Mexico City Decided to Take a Big Nap Together — Here’s Why

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Mexico City

On March 15, hundreds of Mexicans fell asleep, but not in their beds — at the base of Mexico City’s iconic Monument to the Revolution, the Associated Press reports. (1) It was called the “massive siesta,” and was a tribute to World Sleep Day. Many donned facemasks and wore neck pillows, laying on top of bright blue mats right on the concrete. It sure didn’t look comfortable, yet many seemed all the way asleep.

In the AP’s video, some cuddle under blankets, while some rest on their sides, seemingly completely out. An announcer counts in Spanish in the background, and gives other announcements. People walk around beyond the nappers on a typical cloudy day downtown. 

The Center for Sleep and Neurosciences and the Mexican Society for the Investigation of Medicine and Sleep (SOMIMS) was the organizing body behind the event, which was meant to promote health, wellness, and of course, getting enough high-quality rest. Along with the rest of the U.S. population, one in three Latinos do not get enough sleep, defined as less than seven hours, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2) Other reports on the event point to higher numbers, such as half of people in Mexico reporting difficulty sleeping, based on a study by the National Autonomous University of Mexico. (1) While napping on concrete in the middle of the day might not add much to their total sleep, participants came to raise awareness, and participate in a fun and meaningful activity.

AP also reports that Mexico is one of the most overworked cities, and some residents are choosing between sleeping and eating, and their jobs. It’s also why Congress has pushed to lower the workweek there from 48 hours per week to 40, though the issue was put on the back burner, with concerns about economic slowdowns. (3)

Balancing a necessity such as sleep with other obligations is part of the reason the World Sleep Society created World Sleep Day, in which “delegates and sleep health advocates organized awareness activities in their local communities, clinics, and countries to raise awareness of sleep health across the world.” They recommended anyone interested participate in one of the following ways (and though the day is over, you can still submit your participation in an activity at the link below):

  • Share #WorldSleepDay online
  • Organize or participate in an awareness activity in your community (and let us know about it!)
  • Interview a credible sleep expert for your World Sleep Day content
  • Write, create, or otherwise connect with your public audience about sleep health

The theme this year was “sleep equity” for good reason — the World Sleep Society says “measurable differences in sleep health persist across populations across the world, creating additional burdens and reinforcing health inequities.” 

In addition to promoting equity for sleep health, and therefore general health, the World Sleep Society also has a plethora of resources for those looking to improve their sleep. For example, they educate on three simple and specific elements of quality sleep: duration, continuity, and depth. They also hope to raise awareness about best sleep practices to help you get more shut eye: 

  • Establish a regular bedtime and wake time, and don’t exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep
  • Avoid too much alcohol or caffeine before bed, and don’t smoke
  • Choose a bedtime snack that won’t disrupt sleep and avoid exercise right before bed
  • Use comfortable bedding and sleep temperatures, block out noise and light, and reserve your bed for sleep and sex only

Hopefully, with their help, we can all improve our total sleep time and quality, taking inspiration from Mexico City’s dedication to napping.

  • 1. Janetsky, Megan; “Hundreds of people in Mexico City stretch out for a ‘mass nap’ to commemorate World Sleep Day,” The Associated Press;; March 16, 2024.

  • 2. Medrano, Lourdes; “Many Latinos in the US don’t get enough sleep, and researchers are trying to learn why,”;; March 24, 2023.

  • 3. Savinar, William; “Mexico Congress set to debate 40-hour workweek,” Courthouse News;; January 18, 2024.

Alexandra Frost

Alexandra Frost

Alexandra Frost is a Cincinnati-based freelance journalist, content marketing writer, copywriter, and editor focusing on health and wellness, parenting, real estate, business, education, and lifestyle. Away from the keyboard, Alex is also mom to her four sons under age 7, who keep things chaotic, fun, and interesting. For over a decade she has been helping publications and companies connect with readers and bring high-quality information and research to them in a relatable voice.  She has been published in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Glamour, Shape, Today's Parent, Reader's Digest, Parents, Women's Health, and Insider.

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