These days, people view having a siesta as a sign of weakness or, worse still, as laziness or something only for babies, old people or ill people. Contrary to popular belief, having a siesta is a sign of maturity and many studies have shown that having this type of short 20-minute nap can actually increase your mental capacity to perform tasks by 20%. Also, many people who take siestas report that they feel more creative. As proof, you only have to look at the list of incredible people who believed in siestas: Isaac Newton, Archimedes, Victor Hugo, André Gide ...
In Latin, the word for siesta is “sexta”, which translates as the sixth hour in the day, or the time when you should rest after lunch.
In any case, we often feel sleepy after lunch, which is linked to digesting our food. However, according to neurologist Michel Tiberge from the Centre for Sleep in Toulouse, this is a fallacy. He says "human beings are usually programmed to fall asleep from 2.00-3.00pm ". This is normally the time when we feel tired and our eyelids become heavy. This causes us to fight against falling asleep or, more precisely, to fight against one of the vital needs of our bodies.
A siesta is beneficial for numerous reasons:
- Considerably increasing alertness
- Increasing productivity
- Improving mood
- Increasing the ability to perform motor tasks
- Lifting creativity
- Reducing stress
- Eliminating the need to take drugs
- Relieving migraines
- Providing a general sense of well-being.
Also, people who lead very busy lives can use this nap time to reduce the time they need to sleep at night. By having a daily nap, they can save 1 to 2 hours of total sleep time in a 24hr period.
This proves that many people are convinced by napping and its benefits. There’s no set time duration for a nap and the right duration is the one that suits you best.
But, to help you better understand, here are the different types of siesta:
1. The micro-nap - you can discreetly take a micro nap while sitting at your computer by simply closing your eyes for a few seconds. This gives you a little energy boost, which is useful, especially if you can repeat this several times a day.
2. The power nap - this is well-known for its benefits and can range from 15 to 20 minutes. The best time to take a power nap is between 1.00-3.00pm, when you feel an energy dip after lunch.
3. The royal nap – this is about the same length as a sleep cycle (90 mins). It’s a Sunday afternoon nap for those who are over-tired and may be a sign of lack of sleep during the week.
So, the ideal conditions for having a siesta are:
1. Silence. Having a nap is a special time when you can focus on yourself. So, you shouldn’t be disturbed.
2. With your eyes covered, as you fall asleep quicker in the dark.
3. In a cosy environment, e.g. with one of our Zizzz duvets, specially made for snuggling up on a Sunday. It will help to keep you nice and warm, giving you the best conditions for having a nap.
A little tip to help you wake up with more energy:
Contrary to popular belief, drinking coffee before a siesta is good because caffeine takes about 45 minutes to kick in, giving you plenty of time for a nap.
So, when you want a nap, why not indulge yourself …?