July 6, 2010 / 11:24 PM / 9 years ago

Stressed out Argentines get modern take on siesta

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters Life!) - The once-cherished afternoon siesta is a thing of the past for most residents of Argentina’s bustling capital Buenos Aires. But things might be about to change.

Businesswoman Viviana Vega says she created Latin America’s first dedicated “Siestario” (Siesta Zone) to help stressed workers in the financial district catch up on a little down time.

Soft lighting, ambient music and calming fragrances help lull customers into a rejuvenating rest.

“The power nap is a brief siesta, has different aims and a different timeframe to the conventional siesta,” said Vega, who is also a psychologist. “It helps avert burnout and makes you more productive, as well as reducing stress and improving cardiovascular functions.”

All snoozers get a one-to-one chat with Vega before they enter the Siesta Zone, allowing them to choose the color of the lighting and the scents they want. The siestas last about 40 minutes and they are already winning converts.

“I work in sales and there’s constant pressure to sell. At some point, you need to take a timeout,” said one customer, Albana, who works in a call center.

Additional reporting by Miguel Lobianco; Writing by Helen Popper; Editing by John O'Callaghan

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