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Spanish MPs have called for the state broadcaster RTVE, to ensure children’s programmes are scheduled to finish no later than 11pm after a weeknight MasterChef Junior had 3 million young viewers until after 1am. This has raised questions around the Spanish relationship with sleep and time as a whole.

Spaniards are thought to sleep an average of 53 minutes less than the rest of Europe. 11 hour work days are typical and with dinner around 9pm, it is thought usual to stay awake until midnight. In December 2016, Spain’s employment minister called to shorten the working day to 9am-6pm in a push to improve the work-life balance.

Another major contributor to this lack of sleep is thought to be the time-zone in which Spain sits. Quite interestingly, Madrid lies directly south of London yet sits in a different time zone. The change to Central European Time (CET) was a Franco-era decision to show allegiance to Hitler’s Germany. Moves have been made to push the Spanish time zone back in line with Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) hoping this will prove more practical.

Similarly, debate continues around the use of daylight saving time in the UK and the single time zones of China and India, where their land mass and sunlight timings differ from their eastern-most and western-most provinces.

HSPS, PPE and Geography students may want to debate the imposition of time zones globally and how they are decided. History students may find is interesting to track any changes of time-zones and the reasons why.


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