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Various CTA sleeping styles

After an exhaustive study (it made me sleepy), I can report on the most common CTA sleeping positions:

  1. Head leaned back. An older woman under 5 feet tall, feet barely reaching the floor, naps in the aisle seat. Her head leans all the way back so that it fits snugly under the raised grab bar on top of the seat.
  2. Lolling, supported head. These folks lean their head against the wall, window or glass partition. More often than not, their head rolls back and forth on the support device.
  3. Straight-up sleeper. I really admire these guys. They just sit in their seat -- some even stand -- with their head held straight up, eyes closed, sawing logs. Their head barely moves -- no sudden nods that wake them up. Such talent.

What did I miss?


You also have the late-night one person sleeping on their friend (or so you assume!) or both people snuggled up together.

Not as common during rush hour though :)

I've always been fascinated by the forward slump, when the person is practically bent in half, face approaching knees / lap area. These are usually the type of folks who appear to be riding the train from one end of the line to the other, just to get a nap.

You see it a lot on the Blue Line, particularly coming from ORD.

I always admired the people with makeshift pillows, such as the book or balled up jacked propped between the shoulder and wall, or (as I am known to do on occasion) wrapped around a duffle bag on the lap.

As a long time train sleeper (I wanted to use 'napper', but then it would sound as if I was a thief of trains...), I have found that by far the most comfortable sleeping position for me is due to the incredibly convenient positioning of the two rear rows at the back of the car.

Behind these last two rows (1 on on each side) and the inward facing seats behind them is a window, the interior ledge of which provides a great armrest. The upward bend in the ledge lets you comfortably lock your upper arm in at the elbow. If you put your arm into the ledge, and bend your forearm back so that you can lean your head on your hand, you'll find a very comfortable resting position. It not only allows you to use your shoulder, forearm and hand as a brace and cushion, but it lets you avoid putting your head directly on the frequently greasy, nasty glass.

When my preferred seats are unavailable, I generally look for one of the rows in the middle of the train that is in between windows, so I can lean my head on the wall of the train or I'll head to the inward facing seats at the end of the car. Sometimes I'll lean forward, resting my head on my hands, which are supported by my knees, although this is only even slightly comfortable when I've got a heavy jacket for a pillow. One of the only positives of cooler weather is having a coat that can serve as a pillow when I'm commuting.

Fortunately, I'm not so exhausted that I need to nap on the trains very often, but after several years of working jobs that required me to get up at 5am, I learned to sleep where I could. Having that extra 15 to 30 minutes of winks made all the difference when I'd be getting 4 or 5 hours during the night.

I don't know. Sleeping on the train. Isn't that dangerous?

I read about a guy ticketed for sleeping on the train. I think it had to do with his crazily dangerous legs, according to the ticketing officer, even though they were tucked in behind the seat in front.

Is it true that there's a kind of social agency set up at ORD to help people with nowhere to do, addiction problems, etc? Can't remember where I read it.

I simply fold my arms and put my head down. Works for me!

I'm one of those people that close their eyes while standing up in the train. I don't ever really fall asleep, because I'm afraid of falling over. I'm just "resting my eyes". If I have sunglasses on, it helps to disguise the fact that my eyes are closed. Otherwise, I'm guessing it looks kind of weird to see someone just standing there, lids down.

I never ever sleep on the train only because in my years of riding the El I've seen the bags of sleeping ladies snatched and I even saw a man take a razor blade and cut out the pockets of a sleeping guy and took his wallet and everything he had. The razor blade incident was late at night but the purse snatching was at the height of rush hour on the red line so no sleeping or even nodding off for me!!

Is anyone else amazed at the number of people who board the trains with their bags or purses wide open displaying all their cash, credit cards, El Pass etc...I'm not even a thief but it would be insanely easy to steal from their bags and they'd be none the wiser...If I'm thinking that imagine what the skilled pick pocket is thinking...Must be his lucky day right? I often wonder if it's sheer stupidity or if they just think people don't steal?

"I often wonder if it's sheer stupidity or if they just think people don't steal?"

I think they are one and the same, LadyDay.

Yeah I realized that after I posted...meant to say or they don't think people will steal from THEM...but yes that would still be stupidity. :-)

I read an article in the trib a several months ago about the social agency that kris was refering too. It's called the Haymarket Center.
I have also heard of people getting tickets for sleeping on the trains.

Concerning safety, I have to say that if I were a woman I probably wouldn't feel comfortable sleeping on the train. I've never have to deal with most of the things my wife tells me about putting up with while on transit (BTW- Have any of the female CTA users here ever been hit on by CTA personnel? If so, has it happened regularly? Did you file a complaint?). Being a guy who is pretty solidly built, I never have felt like a target.

Of course I still take common sense precautions like keeping my wallet and cell phone in an interior or rear pocket and keeping my backpack either between my feet or curled around my arm.

You forgot to mention the seated nodder.
They nod on and off and snap to attention before every stop to make sure they haven't missed theirs. Pulled that one lately.

I saw this last week. The person was apparently reading his book when he fell asleep. The book was still open, head tilted down but his eyes were completely shut. Every once in a while he would take a deep breath lift his head straight up, but it was slowly fall back down to it's original position. I guess he's gonna have to read that page over again.

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