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The article "Out to Lunch" by Joe Robinson caught my eye as I was scanning our latest Utne. Mr. Robinson explores the practice of the Spanish Siestas. Of course the siestas were first extablished because of the heat, during the hottest part of the day the Spaniards would retire to their homes to rest and then after the heat of the day would return to the streets to cool down and socialize. Claudios Stampi, director of the chrono Biology Research Institute in Newton, Massachusetts states, "All animals including humans, have a bilolgical rhythm, one is a 24-hour rhythm-we get tired by the end of the day and go to sleep-and there is a secondary peak of sleepiness and a decrease in alertness in the early afternoon. Some people have difficulty remaining awake, doing any sort of task between one and four in the afternoon. For others it's less difficult.but it's there. So there is a biological reason for siesta." So there was a reason for nap time in Kindergarten. I think some interesting issues are brought up in this article. Educators have long known that children's attention spans are better in the morning than in the afternoon. That is why we teach reading and usually math in the morning. In the afternoon, I know that I like to have kids do activities out of their desks so they can move around. In other words, keep them awake. It would be interesting to see if productivity in children would change if we allowed them to have a short siesta after lunch. I am fortunate enough to live close to the school I teach in. Many times during my half hour lunch I will run home to have a quiet lunch. It helps rejuvenate me for the afternoon. Too bad some of my students and fellow collegues don't have that opportunity. It might make for a less stressful afternoon. I don't think society will ever adopt the afternoon siesta, but Mr. Robinson concludes his aticle with the fact the the Spanish have a longer life expectancy than Americans.

-- Anonymous, May 22, 1999


Hi Dianne, what an interesting aritcle. Now I know why I begin to drag in the afternoons and want to take naps whenever I can. It's not becasue I didn't eat a good breakfast or get enough sleep the night before - It's biological! Oh, and by the way, I'm all for adopting the afternoon siesta.

-- Anonymous, June 10, 1999

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