between sleep. Then maybe I can compile a book. Not only PRC, many other places they have their siesta after a good lunch. We used to see those Indian workers from PWD taking a nap underneath those big trees before they contd with their next half day of work.
          Thank you for your advice. I’ll take care of all my organs to main them in good performance! U also make sure to take care of your organs.

  7. Expensive Price says:

    Surprised that NTUC has not gone to bat on your behalf. Also why not make shift work permanent – less damaging to individuals especially the night owl types – in late 1990’s enlighten CEO at AHI hospital gave their grave shift worker more allowance – guess what everybody was happy – some mothers worked from 2200 to 0600 and could pack their kids off to school n then sleep.
    Maybe u can suggest to your new “enlightened?” mangement that this might be a better solution – making a system to work with people then screw your workers to preserve the system. Understand that scheduling gets slightly more complex but there are lots of software application that can make it a breeze
    hope u can succeed – you get better work environ,net and we get a sfaer andmore reliable MRT

  8. Expensive Price says:

    Gintai huat ah!!!
    From TRE……Shock & Awe wage moves by SMRT?
    SMRT recently increased the starting pay of their drivers by a whopping 35 percent. It was previously $1200 and now it is $1625. This is on the back of an earlier move by rival SBS Transit which raised the starting salary from $1375 to $1600………..

    SMRT paying their TO belly well ……35% more

    • Hello Expensive,
      If you want to “Huat Ah!”, you should have gone to Hougang earlier (Sat evening at Hougang stadium) to shout. Many will also join you and welcome you there if you shout Huat Ah!
      As far as train drivers are concerned, our starting pay is still $1,200. No change. Pay rise only for all bus drivers. In other countries, train drivers pay higher than bus drivers. Here it is diffferent cuz nobody wants to be bus drivers lah.
      I heard that the Downdown line under Delgrow (SBS Transit) is aggressively recuriting new staff. My colleague TO Reeza went for the walk in interview on Fri for “Roving Officer” post starting py is $1,750! So much better than his current pay of abt $1,400 and he has worked for few yrs here. I mentioned him on my previous post when he talked how the Msian govt provided low cost houing for the poor there.
      At the end of the day, it is the market that decides the pay of each profession. The law of demand and supply will eventually set in so to speak. Thks for informing me!

  9. Apex says:

    Only those who has work shift work will know the pain of forcing yourself to sleep and getting up in the early morning to work when you aren’t getting enough sleep.

    Unable to meet your friends is really part of shift work life. People who are on retail also faced the same issue.

    Is really challenging to get a balance in work, family and friends.

    • With solid 8 hrs + 1 hr meal break with a total of 9 hrs solid working how to intereact with frens and find partners. Even if u find partners how to make babies? Is this the “Swiss” standard of living? Here in Sg, we must work 44 hrs per week excluding the meal break of 1 hr each day/shift. If you include that, its more 44 hrs – maybe 51 hrs? If u check around around the 1st world world countries its defintely less than 44 hrs. I know UK its 35 hrs per week. We are far behind those 1st world countries even though we are the 3rd richest country in the world. The low wage workers still work like slaves. I was very touched and impressed by Professor Tommy Koh’s long article on Sat ST paper. You shld read it how he refuted this regime’s reluctance to increase workers’ pay and keep on harping on productivity. He also touched on ouer birth rates. He backed up his arguments with facts and figures from many countries in the 1st world. God bless him! I wish he could be our Manpower Minister or Labour Chief. He is definitely more sensible and humane than our better, betterer and betterest Zoro! Langgar!

  10. Read in Wikipedia, Randy Gardner holds the scientifically documented record for the longest period a human being has intentionally gone without sleep not using stimulants of any kind. He went without sleep for 11 days.

    I’ve been a shift worker for some 6 years. I can understand the effects, both at work and on social life. I was in what I’ll call ‘regular’ shift in that it follows a certain pattern. Others like pilots and marine and aviation engineering staff are normally on irregular shifts. Their, ‘irregular’ shifts can stretch from 4-12 hours and does not follow any particular pattern. Irregular shifts make planning at corporate and individual levels all the more challenging.
    Pilots and train drivers are of particular concern because many lives are in their hands. Not only that, they normally operate on their vehicle alone or with very just a ‘co-pilot’. Worst of it all, is that the nature of their jobs is very routine (makes one tend to loose focus) yet escalate very fast in an abnormal situation.
    It is not as bad if there’s always something related to do, like a taxi driver constantly looking out for traffic and passengers or a surgeon, firemen, police on patrol, etc. but pilots and train drivers? Their attention are normally required at the moving/taking off stage and arriving stage. For most of their journey, they vision are normally fixated at repeating ‘scenes’. This fixation or what scientist call ‘tunnel vision’* is what cause the operators to drift into lalaland.
    Age may play a part but age is not the only or major reason.
    The best way forward to help yourself at the individual level is to
    1) get adequate rest prior to the start of your shift
    2) switch your attention around your cabin. Don’t just stare at the tracks, tunnels, a particular knob or meter
    3) use all your sense to keep you awake. Listen to any abnormal sounds, smell for any abnormal signs, move your vision around, feel the knobs and lick… oops ok, you don’t need to lick anything but maybe suck on a sweet, coffe sweet.

    If you’re the shift planner, understand what your staff has to go through. Don’t just look at your corporate targets for planning.

    * If I remember the term correctly, it came from a psychology study that the continuous visual of a tunnel will turn most people into a sort of hypnotized state. This arises from a major train accident in Europe where a train passed a few stations and head right smack to the tunnel end. Nobody has any conclusive evidence on why the driver didn’t even slow down but this was one of the possibilities.

    • Ape,
      You really said it all as far as train is concerned. I cant comment much on train matters. But u said it for us train drivers. Lets make it clear that its you who said it not me ok? But of course I do agree with you. I would like to lick on something but cant lah! OK, just to tell you nobody cares abt us like I mentioned. How I wish someone cares for us. There are many things I cant say here – happenings to the nature of shift work like you said earlier. Thks for pointing them out. Cheers.

  11. dotseng says:

    Sleep is the ONLY way for the body and mind to repair itself. If you do not sleep regularly and restfully, then you will be leaving your backdoor open to all kinds of diseases to sneak it, as your immune system will be trashed. Sometimes, it is very difficult to get a restful sleep when one is on shift work. I find keeping a few fresh cardboards in the office is a very good way to sleep at work. I sleep very often a work. I am not coy abt it either, I just switch off all the lights in my office, draw the blinds and hang up the phone. But the trick to beating the shift blues is by exercizing regularly and no popping pills or relying on simulants – when I used to do shift work, after the end of the third shift, I would usually go for a morning jog followed by half an hour in the gym – when I wake up for the second shift just before work, I will do the same. The only time I don’t do this is during the 1st shift and my off days. That was when I used to be a salaried man. Now that I run my own business, I only work 6 hours a day – my day starts a 4.30am. I teach Kendo from 5.00am to 6.30 am – at 7.00 am. I have a big breakfast which doubles as a meeting to touch base with my staff and friends who visit my plantation, usually I have no problems polishing at least three bowls of rice, meat, veggies and soup – then I walk around my estate to supervise the workers, one round will be abt 3 hours walk. By 11.00am when the sun hangs high. I go back to my bungalow on the hill and I don’t come out till 4.00 pm, usually I take a siesta for a hour and a bit – from 4.00 to 6.30 I work, but it is usually very low intensity work. I have a very light dinner at 8.00. Soup fits me fine or just fresh fish. Don’t watch TV, but I listen regularly to the BBC world service. Never had any problems sleeping, not even when I am in the jungle.

    I have discovered through the years the best way to get a good nights sleep is by making sure you are first physical lean and in top shape. Never get flabby around the waist and make sure you can still run 5K in a flash and sleep will come very naturally. I sleep eight hours. I need it to remain effective.

    I hope this helps Gintai

    Darkness 2012

  12. Hi Darkness2012,
    Thks for giving us a glimpse of your daily routine. You are indeed an early bird starting your day at 0430 hrs. Teaching Kendo too! You need not go running with the kind of exercises like walking around the estate for 3 hrs. I hope one fine day I could pay a visit to your plantation to experience the jungle and the greenery. Yes I can see from your so many videos that you are super lean and fit just like a commando. Really envy you living or working in that sort of environment where exposure to electro magnetic fields and radio waves are at the min. Everyday, I am sitting on top of the 3rd rail current – high voltage of 750DC which kills instantly if you touch it with your bare hand. Everyday, I am also exposed to the radio waves and the image waves ( I dont know what you call it ) where the in cab CCTV captures the images on the 140 metres platform for us to see the pax. No bluetooth devices like earpiece could be used cuz those image beams are so powerful that they distort them! For more than 17 yrs, I am exposed to all these radiation and magnetic fields on top of 8 types of shifts. If I put you here – supere fit commando physiqe in my work environment without your Kendo practice, irregular meal times, no greenery away from your lovely trees to talk to etc, you will surely succumb in a matter of time. As it is, at least 5 of my colleagues already gone due to cancer and stroke. I have seen it and I know what Im talking about. Question is are we ‘underpaid’ or not productive enough to warrant more pay?I better hold my breath. If I talk too much I would be hauled up for another session of coffee! Langgar!

    • Scientifically NOT proven but folks from the kampong says we should walk around barefoot on ground… the ground where your feet touches the soil and grass. Makes a healthy body and balance with nature.
      Ape believe. Monkeys like to swing from tree to tree but apes stay on ground most of the time… ape smarter that monkeys, right?

    • dotseng says:

      You are most welcomed to come over with your family and friends spend 3 or 4 days in my plantation. I am sure once you have experienced the goodness of nature, you will return back to Singapore a new creation Gintai. All on me. Don’t even have to spend 10 cents, everything that I consume comes free from the land. Nice accommodations, just built a bungalow, big enough to play football in. No worries, if it gets too crazy in Singapore just drop me a comment in my blog and we will whisk you away.

      Darkness 2012

      • Alan Tang says:

        Thank you so much! I’ll wait for my fren to return home. He has expressed an interest in your sprawling estate. He should be back around Sep. I can’t take things free from frens. I’ll present you that Kwan Yu – General Kwan’s bamboo painting which you seem to have taken a liking. Hang it in your living room to admire its timeless beauty and poetry written in bamboo leaves! Tell all your frens it’s a gift from me. 2 days sojourn should suffice. We do not want to intrude into your exclusive “Shangri La” more than necessary. Will let you know. Cheers.

  13. Definitely agreed with you that apes more smarter than monkeys. We have Planet of the Lost Apes (not monkeys) and Pay Peanuts Get Monkeys(not apes)!
    It’s true that ppl live on the ground are more healthy than those living in the air. It’s common basic sense. If u live on the ground your feet are in constant contact with the chi of the ground. Whereas if you live most of the time on the air like most of us living in flats nowadays, your body lacks the chi or qi to balance your body systems. As such, there are illness and sickness plaguing modern living which we hardly heard of in kampung days. No need scientist or doctor to confirm this. Maybe they also ignorant of this fact. They based their opinion on evidence whereas we commoners based ours on instinct and shrewd observation to derive this conclusion.

Comments are closed.