It is something every Spaniard has always known – a sleep in the afternoon is good for you. Now, scientists have confirmed the benefits of the siesta and issued guidelines for the perfect nap.
A short sleep after lunch can reduce stress, help cardiovascular functions, and improve alertness and memory, according to a report from the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians (SEMERGEN).
But it is only beneficial if it forms part of the regular daily routine rather than a one off.
A post-prandial nap is part of the natural cycle of the body and missing it could be worse for one’s health than skipping a meal, the findings showed.
Sleep too long, however, and the effects could be detrimental, experts warn.
A siesta should be no longer than half an hour and should take place on a sofa or in a comfortable armchair and not in bed, where one is more likely to fall into a deep sleep.