Barack Obama was a night owl who often held 11 p.m. conference calls with staffers and worked until 2 a.m. John Quincy Adams got up every morning at 5 a.m. to go for a 6 mile walk to prepare himself for the coming day. Lyndon B. Johnson was both a night owl and a morning person, staying up past midnight and rising at 6:30 or 7 a.m.
But presidents aren't the only ones who suffer from sleep deprivation because of the strain of politics. It also affects millions of Americans.
A University of Nebraska survey found that nearly 40% of folks say politics are stressing them out; 20% are losing sleep or are fatigued or suffering depression because of politics; and 20% report that political discussions have damaged friendships. This worries health professionals.
Chronic stress and conflict contribute to depression and anxiety, as well as headaches and chronic pain syndromes. It can exacerbate asthma and COPD; damage the circulatory system and heart; disrupt your hormone balance and immune system; increase your risk of dementia and cancer; cause digestive upset; and even alter fertility. That's why it's important to find a way to de-escalate anxiety, anger and conflict about political events (while remaining committed to every American's involvement in the political process - including that uncle you disagree with).
Here are some tactics to use:
- Limit time spent watching and reading news coverage.
- Turn off your phone's news alerts.
- Ask friends to drop the subject, and talk about movies, books or food instead.
- Use physical activity (60 minutes daily) and meditation to calm your stress response and mind.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.