Are Power Naps Good for You?

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Proper naps are a luxury that we can only enjoy on our days off, as adults. The post-lunch food coma is a strong invitation for an afternoon nap, but alas, not all of us can afford the time for a two- to three-hour nap during the weekday. A power nap, though? It is possible, especially with many of us working from home these days.

What is a Power Nap?

A power is regularly defined as a short period of day-time sleep, usually about 20 to 30 minutes in the middle of your day, that is said to rejuvenate you when you feel tired. Some popular health benefits touted about power naps are that you get to enjoy increased energy, improved memory and reaction time, heightened focus, mental clarity and even increased creativity.

Naps can leave you waking up feeling either super refreshed or not knowing what time it is – there’s no in-between. Power naps on the other hand usually leave you feeling energized and ready for the rest of the day. So, does this mean that we should all start taking 20-min short naps during our lunch hours?

Not quite. Everyone’s bodies, their circadian rhythms, in particular, work in different ways. For some, regular naps and power naps can have no effect on their cognitive health, while for others, the shortest nap can disrupt their body clock in a big way. There are several things that you should take note of before deciding on taking power naps during the day.

Power naps are not for everyone

If you are suffering from insomnia or any kind of irregular sleep disorder, naps during the day, no matter how short or long, can confuse your body clock and mess up your routine.

You might find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night and feel less-than-optimal the next day, starting a vicious cycle of poor sleep and cognitive health that can be very difficult to break.

Duration matters

If you are able to take a power nap during the day, you should be very mindful of how long you nap for. Too long and you might wake up feeling groggy and unfocused, too short and it’s useless and does nothing for your focus and cognitive health. Experts have found that 20 to 30mins is the ideal length for a power nap that will leave you feeling refreshed and alert.

Prioritise a good night’s sleep

A nap, no matter whether it is a regular old nap or a power nap, is not by any means a substitute for a full night’s sleep. Our bodies need that 7 to 9 hours of deep, restorative sleep for us to function well the next day. If you find your sleep cycle disrupted due to your naps, you might want to look at taking the nap earlier in the day or not taking them altogether.

Ensure that your naps work for you and not against you – plan your naps in advance. Make sure that they happen at least six hours before your usual bedtime, and that you’re not distracted by anything else around you. Set up a comfortable and quiet environment that helps you fall asleep quickly, so that you get the full benefits of a power nap. Check out our tips on how you can design your bedroom for the best night’s sleep.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021: Cindy Wong’s Inspiring Journey Part 1

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Singapore. As a brand founded by women for women, this is an issue that is extremely close to our hearts, and we wish to raise awareness about this illness especially among young women.

Breast Cancer is the #1 cancer killer of Singaporean women, and 1 in 11 women here will get Breast Cancer in their lifetimes, with numbers steadily on the rise. While it is more prevalent among older women, an increasing number of younger women are getting diagnosed with breast cancer. However, early detection and regular examinations can help save lives and breasts.

This month, we’re spotlighting Cindy Wong, a young educator who beat Breast Cancer at the age of 29. Read along as she shares her story in the hopes of spreading awareness about this illness.

Catch snippets of our chat with her on our Instagram and Facebook as we share her story throughout October.

Cindy Wong in Rawbought Je Dors Pyjama Collection in Pressed Rose for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Hi Cindy, please tell us a bit about yourself!

Hello! I’m Cindy and I’m an educator. I was diagnosed with Triple-negative Stage 1A Breast Cancer at the age of 29. I’m currently in remission and enjoying life!

What kind of person were you, leading up to your diagnosis? What was your impression of breast cancer?

I was a relatively healthy person if I can say so myself. I led an active lifestyle, doing regular yoga and having as balanced a diet as one has when they’re in their twenties. I was in a physically demanding job as a preschool educator – working with children really wears you out! So, I used to get back home quite exhausted and just crashed on most days. I didn’t have a regular self-care ritual because I usually was just too tired to keep it up.

My impression of cancer was probably influenced greatly by pop culture and mainstream media. I always had this preconceived notion that cancer only affected either really young people, as babies, or old people. Growing up, I also never saw any of my family members going for health check-ups until they were in their 40s. I never knew of anyone in my extended family getting breast cancer, so I figured I wouldn’t get it either.

How did you find out about your diagnosis? What made you get tested?

It was an ordinary weekday; my bf gave a cheeky squeeze on my breast to annoy me so I could wake up to attend lecture. He noticed something on it that was unusual.

I ignored it for a while because I just thought it was a bit of chest muscle. My boyfriend and my sister encouraged me to get it checked out. I mainly agreed because I love to wear low-cut tops and the lump was making me a little self-conscious.

3 days later, I got an appointment with a private doctor, and for vanity’s sake, I decided to go for a lumpectomy (removal of the tumour) right away even though I was offered a biopsy first. As a matter of procedure, they tested the lump and that was when I was diagnosed with Stage 1A Triple- negative Breast Cancer, which is one of the most aggressive types of Breast Cancer.

To make things worse, I also found out that the tumour was a grade 3 tumour, the most “evil” one of all to put it simply, and I was also BRCA 1 positive. You know, the genetic mutation that Angelina Jolie has.

It came as a complete shock to me as I was just 29! It was just so far removed from my reality, I had no family history of breast cancer, no one I knew had it – I never imagined it would happen to me.

What was your treatment process?

My treatment consisted of the lumpectomy, a margin clearance surgery that checked if the cancer cells had spread further than the tumour, and 12 cycles of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy.

I was enrolled in university at the time, so I had to stop school for a year to undergo treatment.

How did you feel going through your treatment process?

Chemotherapy was extremely tough and painful for me. One cycle meant 1 session of chemo each week for 2 weeks, followed by a 1-week break. I took a total of 6 months to finish all 12 cycles of my chemotherapy treatment.

One thing many people might not know is that chemotherapy looks very different for everyone. Not everyone is affected the same way. I’ve even seen people go for tennis after every session! I unfortunately got the typical side effects that we’re all familiar with.

I used to get extremely nauseated for the first few days after chemo, which meant that I could only drink cold formulated milk and kiwis. I lost all my hair – from my head, my eyebrows, my lashes, everything. My nails turned black, and I was very bloated the whole time. I was weak and tired, which made me extremely irritable and hard to be around.

I honestly hated every moment of my treatment. I can be candid about it, now that I’ve have come out on the other side, but I nearly gave up around the 8th cycle of my chemotherapy. I was getting horrible migraines and breathless just walking from the living room to the kitchen. It got too painful for me, and I started questioning the point of everything I was going through – my existence, the pain, the uncertainty etc., and stopped going for my chemotherapy sessions.

That was when I reflected on what my father told me when I was a teenager; something that has stuck with me till today – “You’ve got to love yourself. Nobody else can love you for you.” This was kind of an epiphany for me. I realised that I’d come so far and was so close to finishing – I needed to love myself enough to actually get through it.

After that, I resumed my treatment and managed to finish all 12 cycles. Since the cancer was detected and treated early at Stage 1A, I had the choice of keeping my natural breasts at the end of my chemotherapy. However, during my diagnosis, I tested positive for the BRCA gene, which meant that I was at a much greater risk of a recurrence of breast cancer and possibly ovarian cancer in the future.

I decided to go for a full mastectomy with reconstruction, as it greatly reduced the risk of my cancer returning. I put my health and my future first and also did a total hysterectomy as an additional preventative measure.

Read more of Cindy’s inspiring journey to recovery in Part 2 of our interview with her!

For Breast Cancer Awareness month, we have launched our signature Je Dors Collection in a precious Pressed Rose colour in all our classic styles (Full Set, Long Set, Short Set and Sleepshirt). For every purchase of a Je Dors Pressed Rose Pyjama set in October, we will be donating $5 to Singapore’s Breast Cancer Foundation, and you will get a free Pink Ribbon pin with your order.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021: Cindy Wong’s Inspiring Journey Part 2

This month, we’re spotlighting Cindy Wong, a young educator who beat Breast Cancer at the age of 29. Read along as she shares her story in the hopes of spreading awareness about this illness.

Head over here to read Part 1. You can also catch snippets of our chat with her on our Instagram and Facebook as we share her inspiring journey throughout October.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021: Cindy Wong's Inspiring Journey Part 1

What did you do to make yourself feel good and comfortable during your treatment?

Before I first got diagnosed, I was eating everything under the sun. I loved snacks; you could find me snacking at all times of the day. But after I got the news of my diagnosis, I started to eat only “healthy” food like steamed chicken and vegetables. I felt like I was doing something to improve my condition by eating healthy. I ended up feeling absolutely terrible by denying myself of even that small bit of happiness.

So, after a few weeks of that, I decided to stop. I usually didn’t have much of an appetite the first few days after my chemo session. Once I felt a bit better, I made sure I had some of my beloved snacks and comfort food. I made it a ritual of sorts, just so that I had something to look forward to at the end of the week.

I had a very strong support group in the form of my close friends during my treatment. They used to regularly come over, keep me company and my spirits high as I recovered.

These were some of the small ways I made myself feel good during my treatment.

What was your biggest worry?

My biggest worry was about the relationships in my life. I was afraid that my boyfriend at that time would leave me because he would stop loving me. And so, I ‘protected’ my heart and broke up with him, before he could do so himself. But he turned out to be my biggest pillar of strength, supporting and sticking by me at my lowest points, and I’m so happy to say – he’s been upgraded to fiancé!

My family initially blamed each other for my illness out of guilt, especially when they found out that I had the BRCA gene. But funnily enough, my cancer experience ended up bringing us closer, because we came together to focus what was truly important – which was to be there for me and each other.

Why did you decide to share your story?

I felt extremely lonely in the beginning, after I first got diagnosed. I felt like I had no one to look towards for reassurance in my immediate circle.

Being a child of the Internet, I went online and found hundreds of communities dedicated to sharing cancer stories and uplifting each other. I met many women just like me from all over the world, who were looking for people we could relate to. My experience on these forums also showed me that there’s a huge difference in Singapore’s attitude towards breast cancer compared to the rest of the world.

I observed that there’s a huge stigma associated with cancer – as an older person’s illness, something to be ashamed about and kept hush within the family. Ignorance about the illness, especially among young women, is also very prevalent here. And this is why I, and many other young breast cancer survivors, are speaking out and spreading awareness about the illness, in the hopes that my story can encourage and inspire other women like myself to get checked and treated early.

What advice do you have for young ladies?

Breast cancer is not an old person’s illness. It can affect healthy young women too. However, it also not a death sentence, if detected early. It is very beatable and with Singapore’s advanced medical facilities, you have a high chance of returning to your pre-cancer lives.

Put your health and comfort first and take the risk seriously. Get checked regularly. Do monthly self-assessments and schedule annual health check-ups with your doctors. Set aside time every day to check in with yourself, physically and mentally.

Another important way you can help yourself is to ensure that you have proper healthcare insurance. Cancer treatment can get expensive, and you might not be able to work while getting treated. Facing a financial burden on top of the havoc chemotherapy will wreak on your body is an extremely stressful situation that you want to avoid.

If you get diagnosed, know that you’re not alone. Singapore’s Breast Cancer Foundation is a beautiful community of people who are there to provide you with support and community that you will need. There are also many local and international forums online that you can turn to look for advice and inspiration. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it is never a sign of weakness.

What have you learnt from cancer?

Cancer forced me to get perspective. It got me thinking, now that I’ve gotten this new lease of life, how do I want to live it? It really reminded me that life is extremely fragile, and no one is guaranteed a tomorrow.

My mastectomy and hysterectomy also got me thinking about what it means to be a woman. I no longer have the physical organs and abilities that typically define a woman – childbearing, breastfeeding etc. So, what makes me a woman? I’ve figured that it’s all about what’s inside your heart. The ability and willingness to love and empathise – that’s how I redefined myself as a woman.

I no longer sweat over the small stuff. I’m very appreciative of everything that I have today, things that I used to take for granted.

My new goals for life are no longer about chasing numbers or positions. I just want to be more present. I’m savouring every single day, while being fully myself and present in the lives of my loved ones.

Thank you so much Cindy, for sharing your breast cancer survival story in such a candid way. We hope this will inspire more young women to take charge of and prioritise their own health for a better life.

For Breast Cancer Awareness month, we have launched our signature Je Dors Collection in a precious Pressed Rose colour in all our classic styles (Full Set, Long Set, Short Set and Sleepshirt). For every purchase of a Je Dors Pressed Rose Pyjama set in October, we will be donating $5 to Singapore’s Breast Cancer Foundation, and you will get a free Pink Ribbon pin with your order.