'Sleep is for the weekends': Bleary eyed, but Singapore World Cup fans still going strong

'Sleep is for the weekends': Bleary eyed, but Singapore World Cup fans still going strong

Singapore Sports Hub screening
Spectators watch a live World Cup game. (Photo: Facebook/Singapore Sports Hub)

SINGAPORE: The Thio family enjoy a regular family dinner every weekend, dining at a Thai restaurant close to their home. But for the past two weeks, their dishes have come with an extra serving of World Cup on the side as they catch games on their son Lester's handphone.

"My parents don't really watch football, but because of the World Cup, my mom and dad have become more interested," Mr Lester Thio, 24 told Channel NewsAsia. "They also give their opinions on the game and that's pretty funny."

Football fever has gripped their household, and Mr Thio, a marketing intern, has caught every match of the tournament, which started on Jun 14. He has been sleeping three to four hours per night on average.

"The games are (at) 8pm, 10pm and 2am, so even if you want to sleep it's quite difficult," said Mr Thio. "I just have a coffee at work which helps me stay awake (the next day)."

This year, games are being held at various venues in Russia, which are three to six hours behind Singapore.

Mr Thio, who is rooting for Brazil this World Cup, watches pre-match shows and surfs the Internet in between matches. But he admits that fatigue does kick in towards the end of the week.

"I was actually quite tired last Friday as it was an accumulation of sleep debt over the whole week," added Mr Thio. "I catch up on sleep during the weekends."

Another World Cup fan, Mr Jagdish Singh, has watched all but three of the 32 opening games, despite having to be in the office at 9am in the morning.

To stay healthy, he takes vitamin C tablets daily and makes sure to drink lots of water.

"So far, so good. I'm still able to survive the day," said Mr Jagdish. "The weekdays are sometimes a bit tiring but I still can pull through.

"It's a must-watch competition, the best one in football, so I'd say it's worth sacrificing my sleep to watch all these games."

Mr Jagdish makes sure to sleep in till noon on the weekends, to make up for the long nights earlier in the week. "Even if I don't sleep, I make sure I don't do anything too strenuous," he added.

Mr Koh Ming Swee has also watched at least 20 World Cup games so far. Mr Koh, a Chelsea supporter, said that the lack of sleep has "not been an issue".

There's also a "social aspect" to the games, as friends who are not football fans will gather to watch games, he said.

"I'm used to late nights anyway, World Cup or not," said Mr Koh. "Since the World Cup only comes once every four years, sacrificing some sleep is worth it."

Singapore clinic
Patients waiting to see the doctor at a clinic in Singapore. (File photo: TODAY)

Doctors Channel NewsAsia spoke to said that they have not seen an increase in patients during the first two weeks of the tournament. This is partly because the period coincides with the school holidays when general practitioners usually do not see as many patients.

But they warned against an accumulated lack of sleep.

"We need at least six to eight hours of 'battery charging'," said Dr Gideon Ng, a general practitioner. "If you don't charge your battery, it's just like your handphone - which will function sub-optimally. This weakens your immune system and you'll be susceptible to all kinds of infection, especially viral infections."

"You cannot be in (sleep) deficit for more than 24 hours. If you have a deficit from the day before, you should replenish it as soon as possible."

But these World Cup fans are undeterred.

"It's only for a month or so. Either way, plan which matches are 'must-watches' in advance so you know when you can sleep more. Then get more rest on the weekends, and take care of your health in general outside of that," said Mr Koh, who works as a copywriter at a creative agency. 

"It's getting closer to the knockout stages, and every game has become a must-watch," added Mr Thio. "I'm not going to miss out, unless there's some big catastrophe."

Source: CNA/mt(hm)