Siesta. Sure, the habit may have originated from Southern Europe, but since a lot of Asian countries have been colonized by Europeans, it’s a habit you’ll also often see in Asia, particularly in the Philippines and Vietnam (colonized by the Spain and France, respectively), when the temperatures are prohibitive during noon time to doing anything else. Discounting of course, the commercial metropoles.
However, it seems that this habit of taking naps, if not full-blown siestas, are also being encouraged in countries like Japan. Yes, Japan, the home to some of the most hardworking, workaholic, sleep-derived people.
But the rise of the mini-siesta is perhaps the most noticeable evidence of the Japanese interest in gaining a mental edge. In the past two years, nap salons, as they’re known, have popped up in Japan’s major cities. One such salon in central Tokyo, Napia, boasts some 1,500 members. Fatigued office workers can take a brief lunchtime nap on a daybed there for the equivalent of about $4.50.
I tried to search more info about Napia, and here’s what an article from the Times Online says:
Tapping this market is Napia, the self-proclaimed “Good Sleep Salon”, which was set up only recently but is now full to bursting every lunchtime. Its offering is simple: seven dormitories — three for women and four for men — and a handful of private VIP rooms for the very shy. The cost is 800 yen (£4) for the first 40 minutes, and 400 yen for every additional 20 minutes. Earplugs are free, and customers can have pure oxygen pumped in for an extra 500 yen for added refreshment. Tadaaki Kizu, Napia’s president, using charts and statistics provided by the Japanese Sleep Institute, explains to customers that 20 minutes of midday slumber provide the optimum boost to mental and physical energy: his staff are trained to wake customers gently just as the nap has taken its full effect.
They say they also provide a cup of coffee BEFORE the nap. Since the caffeine jolt comes 20 minutes after, it’s sort of an internal alarm clock.
If you’re in Tokyo and find yourself needing a nap, don’t be shy, head on to the next nap salon. Of course, there are small hotels which rent their rooms by the hour, but, erm, choose a reputable one, ok?