Kelvinwright's Blog

postmodern thoughts

Is it time to market the siesta as a good thing?

Before I moved to Spain in 2005, there was a belief that everybody took two-hour afternoon siestas and all businesses closed, opening up again in the early evening. The reality was quite different. Whilst small family run businesses closed for a few hours, it seemed that the concept of the siesta was a disappearing tradition in bigger businesses and companies.


In the postmodern office, however, could there be a place for the siesta? Should it be encouraged, rebranded and marketed as a good HR management practice throughout organisations? Should it be considered as an effective method of improving employee creativity, performance and productivity?


In truth, the siesta never completely disappeared; the concept of the corporate or executive power nap has been around for a long time. In one American company where I worked, the building had designated “chill out” areas – themed rooms that included a space room, with an egg-shell shaped chair hanging from a ceiling and images of the sky at night around you; another sport themed room had a leather baseball mitt sofa. It was common to see people crashed out for fifteen minute naps after lunch or during mid-afternoon. In other words, a shorter version of the good old-fashioned Spanish siesta.


An article in (link below to the full article) highlighted the well-known benefits of the power-nap:

-Clearer thinking and sharpness: A study by NASA, quoted in the below article, showed that a 30-minute nap improved cognitive abilities by around 40%. Other studies suggest that a 20-minute nap has the effect of recharging the brain, allowing us (or our workers) to reap the benefits of being more alert, improving problem solving and creativity. As the article states: a foggy brain struggling to focus and make decisions is an impaired brain. Do we (as employers) want impaired brains making important, strategic decisions for us?

-Increased energy and stamina, and with them improved performance. Often when I arrive home, too tired to go to the gym, I take a 15 minute power nap to energise myself, then exercise.

-Protection against heart disease and reduced stress: In 2007 a study concluded that in cultures where afternoon napping was common (a 30-minute nap at least three times a week), the risk of heart related death was lowered by 37%, compared to occasional naps, where the risk was reduced by 12%!


With employees taking on increased workloads, and with them, increased stress, in what is already a very unsettled economic climate, could the executive siesta become a 21st century management recommendation? Should companies consider the provision of quiet chill out areas free of technology, cell-phones and email?


Read the full article:

For more information on how to power nap/take an executive siesta more effectively, try this link:


August 30, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I think power naps should be actively encouraged. I use polyphasic sleep when I’m writing all weekend. And I usually grab a snooze between leaving work and writing in the evening. It definitely gives your brain a boost. Sadly, a lot of employers seem to think there’s something wrong with you if you try and grab 15 minutes sleep in the afternoon. Old school Victorian mindset. Of course, it does require some discipline to actually wake up and get going again so I think it might be open to abuse to the lazy minority. Hey-ho. Cattleprods can always come in useful. :o)

    Comment by davidjrodger | August 31, 2012 | Reply

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