Iowa Sleep Blog

Presidential Sleep Habits

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sleep Habits of Past Presidents

Being the President of the United States is one of the most stressful jobs in the world. With the long hours, constant travel and tense situations, paired with busy schedules, many presidents choose to forgo sleep or sleep very little each night in order to get everything done.

This President’s Day, learn about the poor sleep habits of these past presidents and what the doctors at Iowa Sleep would recommend to help each of them sleep well.

Sleep Apnea:

While OSA can be a common sleep disorder and easily fixed today, President William Taft wasn’t so lucky. He experienced frequent pauses in his breathing while asleep, making it hard for him to sleep well through the night. He would be constantly tired and could easily fall asleep while in a meeting, at church or even on the golf course. Our sleep doctors would have recommended Taft begin watching his diet and begin a moderate exercise schedule, as obesity is a common cause of OSA and President Taft was one of the heaviest presidents in history, weighing in at 350 pounds.


A fan of the great outdoors, President Theodore Roosevelt was a very loud snorer who was said to keep others up at night. During a stay at a Washington hospital, President Roosevelt was said to have been placed on his own floor to avoid disturbing others. Snoring is a common sleep disorder for many people, many without even knowing it. When your snoring begins to affect others, talk to one of the doctors at Iowa Sleep about treatment options. They can recommend oral appliances to help open the airway, CPAP machines, or surgery if deemed necessary.

Frequent Napping:

After taking office at age 70, President Ronald Reagan kept room in his afternoon schedule for a quick nap. Before attending a black-tie event in the evening, he could be found squeezing in a short nap in the oval office. In order to sleep better at night, the doctors at Iowa sleep would have recommended President Reagan avoided caffeine after 2 p.m. and use relaxation techniques to prepare the body for a great night’s sleep to avoid napping during the day.


Sleeping only four or five hours a night was a normal occurrence for Bill Clinton during his two terms in office, after he picked up the habit while studying at Georgetown. He was known to work tirelessly throughout the night – much to the annoyance of his staff who were trying to sleep. Our sleep doctors would recommend for President Clinton to create a sleep routine by going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day – but aim for at least seven hours of sleep a night.

While we all aren’t presidents of the United States, jobs, families and daily life can be stressful and affect our sleep. If you aren’t sleeping well or experience similar problems we’ve discussed, give an Iowa Sleep doctor a call. They will sit down with you to learn more about why you aren’t sleeping well and get you back on track to a better night’s rest.