Wellness

Sleep Really Is Important For Political Decision-Making

Chris Christie is right about one thing.

The pre-election behavior of politicians is not exactly restrained. And New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is known to stoop to some pretty extreme levels of partisanship to score points.

Christie threw shade at Secretary of State John Kerry (D) on Wednesday, suggesting that he "get some sleep and shut up" after Kerry's suggestion that there was a "rationale" behind an al Qaeda branch's attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.

Obviously, this is a political attack more than a diagnosis, but Christie's comments do hold one distinct merit: It's true that sleep and decision-making go hand in hand, an important fact to keep in mind before someone chooses to, say, make an important political call.

A study from Washington State University found that sleep deprivation can impede the decision-making process in the middle of a crisis. A lack of sleep can also fuel memory loss and disrupt a person's ability to regulate their emotions, two arguably crucial factors when it comes to making life-altering choices.

And if that isn't enough proof, consider Bill Clinton's anecdotal evidence from his experience dealing with sleep deprivation in office. Now, the former president praises the value of getting those Z's.

"Every important mistake I've made in my life, I've made because I was too tired," Clinton has said.

An exhausted political leader sounds like a nightmare. In other words, Kerry should get that shuteye if he's not getting the recommended seven to nine hours a night, just like Christie asserts.

But we suspect the governor isn't really all too concerned about the secretary's sleep health. And, in all likelihood, Kerry's assessment of the situation in Paris is not the result of sleep deprivation.

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