There’s this theory I have. It’s not that crazy. It’s got the benefit of holding up to some analysis. I think Trump is perpetually sleep deprived. He’s got that reservoir of anger, he seems easily confused and makes mistakes in basic knowledge that 5th graders know. Like that the Moon isn’t part of Mars.
I don’t believe Trump really thinks the moon is part of Mars, I think it’s a Tell. It’s the lazy mistake of a fatigued mind that’s just not at 100 percent, ever.
What the president was possibly alluding to is some ideas for a Mars mission involve slingshotting around the moon to build momentum. In some harder to fathom plans the moon would possibly be the launch point so the rocket wouldn’t have to use any fuel escaping the Earth’s gravity. NASA probably told him about this but he was half awake when he heard it. So we get a mangled tweet about the moon and Mars being the same thing.
Lots of easily google-able tests have universally shown if you just don’t sleep at all you’ll have some kind of medical emergency within a few weeks and die. It’s common knowledge, it doesn’t need citation.
So clearly Trump ‘rests’ in some way. I’m not suggesting that he hangs upside down from the rafters with his wings folded, but its not quite ‘sleep’ either.
Here’s the Theory –
It’s Not Quite Sleep
It’s not that Trump doesn’t have times when he’s not really awake, it’s more that he’s only sort of sleeping. It’s always in small amounts after being awake for too long.
Trump doesn’t fall asleep and wake up like a normal person. In fact I think he’s like 2 days of sleep behind all the time. This would explain his constant confusion and brittle disposition. He can’t ‘sleep’, he only passes out from being awake too long for say 4 hours about every 20 to 30 hours. 12 Diet Cokes a day will do that to you.
So in a nutshell; my theory is he passes out from sheer exhaustion (and a caffeine crash) after 20 to 30 hours of ‘wakefulness.” Of course the TV is on the whole time.
Less than 5 hours later he snaps to consciousness (as opposed to waking up) in a cold sweat screaming the moment his body has been in stasis long enough for his mind to start to panic again. Then he ‘Get’s Up’ and starts the cycle again. He’s never anything but overtired, grumpy and scared. By most accounts he rarely eats breakfast. Only the most important meal. So mental acuity is all sorts of in question from this lifestyle.
Much of the time he’s not really awake, just in a torpor half out of it half watching Fox News Opinion shows that tell him he’s great. This is so his ego never has to stop grazing. That’s “Executive Time”. The president half snoring from being so heavy. His eyelids are mere slits, drooling with the TV remote in one hand, cellphone in the other. At least its some form of rest.
Throw in the fact he’s pretty old, pretty fat and those things affect your sleep and sleep patterns. Sleep apnea may figure in too. Its a sure thing there’s more than one or two contributing factors as to why the guy has sleep problems.
For one thing, he knows he’s a horrible person and the guilt and shame must show up sometime. It part of why he famously wont read. Reading involves quieting your mind, something a horrible person just cant do.
What Happens When People Are Overtired?
From experience I can say you sometimes get a rush of creativity in that second wind you get right before the wind gets knocked out of your sails for good. I think it’s probably safe to say that it only last just so long and you don’t know when it’s gonna happen. It would however, explain why Trump occasionally is sort of able to crack a joke and be glib and pith-y. It also explains some of the times he’s been creatively very mean in interviews or on the stump.
So outside my personal experience I of course checked Wikipedia and looked at the results of being overtired and bounced them off what we see of Trump.
Here’s some stuff I found interesting. It’s from the second paragraph of the wikipedia entry on sleep deprivation–
A chronic sleep-restricted state can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, clumsiness and increased appetite leading to weight gain. It adversely affects the brain and cognitive function. However, in a subset of cases sleep deprivation can, paradoxically, lead to increased energy and alertness and enhanced mood; although its long-term consequences have never been evaluated, it has even been used as a treatment for depression
Well let’s see. We have clumsiness pretty well documented and increased appetite seems a sure thing for a man that big. As I mentioned in my own experiences there’s that weird little high you get where you end up with an elevated mood for a while. It’s akin to smoking pot. And the last sentence, about it dubious use to treat depression, would seem to indicate you get manic. Sounds pretty Trump-like!
Adverse brain and cognitive functions? Always on full display. Trump’s a text book case. Don’t believe me? Look at the time stamps on some of these tweets going back as far as you like. He’ll blast something out at 4am.
Other Effects include “Selective Attention”. We can just leave that right there. Theres so many accounts of the president only hearing what he wants to hear.
Executive Function? This one takes some explaining, but once you get it a lot of things start to make sense about Trump, again, from wikipedia –
Researchers believe that three of the most ‘basic’ executive functions are: shifting, updating, and inhibition. Shifting back and forth between different tasks is considered a very important mental behavior involved in executive functioning as it involves active disengagement from the present task and engaging in a new task. Updating is believed to be involved in working memory (closely associated with the function of the prefrontal cortex), where the information that is active needs to be updated by replacing old, now irrelevant information with new, relevant information based on the objective. Inhibition involves controlled and deliberate impedance of automatic, predominant responses.
The anterior cingulate cortex has been implemented in the process of inhibiting a habitual response or detecting possible conflicts in responses; this is shown by the Stroop test. Studies have found that as little as 36 hours of sleep deprivation cause a performance reduction in tasks requiring these executive functions.
Well, thats a lot to take in but essentially the sleep deprived person becomes less and less able to do 2 things at once or to do one thing and then something different immediately after. Examples would range from not being able to pick anything off a menu (so only having burnt steak with ketchup or McDonalds) to greeting more than a couple of people. No wonder Trump is always inappropriate. The guys just trying to remember if you eat salad with a spoon or a fork and can’t discern the president of China from the president of Japan! If he mets them too close together or at once it will overwhelm him. His cognitive abilities just aren’t up to it.
Lastly, just from these excerpts, the science says he’s also inhibited in “Conflict Avoidance”. Easy to believe. Pick any of the poorly chosen battles the presidents engaged in and there’s proof that’s going on too.
There’s so much more but this post has made enough points. Besides, others have wondered and written about it as well.
In February Business Insider looked at the presidents sleep schedule and found cause for concern, writing – It’s not clear whether or not Trump is part of the 1% of the population that appears to actually need less sleep, scientifically speaking. If he is not, Trump is severely sleep deprived, according to health professionals that generally recommend seven to eight hours of sleep.
So there it is. The president is a stranger to Circadian Rhythm and is cognitively impaired from it. And he has control of the worlds largest nuclear arsenal.
The only good news is if you hate the guy he’s on the threshold of all sorts of health problems. Like maybe a heart attack or stroke, especially with a famously horrible diet and being way overweight.