Mayor of Ador in Valencia, Joan Faus Vitoria, has instituted an official nap time for the entire city. The Spanish mayor marks the first in the country to declare a siesta for residents between 2 to 5 p.m. However, nap time should not be taken as an obligation, but as a suggestion; no penalties will be incurred for violators.
Nap time was instituted due to the extreme heat during afternoon hours. Vitoria said this is the ideal time for those working in the fields to take a break. The proclamation asks residents to be quiet and respectful during “nap time” and recommends children stay indoors in order to prevent their playful noise from traveling through open windows.
Spaniards have known for centuries the benefits of siestas. A study documented in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism confirms taking a nap in the afternoon has considerable health benefits. According to the author of the study, Brice Faraut:
Data suggests a 30-minute nap can reverse the hormonal impact of a night of poor sleep. This is the first study that found napping could restore biomarkers of neuroendocrine and immune health to normal levels.
Faraut, a scientist at Paris Descartes University in Paris, France, said the study involved 11 male participants who had slept only two hours the previous night. The men who took part in the study were between the ages of 25 and 32. There were two laboratory sessions where light and food were controlled with strict measures. It revealed that taking a nap helped to counteract the harmful effects of lack of sleep. Other benefits of a short nap are it helps to alleviate stress and strengthens the immune system, restoring neuroendocrine biomarkers to normal health.
The lack of sleep has serious health hazards and is the source of several illnesses. Sleep deficient people are more prone to develop chronic illnesses such as depression, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. The lack of sleep also reduces productivity and mental alertness. It has been cited for many industrial and car accidents. The Spanish mayor seeks to avoid these hazards by instituting an official daily nap time for the entire city.
Taking a nap is like rebooting the brain, but is as much of an art as it is a science. In order to reap the greatest benefits, the snooze should become a regular part of a person’s schedule. Not only are siestas important, but also proper planning such as when and how long.
Reportedly for a quick boost, a 10 to 20-minute power nap should prove sufficient. For cognitive memory processing, an hour siesta would be more beneficial, but in order to gain a full cycle of sleep, a 90-minute nap is required. This aids in emotional and procedural memory and creativity. Sleep experts suggest when taking a siesta one should sit slightly upright in order to avoid falling into a deep sleep. If nap takers find themselves dreaming during power naps, it could be a sign that a person is deprived of adequate sleep.
There is a growing body of research which supports napping as a wise decision. Siestas have the power to refresh the mind, boost intelligence, enhance creativity and even help people live longer, healthier lives. Mayor Vitoria understands this and has instituted an official daily nap time for the entire Valencia city.
The town’s summer siesta tradition is so deeply rooted that it has now been declared a law of the city. Although citizens will not be penalized for not taking a nap, much of the Valencian town is happy to live up to the Spanish stereotype by enjoying an afternoon siesta.
A town hall spokesman said everything is closed during the afternoon hours between 2 and 5 p.m. marking Ador Mayor Joan Faus Vitoria as the first in the country to issue a proclamation instituting an official afternoon nap time for the entire city. The people of Ador hope to preserve the summer tradition for generations of future nappers.
by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
UPI: Spanish mayor institutes daily nap time for entire city
Spanish News: Spanish town brings in compulsory siesta law
The Locals es: Siestas are good for you, research shows
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