How politicians sleep

Politicians don’t get enough sleep. The result is poor decision-making.

A politician once fell asleep at their desk while listening to my client explain their position on an issue. I was grateful, rather than annoyed, because I was finally able to convince the client to speak more evocatively.

Politicians caught asleep in public are targets for barbs about slacking on the job, but there’s many things not funny about the regularity with which this happens.

Sleeping on the job shows that politics is about long hours and is at times boring enough to send you to sleep. It also shows that politicians are likely to be living with poor health and be working at a sub-optimum mental performance.   

According to the UK Sleep Council, politicians are among the most sleep-deprived. It found the average politician got a little over 5 hours of sleep each night. Only hospital doctors on call had less, averaging 4.5 hours.

Lack of sleep causes mental health issues such as fatigue and anxiety. Many studies show that lack of sleep reduces cognitive performance. It also causes physical health issues such as high blood pressure and weight-gain, leading to early death.
None of this can be good for the quality of national decision-making. Bill Clinton thinks Congress would perform better if its members got more sleep.
There’s a thing about the political culture which believes time spent on the job equals ‘doing the job’. Almost 99% of politics comprises of contact with people. The longer you are awake, the more of that you can do.
The irony is that politics is a job where you can go to sleep during the day and nothing at all happens as a result. Try doing that in the factory or hospital.
Politicians need to realise that a job which is boring enough to put you to sleep is a job in which you don’t need to be there 24/7.
Enjoy the following classic sleeping politicians:
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