I'll never understand how most Italians get away with the amount of sleep that they do.
Evenings in Italy run on a different timetable to that of the UK, a later one. Supper isn't eaten before 7pm, and up here in the north 8pm is more or less and average time for the family to sit down to eat. Prime time or prima serata is generally classed as being 9pm or a few minutes after onwards, that's when the main and most popular programmes of the evening ar shown, or films. Reality shows such as X Factor or Big Brother are on during the week (Thursday night and Monday night respecively) and they don't finish until after midnight, with shows lasting three hours each! Even Masterchef Italia (a new addition to the tv schedules this year, which is proving to be very popular) doesn't finish until 11pm when it's shown on Sky.
Another thing you'll see in Italy is how children stay up late at night. It's just one of those typically Italian things that us Brits who grew up with strict bedtimes just don't get. There have even been times during the week in the past when I've been curled up in bed around 11 at night only to hear a child chattering away with their parents or relatives outside the trattoria next door!
It's not like the Italians necessarily wake up later in the morning than people in Britain do. A study revealed this year that the alarm for Italians was being set at a time that was gradually getting earlier and earlier, with 6.49am being the average time it went off in the morning. Historically there has been the siesta culture in Italy, it's still very much in force in areas of Central and Southern Italy, but not so much in big northern cities like Milan. You will find small shops and businesses such as pharmacies that close for a couple of hours or so in the early afternoon, but for most of the year life during those siesta hours for most people goes on as normal.
And that leaves me with my original question, with this late bedtime that Italians have right from infancy, how on earth do they get enough sleep? I certainly can't hack it, not even with all the coffee I can get my hands on!