March 13, 2018
Yesterday was National Napping Day – and since we were napping – happy belated Napping Day! That’s right, there’s a day that’s dedicated to naps. Is there anything better than that? I don’t think so, especially since it fell on a Monday this year! And, I don’t know about you, but I’m still reeling from Daylight Saving time.
While we celebrate catching some midday z’s any day, we thought the occasion would be a good time to review the benefits and basic history of the siesta.
Napping is very beneficial to our bodies. Even if we lay and rest for just 20 minutes, our minds become more refreshed, our overall alertness improves, and our moods and productivity receive a major boost. In fact, a six-year study of Greek adults discovered that those who took naps at least three times a week had a 37 percent lower risk of heart-related death.
Jumping off that, a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health uncovered data that showed a midday nap reverses information overload. The team demonstrated that even just a 1-hour nap could boost an individual’s performance, saying “we should stop feeling guilty about taking that ‘power nap’ at work.” So, just pull up this article if the boss catches you dozing off at your desk!
Looking back at the history of the nap, human beings have been napping for as long as they have been on this planet. One of the most famous variations of naps are siestas, which is where the modern midday snooze derived from. The name siesta comes from the Latin hora sexta, which translates to “the sixth hour.” This resembles the mid part of the day, when siestas are most common.
While naps seem to be labeled as a luxury in today’s society, years ago they were deemed a necessity, especially in hot climates. Workers in the fields needed a break in order to regain enough energy to finish out the day following hours under the sun. Historians believe that Spain created the siesta centuries ago in order to grant farmers some rest during peak temperatures.
If we want to go back further into history, the archives can be traced back to the origins of the afternoon nap in ancient Islam. The napping practice was etched into Islamic Law and was also discussed in the Koran. Romans were also known to take some midday snoozes as well.
So, regardless of where you are, make sure to give your body some rest and break up your day by counting some sheep! You will wake up feeling nice and refreshed.