Ramadan: How to sleep well whilst fasting

Maintaining a healthy sleeping pattern can be difficult at the best of times, but it’s even harder for some people during Ramadan. 

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims as a time of spiritual reflection and a recharging of faith. 

During this month, Muslims abstain from eating or drinking between dawn and sunset as means of becoming closer to God. This is known as “fasting” and in the UK, Muslims will fast for up to 18 hours a day while the sun is up. The purpose is to gain god-consciousness and develop spiritual discipline by curbing one’s desires to fulfil God’s command. It also serves to develop empathy and compassion for others and is manifested in this month by increased charity and generosity. 

Ramadan usually takes place between mid-May to mid-June, depending on the sighting of the moon. This year Ramadan began on the evening of Sunday 5th May and lasts up to 30 days. The time period of the fast is from 3.30am to 9pm. 

During their fast, British Muslims will have a 6-hour window in which they can eat. This includes a pre-dawn meal known as “Suhur” and a meal at sunset known as “Iftar”.

How to get enough sleep during Ramadan

During the month of Ramadan, there is a chance of fatigue and sleep deprivation due to a change in eating and sleeping patterns. 

To compensate for this, adjustments to daily schedules can be made. Here are some tips that may help: 

If your energy levels are low during the day, a short nap after work can be helpful. Set an alarm to ensure you do not oversleep.

Try not to sleep for longer than 45 minutes during this daytime nap as your body will go into deep sleep and you will wake feeling tired and groggy. 

Ensure your bedroom is quiet and dark. Invest in some ear plugs and an eye mask to maximise your quality of sleep. 

Avoid the temptation of eating too many sugary, oily or fried foods when breaking fast as these can have a detrimental affect on the quality of your sleep. Try to eat things that will release energy slowly throughout the day such as oats, wholegrains and high-fibre foods. 

Avoid salty and processed foods, which are high in sodium and will cause dehydration.

Make a sleep plan and stick to it. Try to sleep at the same time every night so your body recognises when it’s time to wake up and you feel refreshed. If you need to nap in the daytime, stick to the same time every day. 

Sleep Expert Stephanie Romiszewski commented: 

“Don’t be super strict with how long you stay asleep for. The important part of nailing your sleep routine is to ensure consistency. Make sure you’re sticking to your normal sleep pattern more often than you’re not.  

References: 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/get-inspired/43892309 

https://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/wellbeing/how-to-get-enough-sleep-during-ramadan-1.16412 

https://www.vox.com/2017/5/25/11851766/what-is-ramadan-2019-start-date-muslim-islam-about 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/05/ramadan-fasting-muslim-test-but-peace-beautiful 

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