The notion of the Spanish siesta is not a new one by a long shot. In fact, the practice of pulling down the shutters to grab a little shuteye has been an established practice in countries like Spain, Greece, Italy, Costa Rica, Mexico and Ecuador for centuries. What was probably originally attended as a way to escape the harshest rays of the midday sun, eventually evolved into a cultural practice that allowed the citizens of these countries to take a break, rest and reflect before continuing with the rest of their day.
However, as life became more fast-paced and profits margins became more important than R&R, the Spanish siesta started to fall by the wayside. Modern business trends and increased tourism numbers had all but lead to the extinction the afternoon nap in Latin countries. That is, until a clever lady by the name of Maria Estrella Jorro de Inza found a way to streamline naptime and repackage it as a business necessity.
These days Siesta & Go offers all the makings of an afternoon power nap in Azca, Madrid's bustling financial district that houses the HQs of huge firms like Deloitte, HSBC and Google. In short, the business offers clean, comfortable rooms to rent by the hour where business folk can relax, unwind and take a nap over their lunch break. Clients enjoy clean sheets, complimentary ear plugs and can freshen up at a coffee station upon waking.
De Inza happened upon the idea for her business while she was travelling in Japan. In Tokyo, she encountered 'nap cafes', where Japanese businessmen and -women would go to enjoy a short, health-boosting snooze after their midday meal. Research has indicated that a short nap (ideally no longer than 26 minutes) after lunch can improve cardiovascular function, reduce stress and increase alertness and memory retention.
De Inza’s business, which opened in May 2017, is still somewhat of a novelty but it points towards a shift in the Spanish approach towards self care. This comes in the wake of research that indicated that Spain's national productivity would be increased if they turned back the clock by an hour to the same time zone as the UK and Portugal. Spanish dictator Francisco Franco moved the clock forward by an hour in 1940 to be in line with his Italian and German allies, and the result has been an ever-longer workday as the Spanish adapted to new work hours, but still followed the sun and enjoyed late dinners, resulting in less and less sleep.
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