Spanish town introduces Siesta - could an afternoon nap work for you?

Spanish town reinstates official siesta - and studies show an afternoon nap could work for you too


The town of Ador, near the east Mediterranean coast in Spain, has brought in an official siesta. The 1,400 people who live in the town have been told they have to stay in between 2pm and 5pm every day - and remain silent during this period.

The Mirror reported that the move is intended to combat the effects of one of the longest heatwaves in Spain in living memory. This is the hottest part of the day, and the town hopes that by encouraging people to stay indoors, they will reduce the number of people falling ill as a result of the heat. By requiring TVs and music to be turned off - and children to be quiet - these measures are likely to encourage people to take a nap during this period.

According to the Telegraph, the move suits the kinds of lifestyles people have in the area - where people tend to get up early to work in the fields. By 12pm it's too hot to work outside, so people tend to go indoors anyway. The new siesta encourages people to eat with their family, then have a nap, and get up when it's cool enough to be active again.

Would it work for you?

It's easy to argue that the modern UK workplace is entirely unsuited to a siesta. People have a hard enough time squeezing in a lunch break, let alone three hours off for a sleep. Plus, given the fact that people commute for hours every day, it's impractical to expect them to pop home for a nap. Once you factor in the fact that the British weather is unlikely to deliver an excuse for a siesta, you might assume this is an odd quirk with no relevance to your life.

However, research has shown that siestas are good for you. A study earlier in the year for the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that having a siesta helped reduce stress and boost the immune system. A few years ago a separate study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who had a short sleep at midday had a 34% lower chance of dying from heart disease than those who stayed awake all day.

Business boost

If a business decided to bring in a siesta policy, it could benefit the organisation too. A study by Vincent Walsh for University College London last year concluded that a nap of between 30 minutes and 90 minutes in the afternoon could help companies be more productive and employees be more creative - helping them come up with better solutions to workplace problems.

These naps don't have to be long. Research by NASA identified that the ideal length of time to take a nap for is 26 minutes - which boosts efficiency by 34%.

This starts to seem far more workable, as it's not beyond the realms of possibility for workplaces to set aside somewhere for people to snooze for 20 minutes or so during the day.

But what do you think? Are you inspired to take a nap?

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