If you are foreigner living, studying or working in China then you might have seen, time and time again an interesting habit of the Chinese…napping at noon time.
While in most western cultures napping is widely reserved for the elderly or small children, and so it comes at a surprise that in China, napping is almost done religiously, from what I have observed, it is part of the Chinese culture. Walk into any Chinese company around lunch time and you are met with employees reclining on their chairs getting a moment of shut eye. Students will reserve part of their lunch time to nap before afternoon classes; this practice is a common custom in much of China, with people getting used to this habit from childhood.
Let me tell you a brief backstory to this phenomenon; the literal part of it states that these nap times are exactly when the sun’s rays are at their hottest, therefore with consideration to people’ health, it is fitting that during this time of day workers need to take a break. More importantly the reasoning behind taking a nap with regard to Chinese culture points to restoring the body’s balance – ying and yang. Around midday, your body naturally experiences a period of quietness and rest. According to Traditional Chinese Medication, to keep the harmony within your body, it is thus advisable to take a nap.
For employers, they believe that when their employees do take the time to rest during the day, it is especially good for productivity, plus well-rested workers are happy workers. At school it is believed that when learners take a nap this improves their learning ability and increases alertness. There is a saying in Chinese that reads “zhongwu bu shui, xiawu bengkui” meaning that not napping at noon will lead to you collapsing in the afternoon. I think it makes perfect sense.