"Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn," so said Mahatma Gandhi. It is the body's repair system, nature's best shot at immortality, and the panacea of the tormented. Yet sleep is even more than this. The slumbering hours have been one of the driving forces of history and historical narrative, shaping the beings who shaped the world.
How leaders sleep – or, more precisely, how many hours they sleep -- provides an interesting insight into their achievements and legacies. Health organizations recommend that, for someone between the ages of 18 and 60, seven to eight hours of shut-eye are optimal. But let's examine what some of recent history's more prominent figures managed to scrape by on.
Winston Churchill famously slept only four to five hours per night. Granted, he was well-known for having the occasional midday nap – as did JFK and Ronald Reagan – but with a lifestyle wrapped in cigars and booze, he still maintained a highly functioning and vigorous outward persona.
Sticking with British prime ministers for a moment, Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, was also known to get just four hours of sleep. She would insist that her ministers and advisers remain on call until 3 a.m. When John Major become prime minister, he struggled to manage the workload because, by that time, the cabinet officials were used to the grueling hours set by Thatcher.
And what of American leaders? Donald Trump skirted by ...