A 62-year-old unemployed security worker Pedro Soria Lopez edged out the runner up in the contest by sleeping 17 minutes and snoring that was measured at 70 decibels (the noise of someone talking loudly). No small task, as he was “siesta-ing” in the middle of a busy Madrid shopping center.
“Oh I am so happy to be the first champion,” said a laughing Quito-born Soria Lopez, who sported a handsome paunch and a drop-bar black mustache. He said he was a regular siesta taker, and it looked as if was telling the truth.
“My wife made me do this, but then they couldn’t wake me up. Naturally, the lunch I had before with the 7 Euros ($10) they had given me helped,” he said before collecting the €1,000 ($1,400) winning check.
The National Association of Friends of the Siesta organized the contest. The group wants to bring attention to the age-old custom in Spain that many feel is being threatened by today’s busy lifestyles.
“People are so stressed out they can’t take siestas any more,” said spokesman Andres Lemes. “Studies show it’s a healthy practice that recharges your batteries.”
The 360 contestants were given 20 minutes to lie down on the couches and take a nap. They were timed by a doctor with a pulse-measuring device to determine how long they slept. Less than 30% of the contestants managed to fully snooze, this may have been due to the loud music coming from the surrounding stores or the laughing spectators and screaming children.