Sleeping in Saigon

By Quynh Tran, Nhung Nguyen   May 8, 2017 | 03:00 pm GMT+7
A lunchtime nap is essential for surviving city life.

The vibrant city of Saigon comes to a short rest at midday, when people return from lunch looking for a place for a quick nap. The heat reaches its peak at that time of the day, leaving everybody too exhausted to do anything.

Construction sites empty, sidewalks are cleared of stools and tables, and stores close their doors as everyone indulges in a break. It doesn’t have to be a bed or even on a chair, any flat, clean surface can serve as a convenient open-air bed.

Ngủ trưa, or "a sleep at noon," has been an essential part of Vietnamese life through the ages. People believe it helps to recharge the batteries for the second half of the working day.

Scientists across the world have suggested that naps can reduce stress, bolster the immune system and boost people’s alertness, logical reasoning and reaction times.

This habit has recently been praised as a part of a work-life balance by the media in Japan, where people endure a grueling working culture.

“School children in Vietnam take a nap after lunch every day,” wrote the Nikkei Asian Review. “Most office staff do the same, usually taking an hour-and-half for lunch so they can squeeze in forty winks before getting back to work.”

“Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from a Southeast Asian neighbor,” said the English-language business journal.

While some view midday napping as laziness, the photos above might prove the opposite: it’s just hard-working people taking a well-earned rest.

Photos by Quynh Tran

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