|Some people are very casual about their siesta|
The traditional afternoon siesta developed for good reasons. Napping is a great way to escape the worst heat of the day and refresh one's self for the evening ahead.
Some people, like the guy pictured above, just casually plop down for a little rest in the afternoon. That's great and it works, but I think a siesta can be something more. There's a technique to having a really good siesta.
First, you don't want to sleep too long, or you wake sleep-drunk and spend too much time recovering your energy and focus. And there's nothing wonderful about waking up at dinnertime and realizing that you've accidentally slept a whole beautiful afternoon away.
However when the siesta is too short, I find it unsatisfying. I don't simply lay down. I make it special, and here are a few of my guidelines.
Although it's tempting, don't take a rest immediately after lunch. Stay up and get a little exercise first. It's better for your digestion. You'll rest easier.
Take off your clothes. Especially if the weather is warm, this is a good idea. It's more comfortable, and your clothes will feel fresher when you put them on again.
If daytime sounds bother you, create white noise. Soft music or a fan are good for this. Silence the phones to ensure quality time. If you are serious about your siesta, you've got to make sure there are no interruptions.
Try taking your siesta in a hammock or another place different from where you sleep at night. I think this signals mind and body that it's just a siesta, not a full overnight sleep and makes it easier to get up.
|My favorite place for a siesta...an empty beach house|
Unless you are good at cat napping, set an alarm, and get up when it goes off. For me, 30 - 60 minutes is the perfect length for a siesta. However if you wake up after 20 minutes and feel good, go ahead and get up.
Jumping in a pool or having a cool rinse-off in the shower after a siesta really helps get the afternoon off to a good start. If you like caffeine, have a cup of coffee or tea. I like to drink my cup of hot coffee in the pool. On afternoons when I am having a hard time getting up, the dangling carrot of a cup my of favorite beverage in the cooling water helps get me vertical.
I find that the sleep of siestas is often deep, dreamless and less restless than at night. Taking a good siesta doesn't necessarily help me stay up later at night, but the quality of my evening improves when I have rested.
That's what works for me. Of course, here I am talking about siestas taken alone. The art of the siesta -- accompanied -- can be something altogether different. I am not sure I am prepared to write about that, in this blog, at least. But you'll know it if I do.