Margaret Thatcher famously survived on four hours a night.
But Number 10 hopefuls campaigning in this general election would be well advised to think about managing their sleep effectively to optimise vote winning, according to The Sleep Council.
Just like everyone else, politicians and world leaders need their full quota of sleep a night – even if they might scrimp on this during the busy electioneering time. Dave needs his duvet and Ed his bed if they want to stay sharp and impress at the hustings.
Said Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council: “Most of us need a good seven to eight hours of solid sleep a night to perform at our best. Start scrimping on that and people are in danger of becoming too tired to be truly effective. Chronic sleep debt can have a seriously damaging effect on our mental and physical health and research shows that lack of sleep erodes concentration and problem-solving ability. Each hour of sleep lost per night is associated with a temporary loss of one IQ point.”
And while wannabe MPs are battling at the ballot box, getting a good night’s sleep should be at the heart of their own manifestos if they want to come out on top.
It’s a lesson some world leaders admit to having already learned. Bill Clinton, who apparently used to get just five hours of sleep a night, once said: “Every important mistake I’ve made in my life, I’ve made because I was too tired.”
Meanwhile Winston Churchill and John F Kennedy are among history’s famous nappers – Churchill promoted a sleep between lunch and dinner in order to accomplish more.
Here are the Sleep Council’s tips for sleeping for success – whether or not you want to run the country!
• Keep regular hours, where possible. Going to bed and getting up at the same time, all the time, programmes your body to sleep better.
• Spend time winding down before bedtime to aid relaxation – read a book or listen to calming music.
• If your head is full of circulating thoughts and worries, try writing them down as a list of things to tackle the next day.
• Consider your bedroom environment, keep it cool and minimise noise and light disturbance.
• Banish the laptop and all electrical devices including phones and tablets from the bedroom. Not only do they stop you from falling asleep but may be disruptive at inopportune times and wake you.
• Invest in buying a really good quality mattress. Spend as much as you can afford on a new bed – and buy as big a one as your bedroom allows. Sleep Council research shows that high flyers tend to recognise the importance of sleeping in a comfortable and supportive bed.