Rise and shine, office worker. It’s the start of yet another day at the office. And you know what that means: Meetings left and right, frantically answering emails, rushing to finish that 100-page report, yet more meetings…
According to the Ministry of Manpower, Singaporeans worked 45.9 hours a week. That's an average of slightly over nine hours a day. It is one of the highest averages in the world – no wonder you’re pretty much drained and looking like a zombie by 3pm.
But while coffee is everyone’s perk-me-up, there might be a better way to recharge and get over that afternoon slump: A power nap.
BETTER THAN COFFEE
“Compared to coffee or energy drinks, power naps can give the body much-needed rest rather than trying to sustain energy or concentration, which can be counter-productive,” said Dr Tripat Deep Singh, a Philips International Sleep Specialist at the Philips’ Sleep and Respiratory Education Centre.
“It can give a quick boost to mood, energy and mental alertness, taking away sleep pressure and leaving the person feeling refreshed. When done correctly, it can can be a good way of combating fatigue, leading to improved concentration and productivity for the rest of the day.”
So how exactly does it work? According to Dr Singh, a full sleep cycle lasts around 90 minutes and comprises five stages. A power nap – which should ideally be between 20 to 30 minutes for optimum energy boost – lasts through the first two stages, when the body enters a light sleep and one’s breathing and heart rate slow down.
“This allows the body to rest while not entering into deep sleep,” he said, adding that going beyond half an hour means your body enters the latter phase or “sleep inertia”, which won’t be good as it will leave one feeling groggy and even more tired.
SLEEPING ON THE JOB IN SINGAPORE
But the big question is: Is it even feasible to take power naps in Singapore?
“In busy office environments, it can be challenging to fit in power naps. Lunchtime is often the best bet, and some companies now even offer dedicated areas or sleep ‘pods’ where employees can fit in some quick shut eye,” said Dr Singh.
But he also added that at end of the day, power naps are no substitute for the seven full hours of sleep needed at night.
“Power naps can be a handy ‘quick fix’ but they shouldn’t be relied upon as part of a daily routine; instead Singapore’s office workers need to make adjustments – from sticking to a regular bed time, to logging off at least half an hour before bed – to feel the benefits of getting enough sleep,” he said.
While you sleep on Dr Singh’s last piece of advice, here are some of your best bets – or beds – for a quick and refreshing snooze during the work week.
1. "WATCH A MOVIE" AT SUNTEC CITY
Sleeping during a movie might seem obvious – it’s cool, dark enough so no one can see your drool and there’s sound so no one can hear you snore. But try sleeping through a Michael Bay film.
Fortunately, there’s the Executive Zen Zone option at Golden Village’s Gold Class Suntec City – where there’s no pretence of watching a movie whatsoever. You just sleep at lunchtime. They’ll even throw in free water and a steam eye mask. There’s also an add-on lunch option, with choices ranging from smoked duck salad to roasted chicken with risotto.
Priced at S$10 from Mon to Fri, 12pm to 1.30pm. Add-on lunch is at S$8. Located at Golden Village, Suntec City.
2. RENT A MASSAGE BED
Okay, so Chop! Chop! Massage Express is a proper massage parlour. But there’s an option here without the actual service – you can just rent a massage bed and switch off for half an hour in the afternoon. Its website even cites the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Bill Clinton as “famous nappers”. As if we even needed any convincing.
Priced at S$28 and S$20 (between 2.30pm and 5.30pm). Located at Chevron House, 30 Raffles Place, #02-36; and Marina Bay Link Mall, 8A, Marina Boulevard, #B2-73/74. http://www.chopchop.com.sg/
3. BOOK A POD CAPSULE
There are quite a few capsule hotels in Singapore at the moment. Here’s the first of two options for a proper pod experience (ie, you don’t have to share a room with anyone). The Pod @ Beach Road is a hotel with all the amenities you’d expect from one, including wifi. But it’s got a few pod options, including a single pod suite (which comes with a personal working space) and male- and female-only sections where you share with other people. Remember that it’s basically a hotel so you’re paying for a minimum of one day – which comes with breakfast and complimentary laundry service.
Prices start at S$40 and check-in is at 3pm. Located at 289 Beach Road Level 3. https://www.thepodcapsulehotel.com/en/
4. BOOK THIS POD CAPSULE INSTEAD
The Capsule Pod Boutique Hostel is another option, this time located in Chinatown. It’s essentially a fancy hostel, so the pods are all in shared rooms (mixed and female-only). Again, it’s a typical capsule hotel so you can stay the night should you wish.
Prices start at S$33. Located at 38 Upper Cross Street. http://www.capsulepod.sg/
5. TRY OUT A GOOGLE BED
You’ve probably heard of Google’s fancy nap pods – the sleep stations called EnergyPods that supposedly use NASA science for that ultimate power nap, where you’re cocooned in such a way so you’ll get maximum blood flow in your body as relaxing music is piped in.
Not a Google employee? It’s okay – you can drop by Virgin Active, which has the same thing and where you can catch a 20-minute snooze. There’s a catch though: You have to be member of the gym.
Weekly fees are at S$49. The sleep pods are available at two Virgin Active branches: One Raffles Place, Level 6, Tower 2; and Tanjong Pagar Centre, #06-01,7 Wallich Street.