“Siesta” is one of the words that Spanish habits and language have given to the rest of the world. The siesta, which at first had a very bad reputation, is a not very long period of time in which you relax until fast sleep. There are short siestas (just a doze), there are long and deep siestas, everywhere and every time, mainly after lunch time and avoiding the heat of the midday sun in the Spanish summer.
On the whole, the siesta interrupts your working day for a few minutes and it lets you go on working with new strength. The English have the expressions “to have a doze” and “to have a nap” and it is said that Sir Winston Churchill was really keen on the siesta and during the Second World War he didn’t leave this habit not even in the hardest moments of the war. Most Spaniards think no task is so important that it can’t wait a couple of hours while you attend to more important matters like eating, relaxing, or catching up on sleep from a night on the town.
When the midday break comes, offices empty and streets clear in Spain. Foreigners quickly learn that they have entered a new timetable. And this has long made the Spanish the butt of jokes. But recent research shows that it’s the Spaniards who have the last laugh as taking a long break in the middle of the day is not only healthier than the conventional lunch, it’s apparently more natural. Sleep researchers have found that the Spanish biorhythm may be tuned more closely to our biological clocks. So there is a biological reason for siestas. Nowadays there are big companies which even provide their employees with suitable places to have a short siesta.
You can also have a doze in class (although your teacher might not like it) or while watching TV as at midday they always broadcast documentaries which helps you fall asleep and have a good siesta. A good siesta always clears your head but not everybody would agree with this because there are people who wake up from the siesta, as they do in the morning, very bad-tempered.