It happens to all of us. We finish lunch and get ready to return to work. Then it hits you: the post-lunch midday slump.
In some cultures, it is completely acceptable to doze off after lunch. Siestas originated from the Latin “hora sexta” (sixth hour), alluding to the time the midday rest started. Naps are quite popular in Spain, Latin America, Asia, and in Middle Eastern countries, where heat and a heavy lunch can limit afternoon productivity. In the Middle East, people often take naps between prayers. In Japan, some offices even set up special rooms dedicated to after-lunch naps. Even in America, there is the concept of the power nap.
A recent article by The Scientific American reported that sleep patterns can vary widely among Americans and immigrants. Makes you wonder if that is partly influenced by the existence of siestas?
“Scientists have now found significant differences exist in how people sleep in the U.S. depending on race, ethnicity and country of origin, suggesting genetic or cultural differences in shut-eye patterns. This line of research could help identify how these disparities might affect health and find better ways to improve sleep.” – Charles Q. Choi
Have you noticed any interesting cultural differences, in terms of siestas, while traveling? Do you think employees and the work environment would benefit from naps? Do they increase or decrease productivity?