‘Perfect Storm’: A Sleep Expert Analyzes Trump’s Trial Nap

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty Images
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty Images
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Is something keeping Donald Trump up at night?

The ex-president appeared to fall asleep during the first day of jury selection in his historic criminal trial—not a great look for someone who is constantly trying to project an image of vigor and energy in public.

One sleep expert told The Daily Beast that he suspects Trump is not getting the right amount of shuteye and proper nutrition at this nerve-racking moment.

“Anytime we fall asleep in a stressful situation, those are indications that your brain is prioritizing it,” Dr. Chris Winter, neurologist and sleep expert, said of the court.

“We live in a society where an individual who is able to fall asleep quickly and anywhere is a great sleeper. But someone who is able to fall asleep in jury selection is really someone who is at great risk and not an excellent sleeper.

“He has something wrong with the nature of his sleep.”

Several reporters in the courtroom, including from The Daily Beast, saw the 77-year-old Trump seem to nod off for a few minutes during his hush-money payment trial in Manhattan as the defense and prosecution went about the laborious process of picking a jury.

It sparked the trending hashtag #SleepyDonald on social media and was a reminder that it’s rare for the public to see Trump for an extended stretch in which he does not control access or the environment—much less an overheated courtroom where progress can happen at a snail’s pace.

“He might not have found jury selection stimulating enough to keep him awake,” Winter said. “That indicates an issue in sleep amount or quantity. Even if he is getting enough sleep, there is something wrong with the quality of it.”

Trump did not address his snooziness in remarks as he left court Monday, and a spokesperson later issued a statement: “This is 100% Fake News coming from ‘journalists’ who weren’t even in the court room.”

Winter said it was not a complete shock given the “perfect storm” of risk factors.

“Anyone that is on the campaign trail and fighting all these indictments against him might not be sleeping well,” said Winter, who is host of the “Sleep Unplugged” podcast and an adviser for Mattress Firm and Equinox.

“He strikes me as someone who needs to prioritize sleep and nutrition, and he is not right now,” he said, adding. “He has something wrong with the nature of his sleep.”

Medical guidelines suggest that someone Trump’s age should be getting at least seven hours of sleep per night. But Trump has bragged that he doesn’t need nearly that much.

In his 2004 book, Think Like a Billionaire, he wrote that he usually gets four hours per night—a habit that continued into his presidency. His biographer Gwenda Blair also told The Guardian in 2017 that Trump once “made a big deal of saying he never sleeps and that people who sleep are lazy.”

“You know, I’m not a big sleeper, I like three hours, four hours, I toss, I turn, I beep-de-beep, I want to find out what’s going on,” he said in 2016, according to the Chicago Tribune.

You can bet all eyes will be on Trump on Tuesday for any signs of further drowsiness. Asked what he could do to improve his sleep—beyond laying off the Diet Coke, of course—Winter said: “Maybe he needs a new mattress.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.

Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.