Spain Mulls the Unthinkable: Short Siestas, Reset Clocks

Nation considers aligning with its neighbors
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 18, 2014 10:00 AM CST

(Newser) – In Spain, grappling with economic crisis could require a major cultural shift. Activists are pushing to align the country's schedule with its neighbors, an effort that would require cutting daily siestas—including lunch and a nap—to just an hour. On top of that, the campaigners would turn the clocks back an hour to match those in Britain and Portugal, rather than France and Germany. "Spain has to break the bad habits it has accumulated over the past 40 or 50 years," an activist tells the New York Times. Last year, Gawker notes, an official report showed Spanish people were both more tired and less productive than their European peers.

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A parliamentary commission has backed the clock shift and an eight-hour workday, though no official changes have been made. As it stands, the Times calls Spain "land of 10pm dinners," and notes that a quarter of the country is watching TV between midnight and 1am, an hour that's still considered prime time. Traditionalists are against a shortened midday break: "It is one thing to eat. It is another thing to nourish oneself," says one man. But others say the current schedule creates an interminable workday, and a switch would actually mean more family time. "These working hours are not good for families," says a working mom. "Spanish society is still old-fashioned. The ones who rule are old-fashioned, and here, they like it like it is." (Read more Spain stories.)

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