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Tuesday, April 12, 2011 (read 3398 times)

Do Spaniards still sleep a Siesta?

by Lindsay Cook

Here in Spain the weather is starting to warm up which is lovely! Whilst traditionally the Spanish people would take a siesta after their lunch in the middle of the afternoon to relax a little and avoid the hottest part of the day, it seems that this is no longer be quite so common.

Years ago people who were working in the outdoors would need to take a break from the heat of the sun. At around 2pm when the weather was reaching top temperatures workers would retreat indoors; have some lunch and a nap!

Now however many people in Spain work in air conditioned offices, either bringing their own lunch to work or having shorter lunch breaks. This means that many Spaniards simply don´t have time for a siesta any more.

This is not to say though that no one will stop for a siesta. Spaniards are renowned for going to bed late at night, and may understandably need to catch up a little on their sleep the following day; in this case they may well have a siesta, if their working patterns allow it.

Interestingly despite the fame of the siesta, recent studies show that Spaniards actually sleep for about an hour less than the average European!

Despite the decline of the siesta many shops in smaller areas do still close for a few hours in the middle of the afternoon allowing the owners some time to relax. In big cities like Barcelona and Madrid however this is not the case.

From personal experience I know that while Spaniards may not have a siesta every day they do enjoy the chance when they can. What’s more is that they see no shame in having a mid day snooze! A friend from the Canary Islands simply told me to have a siesta when I said to her that I was tired and didn’t know if I would go out that night!

So when your in Spain why not take the chance to enjoy a siesta! Although it may no longer be something that all Spaniards are able to do daily it is definitely something to enjoy if you have the time to! 

Keywords: siesta, spain, nap, sleep


1 » Spanish Everyday (on Saturday, April 30, 2011) said:

During my visit to Spain I was surprised when a local bar would not serve me any food at the time of the siesta. Even when they were opened and people were their in the tavern they were not taking any orders for another 30 minutes or so. that was in 2000. I was a starving American so it was a challenge for me to wait. lol

2 » SraD (on Thursday, April 14, 2011) said:

It definitely depends upon the area of Spain as well. In Andalucía, for example, most everywhere still observes siesta religiously. Granada is not a small city and everything but the essentials close down between 2 and 5pm. I don't know that all that many people necessarily nap, but they do still have large lunches with their family, watch the news, and generally relax. It's great! My students always say that is one of their favourite things during our language trip there.

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