We spent some enjoyable time this month working with a client in Spain. Although we were working mostly with around-the-clock staff, when it came to normal working hours and daily factors that can affect sleep, we noticed vast cultural differences to what we are used to (and what others in many parts of the world are used to).
Pressing deadlines, travel and clients' operational demands can sometimes see us working beyond the standard 9-5. However, in Spain, working late seems to be the norm. This culture of long working days, with up to 2 hours for a lunch break, is something that we were told stems from the Franco era. Spain’s local time was shifted to the right by an hour, which was seen as convenient by the many Spaniards who worked two jobs to make ends meet.
As for after-work activities such as dining out, attending a football game or watching prime time TV, things kick off rather late in Spain. It is unheard of for a restaurant to open before 8pm, and as for evening entertainment, don't expect anything until at least 9pm!
Studies have shown that the Spanish sleep approximately an hour less than their European counterparts, which has led to a campaign initiated by a private health insurance organisation called ASISA. The hashtag #Duerme1horamas (or #Sleep1hourmore) is advertised throughout Spain to educate and encourage people to better manage their sleep, in order to help shift a cultural norm. The video below explains a poor sleep routine can lead to hypertension, tachycardia, depression, memory loss, obesity and diabetes.
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