In Italy, walk into any restaurant in Rome, from the ordinary to the elegant, at 10 p.m. and you will find children eating and talking at the table with adults. Around 11, some of them will be face down in their spaghetti or sprawled over their parents’ laps, sleeping while the adults linger chatting.
And these aren’t a few glutton-for-punishment outliers who don’t have to get up for work in the morning—this is everybody.
Since Italian families tend to eat late, kids end up going to bed even later.
So you’re probably wondering: If they go to bed at 10 p.m. or later, how are kids rested enough when school starts at 8 a.m.?
While many Italian schoolkids go home for lunch and siesta, and their school day often rings in around five hours, a comprehensive study conducted by pediatric sleep specialists at a Roman university shows Italian kids sleep fewer hours than American.