1 Jun, 2023 @ 18:45
1 min read

Harvard professor left with burning question after week in Spain: When do Spaniards sleep?

Over half of people in Spain suffer from mood swings caused by lack of sleep
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A PROFESSOR from Harvard University struck a chord this week after she came to Spain and asked a question that many visitors to the Mediterranean country will have wondered before: “When do you sleep?!”

Melissa Perri posted the query on Twitter, racking up 1.8 million views and thousands of comments in little more than 36 hours.

Spaniards are famous for their ‘crazy timetables’, with lunch usually eaten at 2pm (but sometimes as late as 4pm), and dinner around 10pm or even later.  

“Serious question for people from Spain… When do you SLEEP? Been here for a week. Dinner at 10pm (sometimes ELEVEN) and at work by 9am. Weekends people in their 40s and 50s out until 3am. Are you vampires? How do you do it? What’s the secret?”

The responses came thick and fast, from locals and foreign residents alike. 

“We are always hungry and always tired. But we have a lot of fun!” wrote Argentine entrepreneur Martin Varasky. 

“Shorter commutes, nicotine, caffeine,” wrote Annalisa Fernandez. “Nights out are more seated and intense conversation than drinking and dancing. Logistics of life are also less stressful and free up brainspace.”

“We don’t sleep,” was Carles Zettai’s response. “I lived in the UK for ten years and I recently moved back to Spain. Went from sleeping 10 hours every night to 6. I blame the weather and the lifestyle ? No siesta here.”

In a follow-up tweet, Perri stated that she was loving the fact that “most of the people saying SIESTA aren’t Spanish in the comments the Spaniards are like ‘nah we’re just crazy’!”

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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