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Time for a siesta? German doctors call for midday work breaks as temperatures rise

German doctors have said midday naps could make workers more productive in the heat.
German doctors have said midday naps could make workers more productive in the heat. Copyright Pixabay
Copyright Pixabay
By Euronews Green with APTN
Published on Updated
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Germans should emulate southern Europeans' siesta as temperatures rise, a public health group has said.

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Doctors have called for siestas, or midday naps, to help Germans remain productive as temperatures rise. 

The head of the Federal Association of Physicians of German Public Health Departments (BVOeGD), which represents public health officials, has said people should emulate the southern European tradition.

Siesta is a Spanish term that refers to taking a break during the hottest part of the day for a nap or other kind of rest. It is common throughout parts of the world that experience higher temperatures. 

“We should orient ourselves when it is hot toward the working methods of southern countries," Johannes Niessen told the RND newspaper group in comments published Tuesday. 

He recommended getting up early and working productively in the morning then having a siesta at midday during the summer months. 

“People are not as efficient in strong heat as they are otherwise. In addition, bad sleep in the absence of cooling in the night leads to concentration problems.”

Is it hot enough in Germany for a siesta?

While Germany has avoided the kind of temperatures roasting southern Europe this week, it has sizzled at times this summer in temperatures in the mid-30Cs. 

The highest temperature so far this year - 38.8C - was recorded in Bavaria on Saturday. Since then, the heat has receded.

Still, this summer's high temperatures have been enough to prompt the head of the BVOeGD to propose that the country rethink its working habits during heatwaves.

AP Photo/Michael Probst, File
A man rides his bike on a small road in the outskirts of Frankfurt, Germany, as the sun rises.AP Photo/Michael Probst, File

Niessen also called for "sufficient fans and lighter clothing, even if the attire rules for an office don't allow it". He said that workers needed to make sure they were drinking enough water and eating smaller meals throughout the day as temperatures increase. 

Another solution, he said, could be a cool foot bath for people working from home.

Will Germany adopt the siesta?

Germany has no tradition of the kind of extended afternoon breaks that are common, for example, in Spain.

The country's health minister reacted positively to the suggestion on Tuesday but said companies and employees would have to decide whether to take it up.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach tweeted that “siesta in the heat is certainly not a bad suggestion” but signalled that the government doesn't intend to get involved in the issue.

“Employers and employees should negotiate on that themselves," he wrote. "Certainly makes sense medically for many professions.”

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