Madrid’s national siesta championship

Here’s a competition I can really get behind: Spain’s first national siesta championship. It’s taking place in Madrid as we speak.

I’m a guy who likes his sleep. I shoot for eight hours a night, and I’ve been known to take an afternoon nap every now and then. So I love Spain’s siesta tradition and all that it represents.

The idea behind the national siesta championship in Madrid is to restore this age-old tradition. In today’s busy modern world, the Spanish siesta is becoming a lost art. Stores stay open throughout the day, people don’t take naps. The organizers of the siesta competition, and many other Spaniards, believe we should bring the siesta back, not only for the sake of tradition, but also for our own sanity and health in this hectic world. Siesta represents a chance for us to step back from the rat race and catch a few Z’s. I couldn’t agree with them more. (Others, however, disagree. They argue that in the fast-moving global economy of 2010, society simply has no place for snoozing in the middle of a workday. I guess I can see both sides.)

The national siesta competition started last Thursday and runs through October 23.  It takes place on a group of blue couches in the middle of a Madrid shopping mall (seems like a hard place to fall asleep). A judge attaches a pulse meter to each competitor's chest (to see if they’re really sleeping) and then monitors them from a high chair, like a tennis judge.

Snoozers get points for a variety of categories, including how much of the 20-minute period they actually sleep for, any unusual positions they sleep in, and creative pajamas. They also get many bonus points for snoring.

The grand siesta champion will be crowned at the end of the competition on October 23, in part by internet voting. I’ll be keeping a close eye on it.

Photo: druidabruxux via Flickr (CC license)

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