By Thet Hninn Zin (21A13A)
“Time is moving too fast.”
“I don’t want to go back to school on Monday.”
It feels like all our calls have been answered—a seemingly unlimited expanse of time during these weeks of circuit breaker and the May holidays. Yet, you now see people posting on their Instagram stories with captions such as “I’m so bored” and “I don’t have anything to do at home”, itching for something new to do after far too long in the confinements of their own home. In such times of dire crises, we often overlook the best thing to do when we have an excess of free, unmoderated time: sleep.
Though seemingly simple, it is a multifaceted issue. The types of naps we can pursue exist on a spectrum, each varying in level of satisfaction, amount of post-sleep productivity, and healthiness (its impact or contribution to your sleep cycle and physical health).
First, we have the 15-minute power nap. This option is presumably a popular one, be it between HBL tutorials or lectures, or after revision when you require a much-needed break from all the screen time. In terms of satisfaction, it is sub-par to your typical one-hour naps as it jolts you awake before you can truly fall asleep. Nevertheless, it is still reliable if you need a short burst of energy to get you through another task you have planned for the day. Lastly, it does not have much impact on your existing physical health as it takes up a significantly short period of your time. Overall, it is a pretty solid option! However, do practise due discretion when pursuing these 15-minute naps, as you run the risk of oversleeping and waking up three hours past your alarm.
Level of satisfaction: 2/5
Post-sleep motivation: 4/5
This brings me to my next topic of review: the three-hour afternoon nap. The three-hour afternoon nap is the ultimate guilty pleasure. You sleep without the intention of waking up at a stipulated time, and end up waking three hours later feeling indulgent and sinful. There are two outcomes to this option: either you wake up feeling rejuvenated and ready to seize whatever is left of the day, or you wake up feeling groggy and grumpy. The amount of satisfaction is relative to how much you have left to do for the day, and whether or not your three-hour nap was an intentional one. (It also may or may not be affected by the looks of disappointment from your parents when they chide you for having slept like a pig the entire day.) Undoubtedly, it is sure to give you the greatest amount of satisfaction among the ps reviewed here. Nonetheless, the post-sleep experience normally varies between panic upon realising you have overslept (which acts as an impetus for you to plow through the rest of your work), or a sigh of resignation (as you give up and go back to sleep) when you realise you have slept away all the time you planned to be productive in. Lastly, long naps exceeding periods of an hour could negatively affect your circadian rhythm when you wake up in deeper stages of sleep. Overall, this is an indulgent option that we would not advise practising very often (unless you are extremely sleep-deprived)!
Level of satisfaction: 5/5
Post-sleep motivation: 2/5
Last but definitely not least, we have the one hour nap. Research has shown that a nap—defined as daytime sleeping that lasts between 15 and 90 minutes—can improve brain functions ranging from memory to focus and creativity. More specifically, a one-hour nap has been shown to improve memory retention compared to a 90-minute nap which has shown to improve creativity and emotional memory. As the option most revered by scientists in improving memory retention, the one-hour nap is verifiably the right balance between both of the aforementioned options, particularly for us students. It may not achieve as much satisfaction as the three-hour nap or as much alertness during post-sleep productivity as the 15-minute one, but it is an all-rounded option that would be the safest out of the three if you are intent on finishing your work or having a satisfying snooze to get you through the rest of the day. Overall, it is a trusty option that you can always count on!
Level of satisfaction: 4/5
Post-sleep motivation: 3/5
Happy napping, everyone! Remember to stay safe and stay home.