I’m moving there!

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LOL!!! So me and my friend are talking over email at work. We both love food. I said I wish I could go to a country where the heavier you are the more attractive and wealthy you are. Obesity equals wealth because well.. you have food and livestock. It also means you can easily provide a “good body” for a baby and plenty of nutrients. I forgot what country or area it is but it exist, I watch a lot of national geographic channel. The skinnier you are the poorer ect ect. So my girl was like “well I would like to go to a country where everyone goes to sleep in the middle of the day and just takes a nap. Everything shuts down,it exist!”  I said “ok well you let me know when you find it (which will be never)” then she sends me the following link. Hi la ri ous! It’s TRUE!!


Question: Do the Spanish really sleep during the siesta and why?


The siesta can take place anywhere!

The siesta is one of the most famous aspects of Spanish life – that dead period in late afternoon when everything shuts down in Spain, in theory so people can go to sleep.

The Spanish take the siesta very seriously, even going so far as to have a Sleeping Competition in its honor. But, on a normal day, do the Spanish really go to sleep at this time?



When is the Siesta?

There are two periods of siesta in Spain – siesta for shops and businesses, during which time many people go to a bar or restaurant, and then siesta for the restaurants, who obviously can’t rest when everyone wants to come and eat.

The siesta for shops and businesses is from approximately 2pm until 5pm while bars and restaurants close from about 4pm until about 8 or 9pm

Why do the Spanish Stop for Siesta? – the Traditional Reason

Spain is a hot country, especially mid-afternoon, and the traditional reason for the siesta is for the workers in the fields to shelter from the heat. They would then feel refreshed after their sleep and would work until quite late in the evening, longer than they would have been able to without the siesta.

Why do the Spanish Stop for Siesta? – the Modern Interpretation

While people do still work in the fields in Spain, this reason doesn’t account for why shops and businesses in big cities close down today. Indeed, offices can get hot too, but the invention of air conditioning has helped in this department. So why do they still do it?

One big reason is because the Spanish like to have a long lunch. At home, mother will cook a huge lunch for the whole family (and yes, that does include for her 35-year-old accountant son, he’ll still come home for mommy’s cooking). The meal could last up to two hours (longer if time allows). A rest before going back to work is essential after that.

Another reason why the Spanish stop for siesta is not so much out of need but out of want – the Spanish like stopping for a while at lunch time. It allows them to stay up later in the evening without fading (you’ll rarely hear a Spaniard saying ‘I think I’ll have an early night tonight’). Subsequently, if it has been a really late night, an afternoon sleep can be very welcome.

The Spanish nightlife is an all-night affair – visitors to Spain are surprised to see the streets just starting to fill up at midnight and are even more surprised to see people in their 60s and 70s still out at 3am. They wouldn’t be able to do this without a siesta.

However, today many people are unable to take a siesta and their lives haven’t collapsed around them. The gradual disappearance of the siesta has not changed the late-night lifestyle, which means the Spanish sleep an average of one hour less per day than other European countries.

Today, the siesta hits Madrid and Barcelona much less than in Granada or Salamanca. Big supermarkets and department stores also stay open during the siesta. In winter, when the heat isn’t stifling, this can be a good time to go shopping as many Spaniards will stay away during this time. But be careful, many stores will be closed and you may struggle to get everything done.

But do the Spanish Actually Sleep During the Siesta?

Today’s hectic lifestyle will often not allow people the time to sleep, but many still do their best to fit a little nap in when they can. But no, the Spanish office is not equipped with a bed out back for the director to catch forty winks – though I’m sure he’d like one!


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