We’re all out here living our best busy lives. Yet it’s very easy for us to begin feeling overwhelmed with daily life. Our bodies get tired and our brains go fuzzy. Having just returned from a trip to Spain, I can’t stop thinking about the one thing they have that would make our busy lives so much better. The humble afternoon Siesta. During the hottest hours of the day, people take an afternoon rest/nap and shut business for two hours. Below I shall detail why the UK should embrace the siesta into our own culture.
Healthier Than A Coffee
Many of us in the UK, use caffeine as a crutch to get us through our daily tasks. Whether your choice is coffee, energy juice or pro plus; it’s incredibly bad for your health. Sara Mednick states, ‘There’s such a feeling of shame and guilt around needing to sleep. It’s just not acceptable in our culture. Instead of admitting we could do with a power nap we would rather fill our body with substances to keep us awake. Caffeine is related to insomnia, restlessness, and irritability which are actually counteractive. Therefore, by embracing the siesta and being well rested you will actually be able to tackle your tasks more productively.
In the afternoon our cortisol levels drop, so a nap may be just what you need. If like me, you work long hours and often feel wiped out, you probably need to start looking after yourself more. It’s not only Spaniards who favour a siesta, but athletes are also known to take a nap before a big event. It tends to keep them focused and more alert to complete their goals. It’s not only physical examples, but a siesta also combats mental responses.
Do you remember your teachers telling you the most important thing before a big exam was to have a good sleep? This is because your brain needs to rest before big events to optimise all of its knowledge. Therefore, if you have a big presentation at work, a social commitment or a pitch to make then have a nap before and you will be more alert. It will most likely lead to more success than people who don’t embrace the siesta.
Explore Lucid Dreaming
Many people don’t dream at all during their sleep, as they are too deep into it. This doesn’t allow for REM sleep which is the stage that you dream. During an afternoon nap, people are more likely to experience lucid dreaming. Lucid Dreaming is when you are aware that you are dreaming. As a nap tends to only be half an hour, your brain is still alert. You are still close to waking consciousness which allows us to be more aware.
So why does lucid dreaming matter? If you are working in a creative industry, then this stage is when you are more likely to seek creative insights. Scientists, artists, and writers have all drawn inspiration from lucid dreaming. Which have resulted in medical breakthroughs, acclaimed art, and stories that have inspired thousands. Without a siesta none of this would be possible.
Don’t Fight Your Nature
Our primitive ancestors used to sleep in short bursts across the day and night whenever they felt tired. This is called polyphasic sleepers, yet when humans developed we began sleeping for longer bursts at night. As it made more sense in the working day. However, many humans still have a tendency to be a polyphasic sleeper. These people need to take naps to function. It isn’t them being lazy it is simply naturally ingrained in them.
Unfortunately, they often have to conform to society and work schedules, which means no time for the nap their body desperately needs. It’s like telling a blind person to describe the colour red; they can’t. It is unfair to expect people to ignore their nature and it often leads to grumpy and irritable staff members. Therefore, if the UK embraced the siesta they would probably benefit from happier staff members.
Ultimately, we are all suffering from our busy schedules and could probably do with having some time out. Even if it is just to recharge our batteries and make us more productive.
Do you think the UK should embrace the siesta? Let us know in the comments!
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