Congratulations, President Obama! The people have spoken, and they want you to have the most stressful job in America!
As the President of the United States, you face a number of obstacles, and we don't mean just the national debt. With the most stressful job in the country comes a whole host of barriers to achieving optimal health.
With such a hectic schedule, it might seem impossible to fit in adequate exercise, unless, of course, you're willing to hit the gym before dawn. It can be tough to eat whole, homemade or unprocessed foods when you're constantly traveling between time zones. And all that stress can put you at risk for heart problems, stroke, depression and memory issues, not to mention stress makes it tough to form the best decisions and can totally screw up your sleep.
In fact, work stress keeps 46 percent of Americans up at night, according to a 2012 study, and stress in general causes 65 percent of people to lose sleep.
President Obama, we know a bit about your sleep habits already: You're a self-described night owl, and have a White House operator call you every morning when it's time to get up.
And we know you've suffered a reportedly sleep-deprivation-fueled gaffe when you said that 10,000 people died due to a tornado in Kansas when the actual death toll was 12. (To be fair, Governor Romney made his own misstep chalked up to a lack of sleep when he said he would "never remember Iowans" when of course he meant to say he'd never forget them.)
But you're not alone. In fact, a number of past presidents also had some surprising sleep habits. Here's a look at some of the most notable.
As the heaviest commander-in-chief in history, it's not surprising that the 27th president suffered from sleep apnea, a disorder that causes pauses in breathing during sleep. Because of the condition, Taft was notoriously tired -- and apt to fall asleep in inopportune places, like church and on the golf course, according to the National Institutes of Health. After he left office, he lost a significant amount of weight -- and his problems sleeping disappeared.
A number of presidents have been accused of snoring -- including Obama himself -- but the 26th president is rumored to have snored so loudly he was given a floor in a Washington hospital all to himself so he wouldn't disturb other patients, according to the BBC.
Clinton is well known for sleeping just five or six hours a night, a practice he picked up while at college in Georgetown, the New York Times reported, after a professor mentioned that the most successful men need the least sleep. While there is such a thing as short sleepers, who require just a few hours of shuteye a night, they comprise only 1 to 3 percent of the population. And the 42nd president may have been doing himself a disservice, considering he needed heart surgery in his 50s, despite not being at obvious cardiovascular risk, NPR reported.
The 43rd president valued a midday nap, telling reporters in 2001 that after answering questions he was headed home to catch some shuteye, the Chicago Tribune reported. While a number of other occupants of the oval office have been rumored to enjoy a nap now and again, some people were not convinced it was how a president should be spending his time. To make light of the criticism, Bush's wife, Laura, took a jab at his sleeping habits in 2005 at a White House Correspondants dinner, saying, "I said to him the other day, George, if you really want to end tyranny in the world, you're going to have to stay up later."
In 2002, the New York Times reported that a thorough examination of the 35th president's medical records revealed he was a lot less healthy and taking many more medications than anyone had thought. Among the prescription records were barbiturates for sleep, a class of drug used to ease anxiety and control seizures, that has since been replaced by safer options for the most part, according to the Mayo Clinic. While it is important to take steps to ensure better sleep, sleeping pills aren't usually the best option. In fact, certain types have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and death.
The 41st president was known for taking the sleeping pill Halcion to combat jet lag during his overseas trips. But when the drug was linked to some frightening side effects -- including paranoia, amnesia and anxiety -- he was very forthcoming to the press about how he had stopped using it, the L.A. Times reported.