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Monday, 14 November 2011


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

Paul Gauguin
John Sargent
Jose Maria Rodriguez Acosta

John William Godward

Guillermo Collazo

Antonio Gattorno

Franz Xavier Winterhalter

I hope you have liked the paintings I have chosen for the post  and I just want to wish you all to have nice little naps with big and sweet dreams! ............zzzzzzzz.................



  1. Let's move to Japan! Look like they have it right. Pillows ready :)
    PYou picked great paintings! Have a wonderful week! :)

  2. WEll Nieves, what a lovely post! I do believe it is a shape that shops do not observe this any more in Spain.We are ridiculous about rushing ,getting and spending and we loose sight of our humanity,Where are we ruashing to!! lol angela

  3. Ivanhoe, now I have got a dilema, because on the one hand I would like to go Norway, the first and best country in the world where one can live better at the moment, but by other hand if we go to Japan we can have pillows wars at the office jejeje! Have a great week you too!

  4. Angela, thanks for leaving your comment, I am very glad you liked it and you are completely right about rush in our lives today. We should learn to live slower and enjoy every single minute in our life, but I do not know why but this is more difficult to achieve when you are living in a city, unfortunately! Perhaps we all should go to live to the country and learn to enjoy little and nice things in life. Enjoy your week Angela!

  5. Of course, the siesta is the best of the Spanish habits, the same as the sun, Gastronomy and many Festivities are main parts of this country.

    When you sleep a siesta after having lunch you feel with much energy for the rest of the day.

    Miss Snow you give energy unusual not stop writing and make a lot of things. I now sleep more than nine hours, I follow the advice of doctors who are health care professionals. The health above work and love.

  6. MADRILEÑA, the siesta has been always an important part in our idiosyncrasy but now is not like that or not as much important any more, perhaps unfortunately!


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