We've all hopped on public transport and found the gentle rock of a train or slow movement of a bus can send us into a gentle slumber, before frantically waking at the tannoy calling our next stop. We rush off with our handbag, breathing a sight of relief we didn't wake up in a depot in the middle of nowhere.
And, while the majority of us try to close our eyes and have a 'light' nap while we make the commute home, sleepy travellers are actually less likely to miss their stop than you might think.
To find out why, New York Times magazine reporter from 'Science of Us' Stephanie Bucklin asked Dr. Marc I. Leavey, a primary-care specialist based in Lutherville, Maryland, and Dr. Ronald Chervin, a neurologist and director of Michigan Medicine's Sleep Disorders Centre about why people fall asleep so well on public transport but, more often than not, are able to wake up at just the right moment.
Bucklin found out that one of the reasons why commuters are able to sleep and wake up at the right time is due to routine. Leavey explained: 'Your body is able to learn a routine as long as it's a routine.'
For example, for someone who takes the tube or bus to work every day, the body somehow learns to sense the 'stop and go' of each line and will naturally make up a person after a certain set of stops.
Of course, regular delays and changes in routes would disturb this pattern and your body's natural learning of your daily route.
And, that's not forgetting there's less of a chance of you waking up if you've had a hard night out or lack of sleep and fall into a deep REM sleep, according to Chervin, although the noises and hustle and bustle on public transport means you'd have a tough time falling into a deep REM state, anyway.
The professionals also suggested that commuters are able to wake up because they're still hearing the announcements of stops even during sleep.
'The brain does screen out some stimuli during sleep,' noted Dr. Chervin. But your brain is actually primed to hear some stimuli more than others, such as your regular stop.
Chervin also argued that most people are probably more awake than they think they are while napping on public transport.
He suggests that it's likely a traveler will wake up at each stop, check if they're at the point of destination, and fall back to sleep, without remembering having done so. 'You have to be awake for a certain amount of time to remember,' he added.
You might even wake up every time the bus or train arrives at a stop, or when you heard a stop called but don't remember waking up, which makes you convince yourself you've slept straight through your journey and, somehow, woken up at just the right time.
And, here's us thinking we were geniuses.
However, if you find yourself regularly falling asleep on the way to and from work, or the second you settle your bum into a seat on the bus, you might want to take a look at why.
'If you're falling asleep the minute you're sitting down for 20 minutes, there's probably something wrong with your sleep health,' said Chervin.
'Those of us who are more sleep-deprived than others will be more likely to go into deeper stages of sleep faster … and may have more trouble waking up at a designated or specific time,' he explained.
If you do have problems waking up on pubic transport, Leavey suggests you try training your body to learn when to wake itself up.
He suggests making a routine by getting on public transport at the same time each day, setting your phone alarm (use earplugs so not to annoy your fellow commuters) for approximately three minutes before your stop (or use Google Now's alarm feature which automatically calculates when a user needs to get off public transport) and you'll gradually be able to teach your body clock to wake up at the same time every day.