Siesta and Its Effects in Different Cultures 

Siesta is derived from hora sexta, a Latin word that literally means the sixth hour. This is in reference to the sixth hour after dawn, or 12 noon. It is a cultural phenomenon wherein people sleep midday after consuming their lunch, which is also their heaviest meal for the day. When your stomach is heavy, it is just natural to feel sleepy, which is exactly why siestas are practiced in different countries.


For some people, siesta is simply a nap. For others, however, it is a way of living. It is a part of culture, and for this reason, it could impact the lives of individuals in more ways than one. Keep on reading and we will have a quick look on how siesta affects some countries.


When you speak of siesta, Spain is perhaps the best country for reference. Historically, siestas have been popular in the country to provide people with the opportunity to take a break from their work during the hottest point of the day. Also, it is a chance for people with multiple jobs to have a break and commute on their way to their next work.


When you are in Spain, you will find their shops, businesses, and offices, among other establishments, closed from 2pm to 5pm. The crowded streets can be sedated at this time of the day. This can be a shocking experience for uninformed tourists. Nonetheless, this is an excellent way to experience the slow and relaxed lifestyle in the country.

Siesta in Spain results into late working hours. This makes it hard to find the balance between work and family. Many children do not have the opportunity to see their parents during weekdays because of their late schedule in their jobs. With its supposedly negative consequences, there is no wonder why many people are advocating proposals to change the working hours. By eliminating siesta, work will end earlier.


In Greece, siesta is locally known as mesimeris. In English, it means quiet time, which is exactly what you can expect. The practice is no longer as popular as it was way back. Nonetheless, in many large Greek cities, there are still many stores that are closed from 2pm to 5pm. In rural parts of the country, many towns and villages are lifeless during siesta. During this time, there is no loud noise or music. Once the siesta ends, life is brought back.

Based on certain studies, siesta had a favorable impact in the health of Greeks. In fact, in one research, it has been revealed that those who practiced regular napping were less likely to experience heart problems. It is also believed that many Greeks live a longer life, some surviving up to 100 years. Many largely credit this to their practice of siesta.


In Italy, they call their siesta riposo. The practice is not an Italian tradition, but has been one of the major influences from Spain. This has been created primarily for being able to keep attuned with the body clock. It is shorter than the siesta in Spain. Usually, it only lasts one to one and a half hours. In most places, siesta ends before 4pm. During this time of the day, many of the cities will be deserted. Stores, museums, and other tourist attractions can be closed. This is an opportunity for the workers to take a break, go home, eat lunch, or just snooze. In most places, only restaurants can be open during siesta.

Just like in the case of Greece and Spain, siesta also has a significant impact on the life in Italy. It is, however, no longer a practice that is as popular. Many stores, for instance, are generally more interested towards earning a profit, which is why they try to be open the whole day rather than closing midday. Nonetheless, there are also still many who practice the traditional Italian siesta. It leads into closer family ties. In fact, in Italy, siesta is not about taking a nap. Rather, it is about going home to enjoy lunch and savor home-cooked meal. Therefore, it is an excellent way to bond with the whole family and to eat together in one table.

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