HOURS REQUIRED FOR SLEEP.
A traveller five hours doth crave,
To sleep, a student seven will have,
And nine sleeps every idle knave.
Nature requires six, custom seven, laziness nine and wickedness eleven.
One of the glories is the siesta-a short nap in the middle of the day popular in and around the Mediterranean but cherished equally in countries across the world. The word derives from the Latin sexta hora-literally the sixth hour which, in most temperate countries, is likely to be the hottest. Perhaps because of dismal weather the English have tended to eschew the practice of snoozing during the day, as Nöel Coward observed:
Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun,
The Japanese don’t care to, the Chinese wouldn’t dare to
Hindus and Argentines sleep firmly from twelve to one
But Englishmen detest a siesta.
Ben Schott, Schott’s sporting, gaming and idling miscellany.