Thesis: Given the problems of workplace stress, lower productivity and the need to facilitate more beneficial sleep, invoking a mandatory Spanish-style siesta is the suggested solution to the problem of workplace stress and productivity.
Support 1: Research shows that we have a biological need for midday sleep, according to our circadean rhythms.
- Details: “sleep bulimia” is a phenomenon in modern society, and human beings are not sleeping as much as they used to, or should (Lambert, 2005).
Support 2: Siestas would reduce employee stress, which would turn into greater health benefits and more productive and profitable workers.
- Details: A study of Greek adults who took midday siestas showed a 30% reduced likelihood of dying of heart disease (Stein, 2007).
- Knudsen, Ducharme and Roman performed a study in which poor sleep quality is directly connected to job stress and negative work and health outcomes (2007).
Support 3: The aforementioned biological need for sleep would be met, people would be more energetic in the afternoon, and productivity would subsequently increase.
- Details: Siestaawarenes.org notes that siesta provides 30% more energy, 100% more alertness, and lowers heart disease risk and stress by 34% (siestaawareness.org, 2014).
- Naska et al. (2007) performed a study in which siesta for healthy individuals was examined, showing that people who performed systematic siestas were 37% less likely to die of coronary issues.
Counterargument 1: Implementing an American siesta would involve changing the logistics of the workplace to make it feasible for people to sleep at work.
Counterargument 2: The tradition of the siesta is beginning to disappear in countries where it is already used.
Counterargument 3: There may be a temptation of sleeping too much, which might affect working hours and the labor market.
Conclusion: By implementing a siesta, America’s workforce can provide itself a much-needed rest to maintain its emotional and physical health, while also improving economic outcomes.
Knudsen, Hannah K., Lori J. Ducharme, and Paul M. Roman. "Job stress and poor sleep quality: Data from an American sample of full-time workers." Social Science & Medicine 64.10 (2007): 1997-2007.
Lambert, Craig, PhD. "Deep into Sleep. While researchers probe sleep's functions, sleep itself is becoming a lost art". Harvard Magazine, July-August 2005.
Naska, A., Oikonomou, E., Trichopoulou, A., Psaltopoulou, T. and Trichopoulos, D. “Siesta in healthy adults and coronary mortality in the general population.” Archives of Internal Medicine, 167 (2007), 296-301.
National Siesta Day. “Siesta Facts.” Siesta Awareness, 2014. <http://www.siestaawareness.org/pages/siesta-facts.php>.
Stein, Rob. "Midday Naps Found to Help Fend Off Heart Disease", Washington Post, 13 February 2007, p. A14.