|Raimundo de Madrazo|
Although the Spaniards have been traditionally very famous about being quite good at taking long siesta (word that comes from the Latin for sixth hour, by the way), the truth is that is a myth that has been banished nowadays (statistics say that only 16% of the Spanish population practice it), it is curious that it is currently practiced by most tourists and foreigners living in Spain more than by own nationals (and those who practice it are more people over 45 years).
But it happens that doctors recommend that a nap of 20 minutes (even on the sofa) after eating is very healthy, reducing the risk of death from heart disease, particularly in young healthy men, experts say napping help people to relax, reducing their stress levels.
And the fact is that today in Spain many people are unable to take a siesta ("our national sport", as it has always been said) and their lives (our lives) haven't collapsed around them. Big supermarkets and department stores also stay open during the siesta. Though still there are differences among different cities in Spain and so, for example, the siesta hits Madrid and Barcelona much less than in Granada or Salamanca. Today's hectic lifestyle does often not allow people the time to sleep, but many still do their best to fit a little nap in when they can.
It seems is not a Mediterranean invention, but it is just happens that they are who preserved this tradition. In fact before the industrial revolution it would have been perfectly normal in northern Europe for people to take an afternoon sleep after a big evening meal. Did you know that Churchill, Napoleon and Leonardo da Vinci used to nap, by the way?
Besides there are other countries where napping seems to be very popular too, in Japan, for example, employees have desk pillows and napping rooms (!!!) meanwhile Spanish offices have never been equipped with a bed yet (I promise you!).
Nevertheless, tradition is tradition and last year the Spain’s First National Siesta Championship took place in Madrid and it awarded for how quickly competitors can get to sleep, the duration of their siesta, any interesting sleeping positions or choice of pijamas and the style and substance of their snoring. Among others, there was a 1000 euros award for the best twenty minutes nap (see the link HERE).
So since the doctors recommend to take little naps to keep us fit and healthy I have thought to enclose today a few paintings on the subject, from different artists, styles and countries, just to encourage you to practice this good habit.
|Frederick Arthur Bridgman|
|Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida|
|Pedro Lira Rencoret|
|Jose Maria Rodriguez Acosta|
|John William Godward|
|Franz Xavier Winterhalter|