What Donald Trump's Doctor Got Wrong About Sleep

What Donald Trump's Doctor Got Wrong About Sleep

By now you’ve probably seen clips from the press conference on the President’s mental and physical health. If not, you didn’t miss much. The briefing was an excruciatingly awkward loop of questions from the press about Mr. Trump’s weight, eating habits, exercise routine, and “cognitive” health. I was less concerned with the President’s food diary and more troubled by one particular comment from his doctor. Ronny L. Jackson told a reporter that Trump only sleeps about 4 to 5 hours per night. “He doesn’t sleep much,” said Dr. Jackson. “He’s probably been that way his whole life. That’s probably been one of the reasons he’s been successful.” He continued, “ [Trump] has a unique ability to just get up in the morning and just reset.”

Dr. Jackson’s rhetoric praised Trump for not “needing” sleep and even contributed his success to it. His opinion on sleep is not only dangerous but it also speaks to a deeper societal issue. Why is it that despite all of the science telling us otherwise, people still think of sleep as a weakness? For starters, if you’re someone who gets the recommended amount of sleep per night, you can still be, and probably will be, more successful! Take Arianna Huffington for example. On her website Thrive Global she writes about the moment she collapsed from sleep deprivation and exhaustion. She woke up in a pool of blood with a broken cheekbone, unsure of how she had gotten there. After this day, she decided to change her lifestyle- starting with getting enough sleep. Well rested and clear-headed, she went on to create her namesake news empire The Huffington Post. Ever heard of it?

According to science, sleep can actually make you more successful. Adequate sleep helps the brain work more efficiently- increasing cognitive ability, memory, and sharpness. Since the brain consumes nearly 30% of all of our body’s energy, recovery is essential. Sleep significantly reduces the amount of energy that the brain uses, giving it the necessary time to replenish and rest. The health hazards associated with sleep deprivation go beyond just brain functions, Alzheimer's Disease, Hypertension, High Blood Pressure, Bipolar Disorder, weight gain, and Diabetes are just a few of the other dangerous effects. 

Sticking to a sleep schedule is also beneficial to your health. Chinese Traditional Medicine and Acupuncturists believe that the hours of 11 pm to 3 am are especially important to organ rejuvenation. These hours are when the gallbladder and liver repair themselves. The liver, the largest internal organ, cleanse toxins from our bodies, produce proteins and chemicals necessary for digestion, recycle old red blood cells and regulate glycogen levels in our bodies. Without consistent sleep during these hours, liver functions are at risk.

Sleeping just 4 hours per night like Mr. Trump is dangerous. It’s time to look at sleep like every other aspect of your health routine- as necessary. Take pride in getting more rest, hit the snooze button and let your body do the work it needs to. Keep reading for some extra benefits to getting more Z’s.

Boost your mood: A good night’s sleep will have you waking up happier. Just one night of interrupted sleep can increase stress and irritability.

Keep slim: Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested lost more fat than those who were sleep deprived. Sleeplessness increases the production of the hormone ghrelin, which boosts appetite and decreases the production of leptin, the hormone which signals feeling full.

Strengthen your immune system: A study exposed a group of 153 people to the common cold, the participants who had been sleeping less than seven hours a night were almost three times more likely to catch the virus.

Enhance your sex life: Adequate sleep keeps testosterone levels high and lowers the chances of sexual disorders like erectile dysfunction. Not getting enough sleep lowers libido.  

Improve your appearance: Ever looked in the mirror and thought that you looked tired? That’s because sleeplessness has negative effects on your skin. Studies have shown that good sleepers show fewer signs of aging and their skin recovers faster.

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