My Grandpa was one of the hardest working men I’ve ever known. He was up before the sun every morning and didn’t stop working until it was down. But every single day after dinner (which is what we called the midday meal) he took a nap. The nap was exactly 20 minutes long, although he never used an alarm clock. He’d just lay down on the couch and 20 minutes later he’d get up and continue the work day.
When liked that little break when I was a kid. Those were 20 minutes we could play while he slept.
But now I see the wisdom of his rest break. Many years later I read that 20 minutes is the perfect nap length, long enough to get rest but not so long that the person falls into deep sleep.
The first time we visited Spain many years ago I marvelled at their workday. They ate big lunches then took 2 hour siestas before resuming work. Everything closed for a couple of hours in the early afternoon. Supper wasn’t until late in the evening. At first I resisted that kind of schedule, which seemed unnatural to me. But Cherie tried to get into the flow of local life, and it seemed to work for her. So eventually I did too. And it seemed to make good sense once I was doing it too.
These days I try to take a 20 minute break after eating lunch. I’ve started to get so used to my little siesta that I get annoyed if it is interrupted or impossible. I suspect we’d all be better off if we made time for a little rest break like that in the middle of the day.
I recently read that the Spanish siesta tradition is dying out, at least in Madrid. Apparently there is just too much pressure to stay on the business schedule being followed in the rest of the world. It seems to me it would be a pity if the Spaniards gave up their siestas.
Hopefully I’ll be able to maintain my little mini-siestas here on White Flint.