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5th Mar 2024

French people spend the most time sleeping and eating

  • The French sleep around nine hours a day (Photo: Wikipedia)

The French spend more time sleeping and eating than most people and also live longer, a fresh study by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has shown.

With an average of almost nine hours per day, "the French spend more time sleeping than anyone else in OECD countries," the survey unveiled on Monday (4 May) shows.

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The French are followed by the Americans and the Spanish, with both nations sleeping around eight and a half hours per day.

At the other end of the scale, with an hour less than the French, Japanese and Korean people sleep the least among the 30 member countries of the OECD, at around seven hours and 50 minutes a day.

The French, who are known worldwide for their culinary skills, also "devote more time to eating than anyone else and nearly double that of Americans, Canadians or Mexicans," the OECD, a club of free market-oriented countries, says.

They spend more than two hours a day eating, followed by the New Zealanders and Japanese, who also spend close to two hours daily at the table.

In Italy, which is another country with a worldwide culinary reputation, and Belgium people spend around one hour and 50 minutes a day eating.

Spaniards, Germans, Poles and Swedes also spend more than an hour and a half a day eating, while Finns, Norwegians and Britons spend the least time at the table (around one hour and 20 minutes).

Their way of life seems to have an impact on French people's life expectancy, since they are among the top three nations living the longest, together with the Japanese and Spaniards.

An average Japanese woman lives to almost 86 years, while a man lives to 79. French and Spanish women live up to 84.4 years, and men 77.3 and 77.7 years respectively.

Hungarians are the European OECD nation to live the shortest lives, with women's life expectancy at 77.4 years and men's at 69.

Time for leisure

The survey, called "Society at a glance," also looked into leisure time in 18 of the 30 countries where data was available.

It found Norwegians spend the most time on leisure – around 27 percent of their time, followed by Finns, Germans and Belgians who all spend around a quarter of their time on their favourite activities.

There were gaps between men and women's leisure time however, notably in some countries.

In Italy, men have around 80 minutes more a day of leisure time than women. By contrast, Norway appears to be the most equal society in that respect, with men and women having practically the same amount of leisure time.

Most of that time people spend watching TV, listening to the radio or on "other leisure activities," while attending events and practicing sports remain rather unpopular, taking not more than six to seven percent of people's time.

Visiting or entertaining friends is also a popular free time activity, especially in certain countries.

Turks spend around 34 percent of their time "entertaining friends," making them the most "sociable nation," followed by New Zealanders (24%), Canadians (21%), Americans (16%) and Koreans (16%).

Europeans come out as much less generous in that respect, with people in Germany and Spain spending not more than four percent of their time "entertaining" or visiting their friends, the OECD says.

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