Spaniards eat later and stay up longer than their European neighbours because of the siesta. But now that’s under threat
Midweek in Madrid on a summer’s evening, it’s 25C and at 10pm the bars, cafes and squares are full of Madrileños, chatting and drinking. They’re still there at midnight, only now some are eating too. Not until 2am do the bars start to close as the crowd thins out. Most of these people will have to go to work in the morning, so the question is: when do they sleep?
The answer is, later. According to Eurostat, the average Spaniard’s day starts 90 minutes later than a German’s. When the Spaniard eats lunch the German has been back at work for two hours and when the German knocks off at 4.30pm, the Spaniard is heading back to work for another three hours. And finally, when the German is in bed at 10pm, the Spaniard is having supper before hitting the sack some time between midnight and 1am.
Siesta no more? Why Spanish sleeping habits are under strain