What Countries Have a Siesta?

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Siestas are common in Spanish-speaking countries, including Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Spain itself. Siestas are also common in Italy, Greece, the Philipines and Nigeria. They occur in hot climates for the most part. A siesta is a short afternoon nap that originated in Spain.

The name siesta comes from the Latin hora sexta, which translates to the sixth hour. Since dawn is traditionally the beginning of the day, the sixth hour would consequently be around noon, which is a great time for a siesta. A siesta is a planned break in the day. In some countries shops, churches and museums close during the midday.

In the U.S., U.K and other western countries, the equivalent to a siesta is called a “power nap,” which refers to a short sleep of approximately 20 minutes. Studies in Greece indicate that people who nap have a lower heart attack risk.

In 2013, the National Association of Friends of the Siesta held the first annual national siesta championship. Participants were judged on loudest snore, best outfit, original sleeping positions and sleeping for as many of the 20 minutes allotted as possible. The winner was Pedro Alfonso Soria Lopez who received 1,000 euros for the win.