I learned about siesta first as a child visiting Mexico and then as an adult from pure necessity. I used to be a preschool teacher from 8-1 every day. That half-day would feel like I had been running ragged for twelve hours. At exactly 2:30 I would get home and not be able to stay awake to work on my creative projects. I did that in the evening, after napping.
At about this time of year, when it finally gets hot in the Northwest, I start needing a daily nap. I was shaking my fist recently at some radio news as some financial people interviewed poo-pooed the idea of a siesta benefiting corporate America. It’s cut-throat survival of the fittest here and fit seems to mean exhausted and jacked-up on caffeine. Mediterranean climates, and our neighbors to the south have historically known a different kind of work day.
The numbers are there as the Siesta Awareness website notes:
“A short 10-20 minute nap in the middle of a working day can increase productivity by over 30% and alertness by 100% as well as improve memory and concentration, according to NASA.”
And in tests in the States, siesta does great things for business:
“The benefits of napping have been well documented. Research has shown that a nap can promote physical well-being, improve mood and memory, sharpen senses and revitalize a person. The neurons in brain functioning get to rest and recuperate from the day’s stress. Intellectual performance improves from the boost a midday nap provides and accuracy in performance increases too. MRI’s of nappers show that brain activity stays high throughout the day with a nap. Without one, it declines as the day wears on.”
An article taking the city of Stockton , CA, as an example, talks about the great economic benefits of nap time in the hot months being good for small businesses which would remain open and be visited or can close down during the slow afternoon hours. It also boasts the benefit of businesses saving energy in the middle of the day when it is most expensive. Something simple makes a big impact:
“Managers could cut back AC from, say, 78 to 85 while they are gone.Workers would return later when cooler evening temperatures required less air conditioning”
It would be an adjustment, to be sure. Siesta time means having to work later into the evening. It would re-arrange the world of child-care for sure. Dinner would be pushed back. It definitely would be hard to implement in the corporate world. So I think I’m actually talking more to the self-employed, part-timers or the increasing numbers of people who are making their own hours at work.
If you get to arrange your day, try taking anywhere from a 10 minute to a one hour nap. (The jury is out about what th ebest amount of time is. I find either 20 minutes or two hours to be best). See if your productivity, creativity or alertness is effected. It could actually help you make more money.
I know without a doubt that my ability to nap in the afternoon this summer makes me get housework done faster, gets me to write more songs, I’m a better life coach, and somehow, after taking a nap, marketing and paying the bills feel like less of a chore!