There’s no shortage of valid criticisms to be made of President Donald Trump.
But this week, Chris Cuomo came up with a new one — and it’s a really, really bad one! In his closing monologue Tuesday, the CNN host blasted Trump for not caring enough about his job.
Cuomo’s evidence? First, bizarrely, that Trump has not aged enough physically during his time in office, which Cuomo took to mean that Trump isn’t showing as much wear-and-tear as a president should, given the stress and demands of the office.
Second, Cuomo cited a recent clip of Trump telling reporters that “nothing keeps me up at night.” The CNN chyron read: “Trump should care more, sleep less.”
“Maybe this president could use a sleepless night or two,” Cuomo said. “Maybe he should focus on fixing things.”
But the science is clear that Cuomo is dead wrong when it comes to sleep. If anything, we need this president to get more sleep — and not just because more sleep would mean fewer late-night presidential tweets.
The scientific consensus is in and it’s unambiguous: Sleep deprivation and burnout decrease emotional intelligence, reduce empathy toward others, reduce impulse control and increase reliance on superstitions and magical thinking.
Does anybody seriously want these results in the White House? And let’s not forget that the president has boasted in the past about how he can function on little sleep. “You know, I’m not a big sleeper,” he said at a 2015 campaign rally. “I like three hours, four hours. I toss, I turn, I beep-de-beep, I want to find out what’s going on.”
So I say to Chris Cuomo: Arguing that this president “could use a sleepless night or two” is like tossing a Molotov cocktail onto a raging dumpster fire.
Because the science also shows that sleep is directly connected to one of the most important leadership qualities: decision-making. A study from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia found that after 17 to 19 hours without sleep, which many politicians would consider a normal workday, we start to experience levels of cognitive impairment equal to a blood-alcohol level of .05 percent, just under the threshold for being legally drunk. One or two more hours without sleep, and we’re effectively drunk.
In his monologue, Cuomo played a clip of President Obama saying, “There are a lot of things that keep me up at night,” taking this as evidence of good leadership. But let’s be clear: Pulling all-nighters and burning the candle at both ends is a surefire way to diminish your performance, focus and overall ability to handle what’s in front of you — including the famous 3 a.m. emergency call.
Indeed, if there is one small thing that might make this presidency slightly less disastrous, it’s President Trump getting more sleep, not less.
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