As one of the longest heatwaves of recent years sweeps across Spain, one town has responded with a drastic measure: ordering locals to stay inside and take a siesta during the hottest hours of the day.
The 1,400 inhabitants of Ador, near the eastern Mediterranean coast, are required to stay inside between 2pm and 5pm each day in silence, so they can enjoy a healthy sleep. Televisions and music must be turned down or off and children are included in the afternoon curfew.
“International organisations have highlighted the importance of a siesta – half an hour or so is recommended,” Ador mayor Joan Faus told The Telegraph, explaining that local people asked him to introduce the measure.
Ador’s lifestyle, he believes, is particularly suited to the siesta.
“This is an agricultural area where people tend to rise early to work in the fields,” he said. “By 12pm it’s impossible to be outside because of the heat. So you stay inside in the cool of your home with the air conditioning on.”
Over the last month, temperatures in many parts of Spain have been reaching around 40C (104F).
At 1.30pm each day, a policeman announces the siesta “edict” over loudspeakers which are placed around the town.
The people of Ador obey, although the mayor insists it is only a “recommendation”.
“It works for me, because you have lunch and then you go straight to sleep,” local man Salvador Ferrer told newspaper Levante-EMV. “This means you can have your siesta more calmly.”
Siestas can reduce stress and boost the body’s immune system, according to a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Space agency NASA found that the ideal nap length is 26 minutes
Thanks to Guy Hedgecoe in Madrid