The Rules of the Spanish Siesta

I am a big-time fan of afternoon siestas. Your body loves them too as there are many proven benefits for taking a daily snooze. These include:

  • More energy
  • Improved productivity
  • Improved alertness
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved communication skills
  • Increase in happiness and wellbeing


Siestas have been around for several millennia. Originally, they were hailed as an essential physical requirement, not an indulgence. Many successful people have taken part in siestas—Napoleon, Churchill, Edison, Brahms, and Einstein, to name a few.

Sleepy yet? Here are some guidelines to have a proper Spanish Siesta.

  1. Know when to have your siesta. The word siesta comes from the Latin phrase hora sexta, the sixth hour. Counting from dawn, the sixth hour is noon. However, the traditional time shops and businesses close is between 2pm to 5pm.
  2. Siestas are an opportunity to share time with family and friends. Before sleeping, have a mid-day meal beforehand with your loved ones, if possible. Some even forego their napping portion of the siesta in favor of a long lunch.
  1. Traditionally, a siesta was had for farmers to take refuge from the heat when the sun was highest in the sky. Finding a nice cool area to slumber, from a plush sofa to a shady mango tree, is a must. Afterwards, you should be refreshed enough to continue working until the evening.
  1. Siestas are serious business. Remove all distractions that can interrupt your sleep, such as ringing phones. Get as comfortable as you can. Yes, even put on those pajamas. Just don’t forget to set an alarm!
  1. It’s also important not to get too carried away. Your nap should not last any longer than 15-30 minutes. Any longer and you run the risk of oversleeping. You fall into a stage of deep sleep after a half hour, leaving you groggy if awoken after that mark.

The Spanish are bonafide experts in this field, so if sleeping’s your thing, all you need are flights to Spain and you’re all set to learn from the best!

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