9 April 2016

No More Siesta? Spanish Prime Minister Wants to Nix the Nap

Time to wake up! Spain’s prime minister wants to end the siesta. 
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy wants to end a long-standing and well-recognized tradition: the mid-afternoon break.
Under new legislation, Spain would switch back to Greenwich Mean Time and do away with siestas, the sleep-filled breaks some Spaniards take.
“I will find a consensus to make sure the working day ends at 6 p.m.,” Rajoy said, according to the London Times.
Traditionally, the Spanish work day begins at 10 a.m. and is split in half by a two- to three-hour break known as the siesta. Spaniards traditionally leave at 2 p.m. and return to work around 4 or 5, according to The Times. The work day typically ends at 8 p.m. (As some readers note, not all Spaniards partake in the siesta; many follow schedules closer to a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work day.)
This isn’t the first time Spain has considered ending the practice.

In 2012, the government loosened restrictions to allow stores to stay open as much as 25 percent longer each week, a move that threatened the tradition. A year later, a parliamentary commission called for both of Rajoy's proposals: The introduction of a 9-to-5 workday (he suggests it should end at 6 p.m.) and the time-zone switch.

Despite sitting in the middle of the Western European time zone, Spain observes Central European time, a change made decades ago in solidarity with Adolf Hitler’s Germany.
“Because of a great historical error, in Spain we eat at 2 p.m., and we don't have dinner until 9 p.m., but according to the position of the sun, we eat at the same time as the rest of Europe: 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.,” Nuria Chinchilla, director of the International Center on Work and Family at the IESE Business School, told the Guardian in 2013. “We are living with 71 years of jet-lag, and it’s unsustainable.”

Benefits of Napping
The word siesta derives from the Latin word sexta, or sixth hour, according to the Atlas of Sleep Medicine. Some believe the practice evolved out of a desire to avoid the crushing midday heat, but according to the authors of that book people in colder climates were also known to have followed a similar tradition.
Researchers have reported that siestas may provide certain health benefits. Just last month, the peer-reviewed Journal of Human Hypertension published a study that found a significant relationship between siesta and decreased prevalence of hypertension. In 2007, a group of researchers found that, among more than 23,000 Greek adults studied, those who regularly took siestas were significantly less likely to die of heart disease.
He made the push at a party conference over the weekend, where he tried to court other parties, unions and business leaders to support the idea.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/04/05/time-to-wake-up-spains-prime-minister-wants-to-end-the-siesta/

Cultural stereotypes abound in reporting of Rajoy’s plan for working day to end at 6pm
The Popular Party (PP) politician had suggested measures that would ensure the working day in Spain finished at 6pm and that the time zone should be shifted to match that of the Canary Islands, Portugal and the United Kingdom – geographically, this is the zone that corresponds to Spain. 

These measures have been up for debate for some time now and seek to improve productivity and improve work-family life balance for Spaniards, many of whom still enjoy a two-hour lunch break but in exchange have to work until around 7pm.

The story in The Independent mixed up the concept of a siesta with a two- or three-hour lunch break, which is still common in many companies in Spain. “Workers in Spain currently tend to start work at 10am and stay until 2pm, when they take a siesta of up to three hours before leaving the office at 8pm,” read the first version of the article, which was later corrected, and that also referred to acting Prime Minister Rajoy as the leader of a center-right coalition government.

The siesta has its origins in the rural roots of Spanish society, when agricultural workers could rest during the hottest hours of the day. But as offended internet users pointed out in response to the stories, few workers enjoy a mid-day sleep in current times.

What is true is that, according to a 2011 study by the British Office for National Statistics, Spaniards work two hours more every week than workers in the UK, and an hour more than the European average. Perhaps, as The Guardian points out, the five million unemployed in Spain have the chance to enjoy a nap. “And until the government can find them a job, it won’t much matter when the working day begins or ends,” the article concludes.
http://elpais.com/elpais/2016/04/06/inenglish/1459928179_146076.html
DO YOU AGREE WITH THESE MEASURES? LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS.

34 comments:

  1. I don't agree with Rajoy's measures (it's appreciable Rajoy doesn't do any siesta) because napping is necessary for a good performance at work. Every day I do a two hour siesta and it's the best moment of the day. I can't imagine a world without siesta time.

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  2. In my opinion, the siesta is a Spanish tradition which should never be changed. First of all, taking a nap after a long morning of hard work gives you more energy to continue working in the afternoon. In addition, many researchers say that it is beneficial to our health. I don't think that because our schedule is different from the rest of European countries we should change it, our timetables have always been like this and that's why I don't think these measures will work or satisfy Spanish citizens.

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  3. Although the sensible thing would be to have the same time zone as the UK and Portugal, it’s true that the Culture in Spain is based on the hours of sun and the time zone. For example, the siesta is just after lunchtime. Moreover, I think people won’t agree to remove it because it’s part of their daily schedule and it’s proved to be healthy. However, after a very stressful morning, the best thing you could do is take a nap and re-start your brain and your entire body to keep yourself lively and strong for the rest of the day.

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  4. I think that this topic is ridiculous and interesting at the same time. It is ridiculous because Spanish people have to do what they want . If they are tired and they want to relax, no one can stop them from taking a nap and much less if it is their free time. If they complain that we don’t have enough working hours, they just have to put the closing time later On the other hand, I think that it is good to discuss this because for some reasons, our country should share time with Portugal, the Canary Islands and the UK, because as the text says , we are in the same time zone geographically, so that's why we have lunch later and why we are more "tired".

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  5. I don’t agree Rajoy’s measures. In my opinion, all employers need a break, and having a nap is a good way to enjoy a break time. Moreover, I think it’s better to finished the working day at 2 and then begin at 5 p.m, because if you work many hours, you will get tired without the opportunity of a break time and your performance will be worse too. So, we must go on with siestas. They are healthy and necessary.

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  6. Every culture has its own customs, and siesta time is typical in Spain. After a lot of years no one is going to change a typical situation of a country. Siesta is good occasionally, evidently it isn’t good every day because you waste a lot of time and you could not rest well at night, this can be beneficial to recover your energy if you don’t rest very well the nights before.

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  7. I support the idea of finishing work at 6 pm because this way workers would have more time in the afternoon to spend with their family. It's true that siesta is traditional in Spain, but in fact there are many workers who can't rest in the afternoon and it's absolutely false that the nap lasts three hours, as the article says (some studies state that the rest should only last half an hour). Finally, the hypothetical measure of ending the working day at 6 pm doesn't affect students as it's impossible for us to finish studying at that hour if we start at 5pm and, also, because we need a break in the afternoon if we want to concentrate well.

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  8. As a student, I'm not going to deny that I like to use this break to sleep, but I think that not all the Spanish people take a nap during these hours. Personally I wish I had more time to sleep every day, or at least to rest a little time, so if this new law comes into force, it will probably be better to have a rest at 6 p.m, but actually I prefer to take a nap during the day than finish work at 6 p.m. In addition, here in Menorca, we usually go out at 9 p.m more or less in summer, and if all the shops close earlier, it won't be the same. So, I'd prefer to leave things as they are now, but if they are thinking of cutting hours of the school timetable, I will support it.

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  10. I believe that it would be a good idea to switch time-zones and have the one that is geographically correct. Regarding the siesta issue, I think that it is not the majority of people who enjoy a daily nap but I do believe that having a 2-3 hour lunch break is a bit excessive. If workers had a one-hour lunch break they would still have time to eat and even take a 20-minute nap (if they live near their workplace) and then they would get off work earlier, having more free time to enjoy with their families or practise their hobbies.

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  11. I don’t agree with Mariano Rajoy, I know that in Spain we could do things better, but the siesta is one of the best traditions in Spain, everybody loves siesta, the siesta gives you energy for the afternoon, after the siesta you feel better, for example I can't keep studying after having spent all the morning in the school because I'm always tired. For this reason my solution is the siesta, after lunch I normally sleep one or two hours depending on the things that I have to do in the afternoon, and these two hours give me the energy I need to make my afternoon profitable. The siesta is not just a tradition in Spain, it is something that some people like me, need.

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  12. I think that PP are searching some excuses to justify unemployment. Instead of creating more employment, they look for someone to put the blame on. I also think that siestas allow people to work longerand it's better for the economy. Finally I want to say that I don't like to take a siesta but I think some people need it and we have to respect that; instead of watching TV after lunch, you go to sleep/ take a nap.

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  13. As the article said, siesta helps us to reduce health problems such as Hypertension, and also get away from the daily workload. Besides, a schedule has been established by people who leave in Spain in order to know what to at any time. Therefore, if the Spanish Prime Minister wants to nix the nap (by changing the hour), people in Spain would be forced to modify all their daily plans .

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  14. I don’t agree with Rajoy’s measures. Firstly, because in my opinion the siesta is a Spanish tradition which we must keep. Moreover, some people take a nap to have more energy during the day and get more out of their work, given that if we work a lot of hours, our brain doesn’t react as well as it can should. And if someone doesn’t want to take a nap, at least they have extra time to spend with their family.

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  15. I agree with Rajoy's measure. I think that the argument "it is a Spanish tradition" is not valid, due to the fact that there are some traditions in Spain that are not fair – such as bullfights. Although some studies indicate that napping is healthy, I think that it does not favor students at all, because some students usually do extracurricular activities and, for that reason, they do not have time to take a break. Besides, many Spanish people will not agree with Rajoy's measure.

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  16. If workers ended earlier, it would not only make them feel like the day was shorter, but also would allow them to have more free time. During the week there are lots of activities which start before 8 p.m. that many people can't enjoy due to their schedules like exhibitions, lectures, concerts... It's true that most people wouldn't be able to take a nap, but I think that the advantages of this lead are better.

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  17. Acctually I think taking a siesta is a good tradition which could represent Spain, not bullfights, anyway, this nap is healthy, you can lunch peacefully with your family or your friends, sleep and take a break to recharge batteries for the rest of the day.

    In addition, students doesn't have a lot of time to sleep because of the exams and stuff, so siestas are a good solution to this big problem which could cause lots of healt problems like anxiety or depression.
    In conclusion, the siesta is very important for Spanish people because it’s a good break time to be in peace.

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  19. From my point of view it’s an absolute shame to complain about siestas, I mean, there are a lot of problems in this government but they focus on a little issue. Furthermore, I don’t get the point of doing away with the mid-afternoon break, I think this break is something usual and it would be hard to get used to the new schedule.

    In conclusion, I think it’s not worth wasting time arguing this issue; they should discuss other things that are more important.

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  21. The siesta may or may not be considered as an important part of our lives. It depends on the job you have. Only those who finish working (or have a break) at 2 p.m. can enjoy this kind of privilege. It does not affect us all.

    Besides, we are already considered as a lazy nation, where the only thing we do is sleep or party all day long, and now, we are actually defending this as “our tradition”, as if it was a national treasure. I don’t think we should make such a fuss over this kind of thing.

    Honestly, I think this topic is ridiculous. Are we really implying that our whole schedule rotates around this “national nap”? Can we seriously accept the fact that the whole country stops just because some of us want to sleep for a while? I completely understand that you don’t like this kind of measure, but you can’t use a nap as your main argument.

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  22. I personally don't know if siesta helps you to have more energy during the day because I hardly ever sleep after having lunch. However, it's true that a lot of people take siestas and they sometimes say that they couldn't live without it, so maybe it's true that they have healthy benefits. Regarding Rajoy's decision, I would prefer to work from 9 a.m to 5 or 6 p.m without a two-hour break so that I can arrive earlier at home and disconnect doing whatever I want.

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  23. In my opinion we should continue with the current timetable. The 3 hours between 2pm and 5pm are for having a nap, I mean, as the article says, Spanish people take a siesta, it is true, but also they can eat calmly and together which is also a good way to connect with your family. After that, I think people will work with a better mood. On the contrary, as we are used to getting relaxed after working all the morning, a lot of people would work unwillingly

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  24. I don't agree with Rajoy, because I think everybody needs a little break, which in our country is the siesta. Also, I think taking a break helps everyone because the worker is more relaxed later. If Rajoy wants to extend the working hours, he should do it in the morning or evening, not at break time of many Spaniards.

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  25. The biggest problem in the productivity of Spanish employees isn't the "typical" siesta. Typical in inverted commas because it would be interesting to know how many people usually take a nap. No one can forbid us to sleep whenever we want and it seems necessary to sleep during the day just because the quantity of hours of work is exhausting. The government should consider other issues to improve our productivity because the other big European countries don’tmake the employers work 8 hours per day.

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  26. In my view, I think we should belong to Central European time. because we are in the same time zone. But what Rajoy wants do to is an awful idea, because with the long working hours that we have nowadays it's good to have a rest, especially those people whose job requires a lot of effort like the building sector.During this break they can take a nap and recover from a hard day’s work. Also with the nap they distract from their own problems.

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  27. I disagree with Rajoy’s measures because if they change the schedule, they will be modifying our lifestyles. In my opinion workers would perform better if they could have a break after a hard day’s work. It’s necessary to go out of the place where you work and spend some hours with your family or take a siesta. They should think twice because it could turn against their interests.

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  28. I completely disagree with the Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. In my opinion, people will be more efficient if they rest a bit after lunch because they take time to relax and to digest food. I also think it's a stupid measure because anybody nobody can control if I am sleeping or not, so how can the government control it?

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  29. Personally, I believe that Rajoy's decision may affect many hard workers. Some people start work at eight in the morning and work until two or three in the afternoon. After six or seven hours of hard work, I reckon that many people are tired and need to have their lunch and relax a bit.
    In addition, they finish work at eight or nine at night, which means they arrive home quite late. By the time they have made dinner, eaten, had a shower and done many other things they need to do, it can be really late, and the next morning they need to be up and ready quite ealry. This means that they get an avarage of seven hours of sleep a day, which isn't very much. I believe that this is one of the reasons the Spanish need to have a nap and relax a bit at lunch time, so they can make it through the rest of the day.

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  30. These measures they are proposing make no sense. The fact is that taking a nap after having lunch is a Spanish recognised tradition, and everybody is free to follow it or not, so it shouldn't be allowed to erase a tradition that is not dangerous or harmful. What’s more, many researchers have agreed in the fact that the nap is beneficial for our health. I really think that it’s necessary to take a rest after a hard working morning to take energy for the rest of the day.

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  31. I don't agree with this measure because I'm the first to have a nap, and I can't imagine life without naps. It's very important for me because I go to bed late and I wake up early to go to highschool. For these reasons a nap is a moment of rest and relaxation that gives us energy to feel well and perform better.

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  32. I don't agree with this measure because I'm the first to have a nap, and I can't imagine life without naps. It's very important for me because I go to bed late and I wake up early to go to highschool. For these reasons a nap is a moment of rest and relaxation that gives us energy to feel well and perform better.

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  33. From my point of view, as it is said in the article, "siesta" is a beneficial and healthy break that workers take to rest after a stressful busy morning and before finishing their working day. For this reason, I think that this law is a bit extreme because it's better to rest our mind and body before continuing our work. This way we would work better. Nevertheless, this would be a way to finish our working day before so that we could enjoy the last hours of the day without working.

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  34. Siesta has been a long tradition in Spain because of the long working hours. I believe that if the government changes the local hour, siesta won’t be necessary as employees will work less. But even if they change the hour but not the working hours of employees it would be necessary to keep with siestas so as to work efficiently since it is known that sleeping helps to decrease stress.

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