Image from Irina Strelnikova/

by Tan Yihan

World Cup fever is well underway! But after the adrenaline rush of watching the late night world cup matches, comes the horrible slog through a long work/ school day.

For the unlucky ones who can’t take the day off, downing cups of coffee may be the go-to method for most. But excessive caffeine intake can lead to nasty side effects like frequent runs to the toilet, headaches and turning into your colleagues’ worst nightmare.

Here are 3 ways to minimise the impact of sleep-deprivation on your health and productivity:

1. Take a power nap during the day

While nothing beats 7 – 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep for adults, a 15-minute midday power nap can do wonders to help you recharge.

Here are some tips by nap expert Mednick: Find a place where you won’t be disturbed. Don’t worry if all you have is your cubicle desk. Silence your mobile phone (and any beeping devices). It helps also if you can turn off the lights or use an eye-mask. Set your mobile phone alarm for 15 minutes. You can choose a soothing alarm tone to ease you out of the nap (look for those with names like “forest” or “sea”). Even if you don’t actually fall asleep, just relax and bring your attention to the flow of your breath. That would be enough to give your mind a much needed rest!

2. Eat regular but smaller portions and choose slow energy releasing foods

Sleep-deprivation can lead to overeating, as it makes your brain crave for high-fat and high-calorie food. However, overeating can lead to the classic “food coma”.

The solution? Go for regular but smaller portions and choose slow energy releasing foods that will keep your blood sugar level stable and keep you feeling full for longer.

Avoid the temptation to skip breakfast. You could make a quick breakfast with a sandwich made from wholemeal bread and hummus, guacamole or peanut butter spread, paired with a banana or apple.

A simple rule of thumb is to eat foods that are as unprocessed as possible. Choose brown rice instead of white rice or noodles; nuts, beans and fish instead of fried food; and fruits instead of sugary drinks. For more food ideas, check out this list.  

These tips apply also for snacking while you watch the match. It’s easy to overeat when one is mindlessly munching away while the players mindlessly make 20 passes without threatening the goal. Eating too much, however, may affect the quality of the few hours of sleep you hope to get, especially if you suffer from acid reflux.

3. Opting for takeaway or delivery for lunch

To save time during your lunch break so you can grab a few winks, you may opt for takeaway or delivery.

However, your food will often arrive in plastic disposables, which have been found toleak toxic chemicals in many cases. While the level of exposure is typically within what scientists feel are safe levels, it always helps to be on the safe side.

For takeaway, the safest way is to bring your own container, for example the classic stainless steel “tingkat” containers.

For delivery, choose eateries which use plastic-free takeaway containers. That rules out paper food containers, which usually have a layer of plastic, and cornware, which also usually contains plastic. A plastic-free choice is sugarcane bagasse, which is being used by NomVnom and Wheat Baumkuchen. Choose delivery services like Deliveroo and Foodpanda which allow you to opt-out of disposable cutlery and use your own stainless steel ones.


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