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History of siesta
A siesta is a short nap taken in the early afternoon, often after the midday meal. Such a period of sleep is a common tradition in some countries, particularly those where the weather is warm. Since the siesta is the traditional daytime sleep of Spain, and through Spanish influence, of many Latin American countries, the word siesta has been taken fromSpanish, from the Latin hora sexta "the sixth hour" (counting from dawn, therefore noon, hence "midday rest"). Einhard's Life of Charlemagne recounts the emperor's summertime siesta: "In summer, after his midday meal, he would eat some fruit and take another drink; then he would remove his shoes and undress completely, just as he did at night, and rest for two or three hours. Factors explaining the geographical distribution of the modern siesta are mainly high temperatures and heavy intake of food at the midday main meal. Combined, these two factors contribute to the feeling of post-lunch drowsiness. In these countries, the heat can be unbearable in the early afternoon, making a midday break at home ideal. In many areas with this habit, it is common to have the largest meal of the day in the very early afternoon, as is practical and common in cultures dominated by agriculture. The original concept of a siesta seems to have been merely that of a midday break intended to allow people to spend time with their friends and family. It has been suggested that the long length of the modern siesta dates back to the Spanish Civil War, when poverty resulted in many Spaniards working multiple jobs at irregular hours, pushing back meals to later in the afternoon and evening. However, this hypothesis sounds unlikely, considering that the siesta tradition was very common in Latin America and other countries with Hispanic influence, much before the Spanish Civil War. Protection from the sun A siesta takes place when the sun is at its highest point. This is when the sun's ultraviolet radiation is at its peak at midday. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation may result insunburn, especially if one has fair skin. Recurring overexposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause some forms of skin cancer. The sun's infrared radiation causes high air temperatures from the midday onwards, the highest temperatures taking place in the early afternoon. High temperatures can cause fatigue or in more serious cases heat exhaustion or hyperthermia (sunstroke). Biological need for naps Older, pre-teenage children are usually capable of napping, but acquire the ability to nap as teenagers as well.The timing of sleep in humans depends upon a balance between homeostatic sleep propensity, the need for sleep as a function of the amount of time elapsed since the last adequate sleep episode, and circadian rhythms which determine the ideal timing of a correctly structured and restorative sleep episode. The homeostatic pressure to sleep starts growing upon awakening. The circadian signal for wakefulness starts building in the (late) afternoon. As Harvard professor of sleep medicine Charles A.

Czeisler notes, "The circadian system is set up in a beautiful way to override the homeostatic drive for sleep." Thus, in many people, there is a dip when the drive for sleep has been building for hours and the drive for wakefulness has not yet started. This is, again quoting Czeisler, "a great time for a nap." The drive for wakefulness intensifies through the evening, making it difficult to get to sleep 23 hours before one's usual bedtime when the wake maintenance zone ends. In some individuals, "postprandial dip", a brief drop in blood glucose levels caused by the body's normal insulin response to a heavy meal, may produce drowsiness after the meal that can encourage a nap. However, the appearance of the dip is primarily circadian as it occurs also in the absence of the meal.

Siesta in other culture and countries

The concept of a midday nap is also prominent in other tropical or subtropical countries, where the afternoon heat dramatically reduces work productivity. The Washington Post of February 13, 2007 reports at length on studies in Greece that indicate that those who nap have less risk of heart attack. An example of a siesta-like habit can be found in Serbia and Slovenia. Especially among older citizens, it is common to observe the so-called "house rule", requiring people to refrain from telephoning or visiting each other between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., as people are supposed to be resting; especially since lunch in Serbia and Slovenia, eaten usually between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., is the main dish of the day. In some southern German-speaking regions, the Mittagspause or Mittagsruhe is still customary; shops close, and children are expected to play quietly indoors. In South Asia, the idea of a post-lunch nap is common, and the idea of going to sleep after a light massage with mustard oil to induce drowsiness was very popular before industrialization. It was also very popular to consume a light snack during this ritual; it was thought that this practice would make one a better person.[citation needed] In Bengal, the word which describes the concept is bhat-ghum, literally meaning "ricesleep", a nap after lunch. Afternoon sleep is also a common habit in China and Taiwan after the midday meal. This is calledwujiao ( ) in Chinese. Almost all schools in Mainland China and Taiwan have a half-hour nap period right after lunch. This is a time when all lights are out and one is not allowed to do anything other than rest or sleep. Some Japanese offices have special rooms known as napping rooms for their workers to take a nap during lunch break or after overtime work. In Islam, it is encouraged to take a nap between Dhuhr (midday) and Asr (afternoon) prayers, with the intention of doing tahajjud later in the night. In the United States, the United Kingdom, and a growing number of other countries, a short sleep has been referred to as a "power nap", a term coined by Cornell University social psychologist James Maas and recognized by other research scientists such as Sara Mednick[7] as well as in the popular press. In north India a colloquial term (literally means: taking small nap, possibly of Persian origin) is used, although it does not necessarily mean siesta but it is used in same way.

Italian Siesta Having a siesta makes people work more and better. Workplace napping is a natural, no-cost way to increase worker productivity. Employers should allow (and even encourage) workers to nap on their work breaks. Doctors, researchers and scientists (at Nasa) have finally quantified the benefits of the daily nap. It has been found that having a nap of 30 minutes in the middle of a working day recharge our brain, increase memory, concentration and so human productivity of 34%. We Italians nap since the Roman times at least. Its more a physical need than a culture use. Have two hours for lunch break is generally the normal and taking a nap after lunch is common and natural for 50% of Italians in hot summers it becomes more epidemic. Siesta is always been connected to Latin countries and considered a sign of laziness by Northern Europeans. The word itself come from Latin and means the sixth hour (of light), which is around midday. But everyone knows in the south of Europe a good nap does wonders for your productivity. In France 20% of the workers admit to have a nap at home, but most of the time the workers who can not go home have a nap in the car outside their workplace. The Spanish have created centres Masajes a 1000 where workers can go during lunch-break and relax with a little nap for 4 euros. Sleepiness is a serious cause of automobile accidents second only to drunkenness. After it has been found that Chernobyl and the Exxon oil tank disasters have been caused by human mistakes caused by lack of sleep, worldwide companies can no longer keep their eyes closed to the epidemic of sleepiness on the job and are now more worried about their workers sleep. In Japan companies nearly force their employees to take a nap in special napping rooms to increase their productivity. Japanese companies that cannot afford such rooms have bought desk top hair bag pillows for their clerks to sleep on the desk and at work. Some German companies have offered to their employees the chance to take 20 minutes extra time break at lunch time to rest 98% have accepted and dont care to leave work 20 minutes later. In China the xiuxi (a nap) is guaranteed by the law. Brahms napped at the piano while he composed his famous lullaby. Napoleon napped between battles. Churchill maintained that he had to nap in order to cope with his wartime responsibilities. Geniuses such as Edison and Da Vinci napped. As the Bible says, on the seventh dayGod rested. Even God naps! Felix

Japanesse siesta Independent Newspapers.As Japan looks to save electricity this summer amid its ongoing nuclear crisis, one regional government has come up with a novel solution not usually found in Japanese workplaces siestas.As Japan looks to save electricity this summer amid its ongoing nuclear crisis, one regional government has come up with a novel solution not usually found in Japanese workplaces siestas. The government of central Gifu prefecture is urging its staff to go home for a nap between 1pm and 3pm to cut down on air conditioning and other power use during the sweltering summer months. Power consumption will go down if there are fewer people in the office, prefectural official Hiroshi Ichihara said, adding that the government was aiming for a power cut of 20 percent in that time. Civil servants may be cheering, but there is a catch: their daytime nap hours will be deducted from their annual holiday entitlements.

Chinese Siesta The idea of an afternoon siesta, or (xiu1 xi1) is deeply entrenched into the Chinese lifestyle. While the exact times vary based on region and season, business in China typically shuts down around 11:00 or 11:30 and picks back up at about 1:30 or 2. The interim is used both as a lunch break and a nap time. During the mid-afternoon in China, it is not uncommon to see taxi drivers asleep in their cabs, shopkeepers dozing behind the counter, and construction workers playing cards or taking naps on bamboo mats. School children often return home to get fed and take a rest before returning to class, and office workers often do the same. As a general rule, it is also somewhat rude to call or visit someone at this time, as it is likely they are sleeping. During my first year in China when I was living in Fuqing I found myself sinking into these same Chinese sleeping patterns. All of the teachers and students at my university would take a nap from 12:00 to 1:30, and there was nothing for me to do but take a nap as well. However, before long I found an even better use for my xiu xi timegoing shopping and running errands! Because much of China is asleep at this hour, it the ideal time slot to buy groceries, make a transaction at the bank, go shopping, or do anything other activity which would normally subject oneself to the ubiquitous masses of people which crowd the Middle Kingdom. Before long, I found myself consolidating all of my shopping to the time between 12 and 2 and found both the time and aggravation I was saving myself to be well worth it. Here in Chicagos Chinatown, Chinese and American cultures mix, and often result in a hybrid form of Sino-Americanization. While many American customs are adopted by the Chinese in the Windy City, there is also much which remains culturally Chinese, and the xiu xi is one of them. For me, at least I now know that early afternoon is the time to do my Chinese grocery shopping in Chicago too.

Siesta in Europe The tradition of napping, or Siesta as it's also called, has a long, quiet, and peaceful history. Taking a good afternoon nap is still quite popular in Spain, Italy, and other countries of southern Europe, and also in Mexico and other Latin America countries. Recently however, it's been reported that the tradition of napping is dying out in some of these places, due to the pressures and demands of the new economy. In this article, I will show conclusively that this stifling and suppression of the human need for 40 winks is both wrong headed, and bad for the economy. This trend must be addressed as a serious and threatening assualt on the peace of mind, liberty, and general well being of those who still have the courage and wisdom to practice this excellent tradition.