Have you ever been slaving away at work and wished you could take a quick nap? Then you may want to consider moving abroad! 'Siestas' - where workers take a 60-90 minute nap after they've eaten their lunch - are common in Mediterranean countries such as Spain, as well as the Philippines and South America. Let's look at the many benefits of siestas for tired workers.
Improved cognitive function
Many sleep experts believe that taking short naps (of between 15-20 minutes) during the day can improve cognitive function. This can result in increased productivity in the workplace, which can be great for a business's balance sheet. So, rather than being a sign of laziness and an unprofessional work attitude, siestas can actually result in improved performance during the work day.
Provides a memory boost
We also know that other leading researchers have explored the effects of napping on memory. Back in 2007, a German study was carried out whereby participants were asked to memorise a list of words. During the next half an hour, they napped, with some people having short naps, other long naps, and some not napping at all. They were then asked to tell the researchers what words they could remember from the list. The results demonstrated quite clearly that memory improves after a nap, and that improvement is greater the longer the sleep.
We found that interestingly, a really short nap of around six minutes dramatically improves memory function. So, for managers who want to boost their employee’s memory function, it could be worth introducing short siestas to the working day and investing in a ‘nap’ room. We can help companies with this.
Lower blood pressure
One study has discovered that siestas are linked with a 37% reduction in coronary mortality. This is possibly due to reduced cardiovascular stress during daytime sleep. Whilst experts admit that they're not sure whether the benefit comes from the nap itself, the reclined position during sleep, or simply the expectation of a nap, they agreed that this decrease in blood pressure could be why those who take naps have lower coronary mortality.
As you can see, siestas come with a whole range of benefits, from making you more productivity at work to improving your cardiovascular health. However, scientists do state that napping is only beneficial if it forms part of an individual's regular daytime routine, rather than serving as a one-off. What's more, sleeping too long can have detrimental effects. A siesta shouldn't be longer than half an hour and should be taken on a couch or armchair, rather than in a bed (where you're more likely to fall into a deeper sleep). Entering a deep sleep state can lead to you being unable to sleep at night.