Statistics say the ideal nap should be between 10-20 minutes.
Siestas in Spain can take unto 2 hours, a tradition introduced centuries ago when farmers slept away during the hottest part of the day, thus working longer into the evening. It was a price they were prepared to pay, working in the heat was very tiresome.
When a Spaniard goes on a siesta, it’s essentially first a lunch and then siesta time. Still today local shops and amenities shut from 14.00hrs to roughly around 16.30/17.00hrs, giving plenty of time for lunch and a siesta afterwards. It is true that shops and local amenities, because of siesta, are open as late as 20.00hrs or even 21.00hrs. This hugely contrasts to Scandinavian, British and other northern European countries where shops are known to open early and close around 18.00hrs.
Back to the wonders of the ‘Siesta’ — traditionally Spaniards would dress into their pijamas and go to bed for their siesta. This tradition has slowly worn away and a sofa, an armchair, a park, a park bench, a bed (and full clothed) will do just fine.
The word siesta has also worn out it’s meaning of a nap, many locals go for a siesta and do not necessarily take a nap. They simply take a break and chill out, away from the sun. The siesta truly confirms the stereotyped Spanish lifestyle of being laid-back.
As previously mentioned about the difference of Spain to northern European countries’, it has been in talks about trying to adopt a working day schedules as in northern Europe. Spain boasts of modern office buildings and general offices well equipped with air-conditions with no need for a siesta to take you away from the sun.
This said, there are other many reasons why Spaniards, or anybody, should need a rest. It is fact that any mammal needs more than one session of sleep within a 24-hour period. This said, a 10-20 minute nap can help restore a great amount of energy and really do wonders.
Meaning, that an exactly 2 hour Spanish siesta is not necessary, but a nap is recommended.
– More energy
– Improve productivity by over 30%
– Improve alertness by up to 100%
– Reduce stress and the risk of heart disease by 34%
– Better negotiation and communication
– Reduce risk of accidents at work and on the road
– Happiness and wellbeing
Fun facts: famous people who napped
– Brahms napped at the piano while he composed his famous lullaby.
– Napoleon napped between battles while sitting on his horse.
– Bill Clinton napped while President of the United States to help him cope with the pressures of office.
– Churchill maintained that he had to nap in order to cope with his wartime responsibilities.
– Geniuses such as Edison and da Vinci napped.
– Margaret Thatcher napped in order to be at her best.
– Einstein napped frequently during the day to help him think more clearly. He would sit in his favourite armchair with a pencil in his hand and purposefully doze off.