Spain Does The Unthinkable And Considers Abolishing The Daily Siesta

workplace nap sleeping

Naps are a big deal. And no country knows that more than Spain, where it’s standard practice to break up the workday with a two to three-hour mid-day siesta. But now, thanks a new proposal from Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rojoy, naptime might become a thing of the past.

Which, news flash: is sort of a huge deal. Life in Spain is centered around the siesta. It’s been around since the days of agriculture, as a means of offering workers relief from the hottest part of the day. And it hasn’t gone away, even in this modern air-conditioned day. These days, most Spaniards attend work from around 9 a.m. until 8 p.m., using the mid-day break to catch up on shopping or go out to lunch with friends. Even children get an hour and a half lunch break in the middle of their school days.

But maybe not for much longer. Rojoy proposed the change, which calls for a 6 p.m. end to the work day. He sees it as a way to boost productivity and improve family life strained by long working hours—something supported by a 2013 report on the issue, which found that cutting the siesta would raise the quality of life, increase the country’s low birth rate, and reduce the breakdown of marriages.

“I will find a consensus to make sure the working day ends at 6pm,” Rojoy said of the change.

It’s just one means Rojoy has of bringing Spain in line with the rest of the EU. He also hopes to get Spain, currently one hour ahead of London, back on GMT. The reason for the odd time difference—it’s in the same time zone as eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic right now—harkens back to WWII, when then-dictator Franco showed his support for Hitler’s regime by aligning Spain’s time zone with Germany.

(Via Daily Mail)