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Feature: Average Spaniard sleeps 53 mins less than Europe average, affecting productivity

English.news.cn   2013-09-24 20:01:28            

MADRID, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- The average Spaniard sleeps an average of 53 minutes less than the European average, which raises absenteeism, stress, work-related accidents and also affects failure at school, the president of the National Commission for the Rationalization of Schedules said.

Speaking to Xinhua on Tuesday, Ignacio Buqueras y Bach said Spain's relative lack of sleep and its effect on productivity could be traced back to the end of the Spanish Civil war, which lasted from 1936 to 1939, and during the Second World War.

In 1942, in order to save energy, a poverty-stricken Spain changed its clocks from being at the same time as London to that of Berlin. But while other countries returned to GMT after the war, Spain never did.

"Spain has been 71 years without following the solar hour that corresponds to us, which is that of Greenwich," said Buqueras, adding the Spanish tend to finish their working day two to three hours later than their European neighbors.

While Spain's traditionally longer working hours stems from the hard times of the post-war period when many Spanish people needed to hold down more than one job to make ends meet, over time, instead of 30 or 45-minute lunch, the mid-day break now lasts two hours, with many shops closing from 2pm to 5pm.

Buqueras' organization is working to promote a shorter lunch break and advising people to eat breakfast at home before leaving for work. "We need more rational and more European working days," he said.

"What we want is for there to be coordination in timetables between companies, schools and universities and also in shops," he added.

The Commission points to the possible economic benefits of a shorter lunch and consequently a shorter working day. They argue that better-rested workers are more alert and more productive. Offices and factories closing their doors at 5pm or 6pm rather than at 7pm or 8pm, means a huge saving in energy costs, be it lighting, air conditioning or central heating.

The longer workers are away from home also means they spend less time with their families and children.

"We consider this to be very serious, and something that doesn't just have a psychological effect. It means children who are five, six or seven years old eat things they shouldn't from the fridge, see TV shows that are not adequate for their age and also see things on the internet that they shouldn't see," said Buqueras.

Editor: Luan
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