I had one of those really bad sleeps yesterday night. The kind when you’re woken up abruptly to a cat meowing, or a roaring fart from the other room. You then toss and turn trying to fall asleep again, but to no avail. My only consolation now is knowing an afternoon nap awaits me. A brief trip to the land of nod will be just the respite I need from the pervading tiredness, creeping through every facet of my being, dulling my wit and diluting my thought. Even as I write this I can’t help but let our a deep yawn, stretching that gullet open, sucking in the warm moist air and sighing with exhaustion.
And its no wonder then, that the infamous siesta is making a comeback in Spain as of late. But for me, it’s always been a staple routine of everyday life.
The humble cat nap, peaceful snooze, a light doze, catching forty winks before you get cracking again with your day – I couldn’t recommend it enough. But that’s just because I’ve always been a bit of a snoozer. Some have even gone so far as to compare to the legendary Snorlax (a sleepy pokemon, for the uninitiated). Eating and sleeping are two of my favourite pastimes. Nothing beats a big lunch followed by half an hour of dream time to wash it all down.
So this doesn’t really happen as much as we’d like in rainy ol’ England, but it is no coincidence that the birth place of the siesta is a very warm place indeed.
The average temperature in Spain often soars above 30 degrees Celsius throughout the nations summer months. In fact, most countries that do have a designated time for napping during the afternoon do so because of excessive heat. This generally tends to be between 2-4pm in topical or subtropical regions, including Greece and Egypt
There’s no point in risking serious harm to yourself working away in the hot afternoon sun – heat stroke ain’t no joke. Better have a nap instead.
Ever eaten to much? Then you know that sleepy “maybe I shouldn’t of eaten all that cheese at 1 pm” feeling. Congratulation friend, welcome to the club.
While copious amounts of cheese is never a bad thing in my opinion, the consequences can be drowsiness and a strong desire to not move as the food curdles and digests away.
When you eat, blood is diverted away from other organs to your stomach to aid digestion. Your red blood cells are needed to digest the food and circulate nutrients throughout your body. Hence, less oxygen reaches your brain, and you start to feel tired.
For most, lunch tends to be the biggest meal of the day. Why not enjoy a large meal inside with family and friends, then have a light snooze to let that shit settle? It makes sense people, don’t question me on this.
Research shows that a short nap can be effective at boosting productivity. In countries like Japan, workers are encouraged to sleep after lunch in order to reinvigorate, and thereby increase productivity.
Don’t just take my word for it – the National Sleep Foundation states that: “Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.”
Substitute your afternoon coffee or caffeinated drink for a light nap, no longer than 40 minutes, and you’ll feel increased alertness for several hours afterwards, without the aid of chemical performance boosters.
History is littered with the legacies of great thinkers, and great snoozers alike.
Nappers are in good company: Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Napoleon, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and George W. Bush are known to have valued an afternoon nap.
So basically, if you nap, you are great.
Whilst I’m not particularly a fan of Bush nor Reagan, the point stands – it is a tradition that many before us have followed, and we ought to maintain. The humble afternoon nap has truly done wonders for mankind, and what better way to show your appreciation, than turn off the computer, and have a good ol’ snooze.