To Siesta or Not Siesta

Planning on celebrating Cinco de Mayo this weekend with a siesta? May 5 falls on a Sunday this year, so it would make sense to have a lazy Sunday afternoon. But a nap may not be the best answer, no matter how festive you are trying to be.

What is a siesta?

Siestas originated in Spain, and due to the wide Spanish influence, are common practice in Greece, Italy, The Philippines, and Nigeria. Siestas usually start at noon as a built-in break during the hottest time of the day. It is thought to have originated to give farmers a rest during these peak temperatures. Now, the siesta is almost a luxury instead of a physical necessity. The break lasts two hours, and while some choose to nap, others choose to use the break to take care of other tasks since their work is not as physically demanding.

Why you should siesta

Whether you want to be a siesta purist and take a two-hour nap at noon, or just take a quick cat nap when you can, this break in the day can be rejuvenating and allow you to return to work more energized and focused. The optimum length of a nap is 10 to 26 minutes, where a truly restorative nap should last at least 90 minutes to allow rapid eye movement (REM) sleep to occur.

Why you shouldn’t siesta

Sadly, napping during the day can have the opposite effect that you are trying to achieve. You can awake groggy and feeling more tired than you did before catching those quick zzz’s. You can also have trouble falling asleep at night if you indulge in a day-time snooze. All of this comes down to your internal clock being thrown out of whack.

Enjoy the lazy Cinco de Mayo Sunday this year!


Lauren Smalley