Aug 25, 2011|
Increasingly, when I wake up in the morning, I feel terrible.
This may be a consequence of growing older, or it may more likely be due to being hungover in the heat, which is just another way to say that it is due to life in Hong Kong. I asked a doctor about this and he told me, “limit your alcohol, sleep eight-10 hours a night, and try drinking warm milk before bed.” Sure, that would work if I was an independently wealthy baron living in a villa in the Maldives. But this is Hong Kong. There’s pollution, light pollution, sound pollution, motorcycles, honking cars, clucking animals, and ever-present sewage smells. So we need a new paradigm, a How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep If You Live In Hong Kong.
1.Prepare. By “prepare” I don’t mean stack a set of flavored condoms by your nightstand but instead prepare for sleep. This means before you go out (or in the morning) make sure you make your bed, place your air conditioner control somewhere sensible*, put your pajamas on top of your bed, put your toothpaste and brush by the sink, and take your weird sleep stuff out (e.g. retainer/mouth guard/sleep apnea Darth Vader mask) if you are a weird sleep person.
2.Drinkers, Prepare. If you’re going out on the town, more preparatory tasks:
a. Pour three tall glasses of water and set aside two Panadol. When you get home, no matter how sober you think you are, drink all three glasses of water and take the Panadol.
b. Put your clothes hamper somewhere visible. You want to be able to throw your clothes into it instead of strewing them on the floor like some kind of clothes-wearing animal (like the chimp who plays baseball).
c. Pre-set your AC remote to your favorite temperature so you can push one button and turn it on. Drunkenly fumbling to make your room warmer or colder in the dark is not sexy.
d. Flip over half of your duvet so you can fall right into bed instead of on top of it.
3.Optimal Temperature Please. Hong Kong plays a Jedi mind trick by making it so hot outside and so cold in office that you think 23 degrees is normal. However, in your office you are wearing much more clothing than at home—unless you work in Wan Chai. So when you get back, hit up 25 or 26 degrees and wait. It will feel too hot but your body will adjust to it quickly. Don’t pull that amateur shit and go 19 degrees and wake up in the morning with a cough, a sore throat, and a high electricity bill.
4.Let There Be Dark. There is nowhere actually dark in Hong Kong, and yes, I am assuming the New Territories are an independent state, just like Taiw—[insert sound of me being gagged and thrown into a black van]. You need super blackout curtains to make it dark. On top of this, you need some tape or other curtains for that annoying hole above the blackout curtains where it’s still light out. On top of that, you may need an eye mask. Humans sleep in the dark. Try to make it that way.
5.Simon & Garfunkel It. Like dark, it’s hard to find silence in Hong Kong so my best advice is just try. Earplugs can work (though uncomfortable), also seeing if you can adjust your sleep times to sleep around the construction. You can also get a machine that sounds like the ocean or a heartbeat, though you’ll seem like a yuppie prick. Whatever—at least you won’t have dark eye circles.
*I once found mine in my bathtub.