May 4, 2009 / 5:04 PM / 8 years ago

Sleeping and eating - who does it best?

<p>Workers prepare food in a restaurant offering sandwiches for one euro in Paris April 23, 2009.Thomas White</p>

PARIS (Reuters) - True to their reputation as leisure-loving gourmets, the French spend more time sleeping and eating than anyone else among the world's wealthy nations, according to a study published Monday.

The average French person sleeps almost nine hours every night, more than an hour longer than the average Japanese and Korean, who sleep the least in a survey of 18 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Despite their siesta habit, Spaniards rank only third in the poll after Americans, who sleep more than 8.5 hours.

And while more and more French people grab a bite at fast-food chains these days or wolf down a sandwich at their desk, they still spend more than two hours a day eating.

That means their meals are twice as long as those of the average Mexican, who dedicates just over an hour a day to food, the OECD's "Society at a Glance" report on work, health and leisure in Asia, Europe and North and South America found.

The Japanese, scrimping on sleep and burdened with long commutes and working hours, still manage to spend close to two hours a day eating and drinking, placing them third behind New Zealanders.

The Japanese like to spend what remains of their scarce free time watching television or listening to the radio. This takes up 47 percent of leisure time in Japan.

Turks, on the other hand, spend more than a third of their leisure time entertaining friends.

The survey showed that the split between work and leisure time within certain countries is striking.

"Italian men have nearly 80 minutes a day of leisure more than women. Much of the additional work of Italian women is apparently spent cleaning the house," the OECD said in a statement.

The OECD has 30 members. The survey covers only the countries for which appropriate figures were available.

Editing by Robert Woodward

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