HealthZette

Our Workaholic in the White House

The nightly shuteye the president gets has brought a renewed focus on healthy habits

We need more sleep. We hear that all the time.

Without a sufficient amount of shut-eye on a regular basis, health and wellness experts say we’re more likely to suffer from depression, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, car accidents, concentration and problem solving, and more.

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At least seven hours a night has been shown to be best for us in study after study.

There have always been those, however, who don’t require that much sleep. You know who they are (and you know who you are): You’ve never gotten that much sleep, and you can’t sleep any longer than you do for no other reason than that’s your body clock.

Never have we all fit into the perfect box defined by statistics.

“Three percent of the population can operate normally on four hours sleep,” said one physician.

The issue, while discussed for decades, has again come into the spotlight now that President Donald Trump has claimed to get only four or five hours of sleep each night. He is up late working, and he rises early. It is how he has always operated.

He said in an interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News that he typically works until midnight or 1 a.m. — then wakes at 5 a.m. to eat, read newspapers and check television. “There’s so much work to be done,” he told O’Reilly.

Apparently he intends to keep up his sleep habits for the foreseeable future — much as countless other Americans do as they work, raise their children, serve as caregivers, act as volunteers, filibuster Congress, or do any number of other things people feel are important and must be done. Sleep often gets bumped far down the priority list. Trump is being criticized for his unusual sleep habits — but then again, those on the Left have been criticizing him for just about anything. And when former presidents slept too much or “too” long — well, they were criticized, too.

“The University of San Francisco did find that there is about three percent of the population that can operate normally on four hours of sleep,” said Dr. Ramin Oskoui, a cardiologist in the Washington, D.C., area, who is also CEO of Foxhall Cardiology PC and a regular contributor to LifeZette.

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Other studies, including one in the journal Sleep in 2014, “found that people with a gene variant p.Tyr362His — a variant of the BHLHE41 gene — can function on five hours sleep per night. The study revealed that those with that gene variant chose to sleep for less time than people who didn’t have that gene, and they were also far more resilient and sharper when faced with a series of mental tasks after sleep deprivation of 38 hours,” Market Watch reported.

Related: Will More Sleep Really Help You?

Additional studies have pointed out that we all have our own unique sleep needs, and some people simply function well on less. One might only need look in the mirror to validate that fact.

“That said, most people need at least six hours of sleep a night and ideally eight. It’s been shown to be healthier for most people to sleep eight. That does change as they get older. And power naps work,” Oskoui added. “I’ve prided myself on working hard and needing little sleep, and I know quite a few others who do, too. When people ask [about it], I respond, ‘There’s enough time to sleep when I’m dead.'”