Eat and finish work earlier - good idea?

Spain Mulls Turning Back The Time Zone Clock

Changing the clocks to put Madrid in line with London would help improve eating and sleeping habits, politicians are told.

Spain is considering changing its time zone to reverse a World War Two decision that put the country in sync with Nazi Germany.

Until the 1940s, Spain was in the same zone as Britain and Portugal, which are on roughly the same latitude.

But when Nazi-occupied France switched to German time, Spain's Franco dictatorship followed suit.

Now there are calls for the decision to be reversed - on the grounds that it would help boost Spaniards' quality of life.

Switching to British time might bring Spain some family-friendly British customs, parliament's Equality Commission suggested.

Its study said: "The fact that for more than 71 years Spain has not been in its proper time zone means ... we sleep almost an hour less than the World Health Organisation recommends.

"All this has a negative effect on productivity, absenteeism, stress, accidents and school drop-out rates."

The time change was "a foundation stone" of a series of recommendations aimed at making work and school hours more flexible and work and family life more compatible, said commission president Carmen Quintanilla.

She said: "We drag out the morning and extend our lunchtime. We lose time and have to work more hours in the afternoon. Eating later, we have to start work later, which means we get off work later."

Moving clocks back by one hour could have a profound effect on the eating, sleeping and working habits of Spaniards, whose culture is famed for long lunches, siestas and late shifts at work.

For example, if it gets dark earlier companies would likely readjust work schedules that see Spaniards working well into the evening, the commission said.

That might move Spain closer to the 9-to-5 working tradition more commonly seen in Britain - and hence encourage earlier meals and more family time.

Although working hours in Spain vary greatly, the typical working day is divided in two, with lunches sometimes lasting up to two hours. Many workers take this opportunity to dine at home - something health experts believe is beneficial - and this in turn allows them to enjoy the famous Spanish tradition of the siesta.

But as a result, many workers do not get off until after 7pm and shops stay open up to 10pm, when bars begin to fill for what are often lengthy nights of socialising.

"Our time schedules have serious effects on the daily life of Spaniards," said Nuria Chinchilla, a business school executive who helped write the study.

"We live in permanent jet lag."

What do you think of the idea?


Montse said…
Hi, Graham.
I've read this post
Graham said…
And do you think it's a good idea?
Montse said…
Hi, Graham.

Well I am not sure… On the one hand I think we should have the timetable according to our latitude but on the other hand, would it mean that it will be dark at 4:30pm in winter, like in London? OMG!! What a sad winter!!

I hope I see you soon
Graham said…
Hi Montse,

I will be doing MOJ Int2 on Tues/Thurs.

I'm looking forward to seeing you all but I'm dreading the 8am starts.

Will you be continuing with Int2? I wouldn't be surprised if they pushed you up to the next level.

Portugal has London time but then again, the Portuguese are quite sad people. So you might have a point.

See you soon.

María Méndez said…
Hello Graham,
I do not agree with idea at all! I usually get up very early, something around 6am, and without any kind of alarm clock. I don’t want imagine myself with the clock moved back by one hour! Hahahaha.
To be honest, I do not consider that just because Spain moves clocks, the country is going to change its lifestyle. In fact, we do it in winter and summer in order to save energy, and we are far from changing any habit at all.
Graham said…
Hi María,

Sorry for taking so long to reply. I always get round to replying to everyone though.

I think you are probably right. Changing to the same time zone as London wouldn't mean a change in lifestyle.

I'd love a change in mealtimes - ideally lunch around 1 or 2 and dinner at 7 or 8. But I can't see it happening.

I do not agree with the idea at all!

I don’t want to imagine myself with the clock moved back by one hour! Hahahaha.

María Méndez said…
No Graham,

Thanks to you for your reply and corrections.

I usually have lunch at 1.30pm and dinner at 7pm,8pm...and I think it´s healthier!!

I send you a song I've just discovered yesterday in the movie "Searching for Sugar man". It's on You Tube. I highly recommend it to everybody (and it's easy to watch because you don't need to downloaded it).

Graham said…
Hi María,

How did your first Proficiency class go?

It's a level most people will never reach. If you get it, you'll speak better than the average native speaker. LOL

I've just listened to the song you suggested - it's easier to catch the lyrics than most songs in English.

I might even watch the movie later.

Good luck!

Pablo Cort said…
Hi graham

I already read this text and i think that is very interestig because it shows perfectlly how the spanihs peopel are and how are their maners or habits. Actually the spanish people use to be more active than the british so it might be no helthy but is very nice.
María Méndez said…
Hi Graham!!
The Prof classes are all right. I’m happy but I don’t know if I’ll be able to take the exam this year. I will depend on how much time I spend studying!hahahaha
Yet, I miss your classes, specially the beginning, which always made me study the previous ones. And the group was really nice!
Kindest regards.
Graham said…
Ooops Pablo!

Your first comment and I have forgotten to answer you. I'm so sorry.

I have read this text and I think that it is very interesting because it shows just what Spanish people are like and how their manners and habits are.

Now the Spanish tend to be more active than the British. It might not be healthy but it is very nice.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by the last part. Maybe you can explain to me in class.

See you then.
Graham said…
Hi María,

I am sure if you put your mind to it , you will have a reasonable chance of getting the Proficiency. It's tough and requires a lot of work but you already know that.

Good luck!