Feeling Sleepy? 4 Legitimate Reasons to Nap

Napping on the Train

Napping by Chris Gladis, on Flickr

College students rarely need a reason to nap; “I’m tired” usually suffices as an excuse to collapse onto a soft surface and catch some Zs. But if you travel abroad you’ll realize that napping is common in different regions. In some countries, businesses close during parts of they day so employees can enjoy a siesta at home.

So why do these countries nap and how can you get your nation to do the same? Here’s a handful of reasons to nap, taken from countries who truly appreciate the beauty of an afternoon siesta.

1. It’s Too Hot Outside

Most countries that have time allotted to napping during the afternoon do so because of extreme heat. The hottest part of the day is between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., and during this time countries in tropical or subtropical regions such as Egypt and Greece call it quits. There’s no point in risking heat stroke when a siesta could be taken instead.

2. I Just Ate a Big Meal

In many countries the largest meal of the day is lunch, due in part to extreme afternoon heat. Rather than suffer outside, people enjoy a large meal inside. This is the case for most of the regions that take time out of their afternoons to nap. Now it all makes sense; how can anyone be expected to continue working after a large meal? Even if naps aren’t taken, countries such as Paraguay close businesses for a few hours in the afternoon to allow workers to go home and eat with their families.

3. My Brain Needs to Recharge

In countries such as Japan, afternoon naps are taken to revitalize workers. Employees are encouraged to take a short nap after lunch (no longer than 30 minutes) to avoid a slump in productivity. Research has shown that after taking a short nap, a person’s memory and learning capacity is raised. But if workers fall into a deep sleep, all hope of having a productive day is lost. Instead they’ll be trapped in a state of grogginess.

4. It’s Tradition

With the invention of air conditioning and 5-hour Energy, more countries are beginning to ditch siestas. But others hold  afternoon naps sacred and wouldn’t dream of dropping such a fantastic cultural tradition. Spain, the nation thought to have originated the siesta, decided to take things up a notch in 2010. Rather than letting go of their tradition, the Spanish showcased it in 2010 by holding a sleeping competition. Contestants were pinned against each other to see who could sleep the soundest within 20 minutes, with the winner taking home 1,000 euro.

Want to travel to a napping country? Check out study abroad opportunities in these regions:

Spain                                 Croatia
China                                 Malta
Vietnam                            Southern Italy
Bangladesh                     The Philippines
India                                  Northern Africa
Central/South America (especially regions with strong Spanish influence)
The Middle East


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  1. A Cultural Change | White Sand Tourist Services - Wednesday, 20 November 2013

    […] that most Spanish businesses close for 2 to 3 hours every afternoon. They return to work for a few hours in the evening. Already the climate and culture are dictating […]