Is Trump Surviving or Suffering on Just ‘4 Hours Sleep’ Each Night
January 15, 2018
US Presidents are well known to work long hours, in many cases surviving on less than the critical 6 hours of sleep per night. Donald Trump boasts that he’s leading the country on just 4 hours sleep each night.
Research on rats and human volunteers is pretty conclusive in finding that insufficient sleep has a marked effect on our ability to make good decisions, prioritise our tasks and manage our emotions. Barak Obama allegedly accommodated the Presidential regime by being ruthlessly efficient. To the extent that he cut out minor decisions like which suit to wear each day by wearing identical outfits. He apparently stuck to a rigid routine, eating and waking at consistent times, avoided caffeine and alcohol and spent the final hours of each day alone, probably working, sometimes relaxing, before going to bed between 12 and 2 am and rising at 7am. Just 5 to 7 hours sleep each night isn’t ideal but at least Barak Obama seemed to appreciate the value of sleep. When asked what he would do when he left office he admitted to sports star Derek Jeter “I’m going to catch up on some sleep”
President Trump’s boast that he is surviving on just 4 hours sleep, if true, put’s him amongst a tiny group of people with a rare gene, a sub-variant of BHLHE41 that enables them to function normally on less than 6 hours sleep. Dr Thomas Roth at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit once said of this group
“The number of people who can survive on five hours of sleep or less without any impairment, expressed as a percent of the population, and rounded to a whole number, is zero.”
Alternatively, the 45th US President could be one of a larger group that aren’t aware that their judgement is impaired by inadequate sleep. We know that those who routinely sleep less than six hours, regardless of their schedule are high in behavioural activation and reward drive. Often with hypomanic characteristics (e.g., high activity, distractibility, inflated self-esteem or grandiosity, engaging in pleasurable, but potentially risky behaviour). Effectively kept awake by adrenalin. When forced to be in a low-stimulating environment, they may quickly lose wakefulness, probably without realising they are passing in and out of micro-sleeps. Given all of the characteristics just described, they may not be able to accurately judge their functioning. Leaders at any level with this trait should be closely monitored and brought to account by their trusted advisers.
“I can’t get enough sleep” is not a problem; it is a potential cause (or perhaps the result) of a problem. To clarify your thinking, try to identify the bad outcome ﬁrst; e.g., “I am performing poorly in my job.”