Top tips for taking the perfect Spanish siesta

Multiple scientific studies in recent years have proven that a short sleep after lunch provides health benefits, including stress reduction, and improves alertness and memory.

Top tips for taking the perfect Spanish siesta
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Every Spaniard knows the advantage of retreating to a cool dark room during the hottest hours of a summer afternoon for a quick 40 winks.

So for those that can find the time, here is The Local’s guide to taking the perfect afternoon snooze.

Make it a habit

A siesta is only beneficial if it forms part of the regular daily routine rather than a one-off. One you get into the habit of a post-prandial nap it forms part of the natural cycle of the body and missing it could be worse for one's health than skipping a meal, according to findings published by Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians (SEMERGEN)

Make it short

Sleep too long and the effects could be detrimental, according to various sleep experts. Research undertaken by American space agency NASA found that the optimum length of a nap is 26 minutes and that when pilots were allowed to take a 26 minute nap during their working hours, their efficiency increased by 34 per cent.

Find a quiet dark corner

Photo: Michael Nutt/Wikimedia

Both noise and light can disrupt the ability to fall asleep easily so limit distractions by pulling down the blinds or use an eyeshade and blocking out street sounds with earplugs or white noise.

Settle in a comfy chair

Siestas should take place on a sofa or in a comfortable armchair and not in bed, where one is more likely to fall into a deep sleep. If you do fall into a deep sleep it is much harder to wake up and you will likely be left feeling groggy for hours.

Have a pre-nap cup of coffee

For double revival coordinate a caffeine boost along with your nap. Caffeine takes about 20-30 minutes to take effect, so drinking a cup of coffee before getting in a bit of shut-eye means it’ll just be kicking in as you are waking up.

Set an alarm

If you don’t want to risk drifting into a sleep cycle that could leave you drowsy then always set an alarm.

Don’t feel guilty

Scientific research has shown time and again that siestas are good for you. So don’t guilt yourself out of a free and natural health benefit because of a long to do list. Remember you will be much more efficient and focused if you recharge your batteries.

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