Scientists have finally caught up with something many of us have known for years – siestas are good for you.
A team of American and Greek doctors and researchers announced their conclusions at the end of a six-year study, declaring that a 30-minute nap during the middle of the day could reduced by 37 per cent the risk of death from a heart-related disease.
Furthermore, working men who opted for a siesta were 64 per cent less likely to suffer heart problems.
The team studied nearly 24,000 Greek male and female volunteers between the ages of 20 and 86 over a period of six years.
The research team concluded that siestas helped to reduce the incidence of heart problems because it helps to relieve stress, considered to be a major factor in cardiovascular disease.
It has been long known that countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain, where most people take siestas, have lower rates of heart disease than might be expected.
The traditional siesta in all of these countries and in other parts of the world is under threat as globalisation spreads the workaholic lifestyle becoming predominant in Western culture.
In Tenerife, the siesta is still very much a part of local culture, with most shops shutting from 1pm or 2pm for a few hours, re-opening at 5pm or 6pm.
Other recent studies have suggested a biological need for an afternoon nap. The body is on a 24-hour body clock, which makes you wind down between 1am and 6am and again in the three hours directly after lunch.