The tradition of the siesta is common throughout Southern Europe and the Mediterranean. It is derived form the Latin word “hora seta,” or sixth hour, otherwise known as midday, or six hours after dawn. It is a time in which businesses close down so workers and employers can take a snooze during the hottest hours of the day. Einhard’s “Life of Charlemagne” most charmingly refers to the emperor’s siestas as a time,”In summer, after his midday meal (when) he would eat some fruit, and take another drink; then he would remove his shoes and undress completely, just as he did at night, and rest for two or three hours.” Sound good? Well, good luck trying that in the middle of your office.
Apparently, the need to sleep starts growing as soon as you wake up. (Seems about right.) Harvard Professor of Sleep Medicine, (Did you know there was such a job?) Charles A. Czeisler says, ” The circadian system is set up in a beautiful way the override the homeostatic need for sleep.” However, sometimes there is a dip in the day when the need for sleep has built up and the second wind has not yet kicked in, hence the mid-day slump. Maybe someday we will all have the luxury of a siesta, but until then, here are some suggestions to help get past it.
Sip Some Green Tea or Coffee
Green tea is a less caffeinated and alternative to coffee and is full of antioxidants, but if coffee is still the way you roll, it has its health benefits as well.
Gets the blood flowing and definitely keeps you awake. You are much likely to fall asleep in the middle of jumping jacks than you are with your head down on your desk. If going to the gym is not time permitting, just do a few stretches or light aerobics at the desk.
Eating is always a good way of restoring energy to your body. If its not lunch time, keep a healthy snack handy at your desk. String cheese, a handful of nuts, or a piece of fruit are all great options. Jerky is another high protein alternative that is easy to pack and keep fresh, but try to avoid brands with high levels of sodium. Another tip? Resist sugar. It may perk you up in the short term, but you’ll be comatose on the drive home.
Sugar free gum is a great way to keep your jaw moving and your teeth clean at the same time. The rush of flavor is invigorating and it does involve some physical activity, plus all the cool kids chew gum!
Turn On Some Music
Have you ever seen “Risky Business?” Have a Tom Cruise moment in the middle of the afternoon! Just turn on whatever rocks you to life. Headphones are recommended to avoid a midday office dance party, and try to keep your pants on.
Take A Nap
Sure, take a cue from our Mediterranean neighbors. If you can afford to, and your boss is liberal, go for a power nap in the middle of the day. Try to keep it down to 20 minutes, an alarm clock with a snooze button may come in handy.