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.
Sleeping in Saigon

Workers at the metro construction site in front of Municipal Theater. “The atmosphere down here is quite stuffy, but we’ve got used to it. We just need a half-an-hour nap anyway.” Mai, a female Metro construction worker told VnExpress International.

Sleeping in Saigon

What do they dream about? Workers at another construction site on Ton Duc Thang street.

Sleeping in Saigon

A xe om, or motorbike taxi driver, shows his perfect balance skill.

Sleeping in Saigon

Pulling over for a nap. The temperature at the time reached 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 F).

Sleeping in Saigon

A street side motorbike fixer takes a break next to his own bike and tool kits. He shared that this nap usually gets interrupted by people who ask for tire pumping.

Sleeping in Saigon

Delivery men nap on their van under a bridge.

Sleeping in Saigon

Want an energy booster?

Sleeping in Saigon

Naptime is proven to be good for your health.

Sleeping in Saigon

Sleep like no one watching.

Sleeping in Saigon

Shady areas in the city’s parks…

Sleeping in Saigon

Or under the bridge - the perfect spot to lay down and escape the heat.

Sleeping in Saigon

A woman sleeps next to the traffic, with her face mask on.

Sleeping in Saigon

When your motorbike becomes a mobile bed.

Sleeping in Saigon

The ground is also always there for you to rest on.

Sleeping in Saigon

Another sleeps sitting up on the street. Above her hangs a sign saying “Military area – No gathering outside”.

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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