Are you one of those people that have a tough time maintaining a sleep schedule? You're not alone. One of the most influential people in this country has that same issue. The President of the United States tends to have intricate sleep patterns.
Some presidents turn in so early, such as George W. Bush, that even his wife, Laura, teased him about it. Then there are presidents like President Clinton and President Trump who brag about the few hours of sleep they need each night.
If we go back in history, we discover some presidents had lousy luck with mattresses. President Garfield's new metal coil mattress may have played a small part in his death. As a boy, George Washington had to sleep on beds that were filled with straw and loaded with fleas and lice—that'll interfere with your sleep!
Putting aside those tales of woe, the residents of the White House have some great sleep lessons for all of us. No matter what you're political view is, everyone can learn new ways to sleep better from these sleep habits of our presidents.
John F. Kennedy
Sleep Habit: At times, our 35th president had a two-hour nap; then began his afternoon as a new day: with another hot bath and donned a new suit for his meetings. President JFK wasn't alone in his naps—but those napping presidents didn't take the usual "power nap" of 20 minutes!
President Kennedy took his two baths during the day mostly to relieve his injured back. However, as a study shows, taking baths in the evening will help you get a more in-depth, better night's sleep. Why? Your body prepares itself for sleep each night by lowering your temperature; enjoying a hot bath an hour or so before retiring will move this process along faster.
George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush
Sleep Habits: These two presidents made it their mission to get enough sleep during their stays in the White House. When President George H. W. Bush, who was president from 1989-1993, flew on Air Force One he'd swallow a sleeping pill so he could take a nap.
President George W. Bush, 2001-2009, frequently got about 9 hours of sleep each night by heading off to bed around 9:00 p.m. However, he was up early each morning and by 6:45 waiting for his debriefings. He kidded after the election in 2000:
I'm trying to set the record as the president who got to bed earliest on Inauguration Day.
When it comes to real advantages of sleep for your life and health, there's plenty of scientific evidence. Presidents 41 and 43 knew about these:
- Enhanced quality of life: According to a sleep study, people who slept longer than 9 hours or fewer than 6 hours every night ranked an increase for depression and more reduced quality of life. Those that slept between 6 and 9 hours every night had lower scores for depression and a better quality of life. That's pretty straight-forward.
- Better attention span: If you don't get enough sleep, even for one night, you'll find you'll have a lower attention span, forgetfulness, and decreased concentration level during the next day. Why? Your body won't produce enough essential chemicals such as adrenaline and the feel-good hormone, dopamine.
- Improved memory: If you learn something new before going to sleep, it will be planted in your brain while you're in the deeper stages of slumber. Thus, as reported by the National Institute of Health, your memory can genuinely be improved. How cool is that?
- Reduced stress level: Your stress hormones and blood pressure can rise if you don't get a decent quality night's sleep. If you're fatigued, most likely you'll be easily impatient and annoyed with those around you; this leads to higher stress levels too. Being stressed also affects your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Sounds like a Catch 22, doesn't it? Well, the answer is simple. The secret to reducing your stress is healthy sleep hygiene and getting more sleep.
- Better creativity: Believe it or not, your brain's still very busy while sleeping and dreaming. It connects your thoughts and ideas during the night. So if you have a problem that you can't solve, your brain will continuously try to resolve it for you while you sleep. Chances are—when you awaken refreshed—you'll be able to address those issues from the day before!
Sleep Habit: Our 44th and the first black president used to keep late nights reading and writing in the Treaty Room. As he did so, he snacked on lightly-salted almonds that kept him going.
Some foods like a greasy hamburger or pizza will keep you up at night because they're tough for your body to digest. But other foods are good to snack on before bed; these treats, such as tart cherries, have a high level of melatonin and encourage sleep.
John Quincy Adams
Sleep Habit: Surprisingly, Adams, who was president from 1825-1829, stuck to a morning fitness routine. He would get up at 5:00 am, and he would either swim for an hour or go on a 6-mile walk. Wow!
President Adams clearly understood the benefits of morning exercise—and that was many years before doctors even recommended it! People who exercise in the morning have deeper sleep cycles, are in the restorative stage of sleep 75% more of the time and sleep longer.
A study in 2014 discovered that early morning exercise reduces a person's blood pressure more than if they exercised later in the day or evening. Thus, with lower blood pressure, the person's quality of sleep was better.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Sleep Habit: President LBJ, our 36th president, was known for his afternoon naps. His day began at 6:30 or 7:00 am when he read the papers; then he worked until about 2:00 pm. He then went for a brisk walk or a swim, changed into his pajamas and took a 30-minute nap. Rising at 4:00 pm. President Johnson continued working until sometimes 1:00 or 2:00 am.
Taking a 26-minute nap can enhance your performance by 34%; it seems this former president already knew that. Enjoying a siesta will aid you in learning new skills, weight loss, improving your mood, boosting your sex life, better memory processing, and alertness.
The benefits of napping are why many companies such as British Airways, Nike, and Google urge their employees to nap at work. Some businesses have "nap pods" around the office, and others persuade their employees to take a 20-minute catnap at their desk. Still, other firms devote a room specifically for dozing.These presidents had some impressive sleep habits, didn't they? You should try a few of them yourself—you'll sleep better in no time. If you'd like to discuss more fantastic tips for getting to sleep or any other sleep subject, please contact us.