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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Author(s)

  • Arianna Huffington

    Founder & CEO of Thrive

    Arianna Huffington is the founder and CEO of Thrive, the founder of The Huffington Post, and the author of 15 books, including Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. In 2016, she launched Thrive, a leading behavior change tech company with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success. She has been named to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union. She serves on numerous boards, including Onex and The B Team. Her last two books, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder and The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time, both became instant international bestsellers. Most recently, she wrote the foreword to Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive: End Burnout, Increase Well-being, and Unlock Your Full Potential with the New Science of Microsteps.