Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has some sagely advice: Less sleep is the key to staying active.
On April 19, in response to reporters asking him about his energy levels, the 93-year-old replied that his secret was “less sleep and staying active,” The Star reported.
“When you lie down, you fade away”
Elaborating on his statement, Mahathir said it was his belief that sleep is debilitating due to its inactivity, The Star highlighted.
Mahathir said: “If you are not active, then you become weak. When you sleep, you weaken yourself. When you do exercise, you are using your muscles more. But when you lie down, you fade away.”
Mahathir further explained that even the lack of brain usage amidst periods of exhaustion would contribute to its deterioration, noting that it was imperative to constantly think, argue and solve.
“If you get tired and go to bed and do not think, do not conceive ideas, do not argue, you don’t find solutions to problems, if you don’t use your brains – it loses the capacity.”
He will turn 94 on July 10.
Tries to sleep from 11pm to 6am
When asked about how long he slept, Mahathir said that he would usually attempt to sleep for about seven hours, from 11pm to 6am, The Star further reported.
However, Mahathir pointed out that there were days he would only arrive home at 2am and have a short sleep, before going to work again.
Occasionally forgets words, has trouble climbing stairs
In acknowledging that he was ageing, Mahathir said that he is occasionally absent-minded during speeches and while answering questions, which necessitated compensation with other words, The Star reported.
Mahathir said: “I sometimes forget words — in speeches or in answering questions. I have to make up with other words. That is an ageing process.”
He also acknowledged that he had issues with climbing the stairs, although he pointed out that he was still keeping his health by being active, moderating his diet and keeping lean.
“Sometimes, I also can’t climb the stairs but I believe that in looking after my physical self, I don’t overeat and don’t grow fat, and I am active.”
Not the only leader to eschew sleep
Mahathir is not the only leader who has eschewed sleep while in office, however.
According to BBC, the late Margaret Thatcher only slept for four hours while serving as British Prime Minister, contributing to her fearsome reputation.
A similar claim of four hours has also been made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Meanwhile, former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff claimed in 2014 to have only slept six hours a night, although in her case, she said six hours of sleep was not enough, BBC reported.
Top image from Mahathir Mohamad Facebook
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