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Unemployed security guard tapped as Spain's top snoozer

By the CNN Wire Staff
Snoozers take part in the first Siesta Championship on October 21  in a suburban shopping center in Madrid, Spain.
Snoozers take part in the first Siesta Championship on October 21 in a suburban shopping center in Madrid, Spain.
  • Spain's first national siesta championship wraps up in Madrid
  • Winner napped for 17 minutes and registered a 70-decibel snore
  • The siesta in Spain often lasts an hour or more
  • Traditionalists blame pace of modern life for decline of siesta
  • Spain
  • Madrid

Madrid, Spain (CNN) -- An unemployed security guard from Ecuador is Spain's top snoozer.

Pedro Soria Lopez, 62, was able to nap for 17 minutes and register a 70-decibel snore while sprawled out on a couch in the middle of a crowded shopping mall in what's been billed as the first-ever Spanish National Siesta Championship, CNN sister network CNN Plus reported.

The grand siesta champ won the first cash prize of 1,000 euros (about $1,400) in credit to purchase goods at the shopping center in Madrid.

The competitors started off by lying down on blue sofas, some in pajamas. Each got to eat a lunch ahead of time, then had twenty minutes to get as much z's as they could squeeze in.

Hundreds of contestants took part in the siesta championship which began October 14 and ended Saturday.

The intricate rules award points to contestants depending on how long they sleep during the 20-minute competition time, any unusual positions they sleep in, eye-catching pajamas they might be wearing, and yes, a lot of extra points for snoring.

The sponsors say it's meant to raise eyes to the problem of a country that's become so fast-paced that many say the traditional siesta is at risk.

"The modern life is a danger that we feel is against the siesta. When you sleep la siesta everyone has the image that your life is calm, you have a good life. And then, the modern life is a direct attack," said Daniel Blanco, president of the National Association of Friends of the Siesta earlier in the competition.

His group, which includes about 50 of his friends across Spain, persuaded a shopping center, Islazul, to host and pay prize money for the siesta competition.

In the competition, the siesta is limited to 20 minutes, a duration which the organizers and some doctors say is optimal; a quick nap after lunch to get refreshed, without entering a deep sleep cycle.

But the traditional siesta in Spain often lasts an hour or more.

The bustling shopping center where the siesta championship is being held is a prime example of the changing times in Spain. The stores don't close at lunchtime -- which is what used to happen with Spanish shops -- so instead of sleeping the siesta, people are working or shopping.

Siesta lovers complain that Spain's frenetic push to compete in the global economy means longer, more pressure-package workdays, even if some Spanish workers still get a two-hour lunch break.

CNN's Al Goodman contributed to this report.