By Vittorio Hernandez

Berlin, Germany

The DGB Confederation of Trade Unions sought the return of the midday napping tradition or siesta among German workers. The confederation explained that lunchtime power naps are good for the health and performance of employees.

Annelie Buntenbach, a DGB executive board member, said a siesta cuts the risk of a heart attack and provides an energy boost.

Buntenbach cited studies made by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical School that Greeks who had regular noontime naps had 37 percent lower mortality rates from cardiovascular ailments than those who did not have a regular siesta.

Although the siesta is a tradition practiced in southern Europe, such as Spain and Italy, a growing number of German firms are now open to allowing their workers a lunchtime power nap and even made available special rooms for the siesta. Prior to the industrial revolution, Germans too engaged in siestas.

Among the German companies which had provided siesta rooms are BASF, Opel, Hornsbach and Lufthansa.

However, even in Spain the tradition is under threat due to modern lifestyle. To highlight the importance of the noonday nap, Spain's National Association of Friends of the Siesta held a nine-day siesta competition.

The contest had 360 competitors who had to sleep up to 20 minutes in a Madrid shopping center. To ensure that the contestants were really asleep, their pulses were monitored.

The contest, held in October 2010, was won by Pedro Soria Lopez, a jobless Ecuadoran security guard who napped for 17 minutes. The 62-year-pld man did not only slept, but even registered 70 decibels of snoring, which earned him the top prize of $1,400 (EUR 1,000).


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World - German Unions Seek Return of Midday Napping Tradition | Global Viewpoint