Very few things are as stereotypical as the Spanish afternoon nap, a post-lunch nap thought to be both nice and energetic. But are you sure you know everything there is to know about it? We bring you 10 facts that will explain you what is a siesta in Spain.
What is a Siesta in Spain? 10 facts about the Spanish afternoon nap you probably don't know
- 1. The origins of the Siesta are, in fact, Roman, not Spanish
- 2. Less people than you think take afternoon naps in Spain
- 3. Spanish Siestas are more common in Summer
- 4. Working hours helped make the Spanish afternoon nap popular
- 5. Spanish Siestas are taken in the sofa
- 6. People do not wear pyjamas for a Spanish afternoon nap
- 7. Spanish afternoon happens with the TV on
- 8. What is a siesta in Spain? The only way to sleep 8 hours
- 9. The Spanish afternoon nap is short
- 10. Spanish Siestas are good for your overall health
1. The origins of the Siesta are, in fact, Roman, not Spanish
The word siesta comes from latin “sexta” referring to the sixth hour of the day. It was the determined hour for Romans to rest and take a nap.
2. Less people than you think take afternoon naps in Spain
Around 60% of Spaniards never nap and only 16% of Spanish people nap daily.
3. Spanish Siestas are more common in Summer
People nap more often in Summer. Considering it can reach over 40 degrees in the middle hours of the day, it is way too hot to be outside. A lot of Spanish people tend to nap more in Summer as it’s also normally the time people are on holiday.
4. Working hours helped make the Spanish afternoon nap popular
While that is now changing, working hours in Spain used to be from 9h to 14h and from 16h to 20h.
Spanish people used the spare hours between 14h and 16h to have lunch and a nap to get through the long working hours.
5. Spanish Siestas are taken in the sofa
The place for a siesta is the sofa. Very rarely people will nap in the bed, that is reserved for long naps taken for special purposes like staying up particularly late.
6. People do not wear pyjamas for a Spanish afternoon nap
You will not change your clothes to take a nap. Very rarely someone will put on a pyjamas for a nap as you are likely to have to go on with your day afterwards.
7. Spanish afternoon happens with the TV on
It is commonly said in Spain the best programme for a nap is the animal documentaries on channel 2
8. What is a siesta in Spain? The only way to sleep 8 hours
People in Spain have dinner later than in the rest of the world, somewhere between 9 and 10pm.
Consequently, people also go to bed later. The average Spaniards go to bed at midnight, making it impossible to sleep 8h straight.
9. The Spanish afternoon nap is short
Ideal time for a nap is between 20 and 30 minutes. Longer naps will make you drowsy.
10. Spanish Siestas are good for your overall health
They help reduce stress, help boost your immune system, and increases your energy.
Save money on your trip to Spain to enjoy a Spanish afternoon nap aka siesta!
* This blog contains affiliate links. If you purchase or book something, we get a commission at no extra cost to you.