Living in Sevilla, Spain for the past two months has taught me one important life lesson: the power of a nap. Spain is known for their “siesta” times everyday after a heavy lunch with family and/or friends. Lunch typically begins at 2pm and siesta time goes until around 5-6pm. People in the southern parts of Spain live their days around siesta time more so than other regions because the intense heat in the middle of the day makes it uncomfortable and almost unbearable to be out and about. The rest of Spain follow siesta time in their personal, daily lives, but businesses still operate during siesta time.
Besides checking the clock, here are 5 ways to know it’s siesta time.
1. The streets become less crowded
2. Noise is concentrated in areas of restaurants and residences
3. The noise you do hear consists of the faint sound of kids playing, TVs playing, and people chattering. The loudest noise is the sound of utensils and cooking supplies at work.
4. After 3pm, it becomes more quiet as people are actually taking their naps or resting by enjoying quiet reading time or watching TV.
5. You can’t do anything besides go to the pharmacy or grocery shop (maybe) because everything else is closed.
Most stores will open back up after siesta time is over. At around 6pm, the streets become busy. The world gets going again and people are louder than before because they are well fed and freshly rested. Shops and cafes become full of people hanging out or trying to be productive. Tapas bars are common hangout places during this time too, because people are not quite ready for dinner but are hungry enough for light food and drinks.
It’s amazing how a culture revolved can be revolved around a resting period and still function. The people are happier and life seems much more easy-going and manageable. Those of us studying abroad here have adjusted quickly to planning a siesta into our day. You can stay up as late as you want without worrying about getting little sleep because the next day you have a period cut out for a nap! It also splits up the day nicely. There are certain things you have to get done before siesta hours and other things that can wait until after. It helps you prioritize what you need to do in your day and ensure you get the rest your body needs. I have become an avid siesta-taker and hope to continue this glorious practice when I get back home.