The DGB confederation of trade unions argues that a short, lunchtime power nap makes sense for health and performance reasons. "Even though the siesta is something that isn't a given anymore in the southern European countries, it is still a good idea for health reasons," said Annelie Buntenbach, a DGB executive board member. "A short afternoon nap reduces the risk of, for example, a heart attack, and provides an energy boost," she told Tageszeitung in an interview.
Studies bear this out. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical School in Greece found that Greek workers who took regular siestas had 37% lower mortality rates from coronary illnesses than their napless counterparts.
The idea has caught on in Germany, where big German companies such as BASF, Opel, Hornsbach and Lufthansa provide special rooms for their workers, and employers say they benefit from the increased productivity of well-rested employees.