You can try an easier food dispenser toy, such as toilet paper tubes - start with both ends open, then you can squish one end shut.
I think the 2nd cat is a good idea, especially if you will be consistently gone for that much of the day. You might have 4am cavorting, but probably not so much meowing.
My boy does that on occasion as well, & it seems he'll do what he'll do despite all the food, water, second cat, toys, etc. He also has an absolutely horrid meow so it's rather hard to take, but we just live with it.
It has been my experience that the Siamese breed meows the most. Does he have any of this in his family tree? I, too, would recommend a second cat but just be sure it has no Siamese traits.
Alas, none of my current batch are Siamese, but they are my favourite breed of cat, even though they meow frequently and loudly (though I've found they are so people oriented that they tend to do their meowing during the day when their staff are up and about).
My kitty is a British Blue mix.
My son has a British Blue and it is a handsome, sweet cat. She is very distinctive with a stocky build, broad head and shortish tail. She loves attention and is definitely a lap kitty.
This is my boy Purr-Dee.
Description is about the same.
I think another cat will stop your problem. In fact I've had the same problem years ago, and a second cat restored harmony at once. Just now your cat is very focussed on you; you only have to snore little louder and he'll decide that it's time for action.
Now that the days are lengthening and the light is stronger my cats are a lot noisier. With a high wind on top they run around like mad and have the time of their lives.
A beauty! but then, I've never seen an ugly cat. Try to find out what sort of cat Rick would get along with. And use Feliway, to make them feel at home.
Long before Feliway-times I had striped tabby Ludwig who wouldn't let me sleep. He was a real alpha male type, but when I came home with 4 weeks old Mischa - neglected by her mother because her eyes were inflamed - he started mothering at once. First time I saw a tomcat with painfully red nipples.