Sleep disorders in Ramadan: How do we avoid them? Healing platform

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Many people fall into the trap of sleep disorders during Ramadan, waking up at night and sleeping during the day! These changes are contributed by new eating habits, which are accompanied by some physiological changes in the body. In this article, we will give you some important directions to avoid sleep problems in Ramadan!

Sleep disorders in Ramadan

Sleep disorders in Ramadan

according National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute NHLBI Sleep deprivation is a condition that occurs if you don’t get enough sleep. Sleep deficiency is a broader concept that occurs if you have one or more of the following:

  • Not getting enough sleep (sleep deprivation).
  • You sleep at the wrong time of the day (i.e. you are out of sync with your body clock).
  • You’re not sleeping well or getting all the different types of sleep your body needs.
  • Have a sleep disorder that prevents you from getting enough sleep or causes poor sleep quality.

Lack of sleep can lead to physical and mental health problems, injuries (cardiovascular, for example), loss of productivity, and even a greater risk of death!

Study.. How does Ramadan affect your sleep?

Many people associate Ramadan with late-night meals, which changes the lifestyle of the community! During Ramadan, work starts late, markets open in the evening, and social gatherings with relatives and friends increase. As a result, one faces a severe lack of sleep during the night, all of which causes laziness, sleepiness, and mood swings during the day!

according study conducted at the University Center for Sleep Medicine and Research at King Khalid Hospital, and based on a group of students (56 students), it was concluded that there is no difference in the duration of sleep during the month of Ramadan and the month of Sha’ban for these students, as they slept the same number of hours per day during the month of Sha’ban and the first three weeks of Ramadan.

Also read: What is more harmful: too little or too much sleep? And how many hours of sleep is enough?

But.. the difference was in the time of sleeping and waking up:

The students’ sleeping time changed from 11:30 pm to around 3:00 am in the first week of Ramadan, and the waking time was gradually delayed from 6:30 am to 8:45 am during the first week of Ramadan and reached 9:15 am in the week the third.

It was noted that the students complained of drowsiness during the day in Ramadan, despite their sleep for the same period! The reason for this is due to an imbalance in the secretion of the hormones responsible for sleeping and waking up. Where studies have shown that the percentage of cortisol secretion at 8 am, which is the hormone that helps us wake up, decreases in Ramadan compared to normal days, which causes a feeling of sleep during the day, and its rate at 8 pm increases in Ramadan compared to other days. This makes it difficult to fall asleep.

Light also plays a role in sleep disturbance, as long as the light receptors located above the blindfold receive light signals, they send a signal to the gland that secretes melatonin (the hormone responsible for sleep) and prevents it from secreting it, thus not feeling sleepy.

Talking during sleep … a sign of a psychological disorder or a normal issue?

Study.. The effect of fasting on sleep structure and the daily cycle of melatonin!

Fasting during the month of Ramadan differs from voluntary or experimental fasting the study To assess the effect of Ramadan fasting on sleep structure, daytime sleepiness and daily cycle of melatonin level.

Eight healthy volunteers reported to the Sleep Disorders Center during four time periods for polysomnography and their multiple bedtime tests:

1) Preliminary visit for adaptation.

2) Two weeks before Ramadan.

3) During the first week of Ramadan.

4) During the third week of Ramadan.

Salivary melatonin levels were measured using a radioimmunoassay.

The results of the study were as follows:

  • Sleep latency during the night was significantly shorter, as was the amount of REM sleep significantly less, during the third week of Ramadan compared to two weeks before Ramadan.
  • There was no difference in the multiple sleep time test data between the two weeks before Ramadan and during Ramadan, although the melatonin level maintained the same daily pattern before Ramadan and the first and third weeks of Ramadan.

Sleep is divided into two types:

Deep sleep and restless sleep, each of them plays an important role in the human body, as deep sleep helps to repair fatigue and exhaustion in the body, while restless sleep plays a role in memory and arranging thoughts and feelings.

Sleep takes place during the night in the form of successive cycles, each cycle consisting of both types of sleep, so that deep sleep takes a larger part of this cycle during the first half of the night and disturbed sleep takes more space during the second half of the night. And therefore:

  • Staying up will lead to a feeling of exhaustion the next day.
  • Sacrificing the second half of the night will lead to a sense of jitteriness, nervousness, and lack of concentration.

Guidelines for maintaining sufficient hours of sleep during Ramadan:

1. Make a plan before Ramadan that fits into your schedule and stick to it as much as possible. This may include going to bed earlier than usual, for example:

  • Try to go to bed by 11pm and get four hours of sleep after iftar, then get up at 3.30am ready for suhoor and fajr and go back to bed around 5am for two hours. If you work fewer hours during the day, this sleep may be a bit longer.
  • If not, a nap after work, but before breakfast, can make up for the last 1-2 hours of lost sleep.

This new routine may mean sacrificing or reducing the time you spend socializing or on recreational activities, but your body will thank you for ensuring adequate sleep. Whatever plan you make, try to stick to the same daily routine.

2. If your energy levels are still low during the workday, a “power nap” can be helpful:

Find a quiet place away from work, like your car, and take a 20-minute nap. Set your alarm to ensure you don’t oversleep. Try not to sleep for more than 20 minutes during this nap because your body will go into a deep sleep and you will wake up feeling tired and groggy! A “power nap” is especially important for those who feel drowsy on the drive home at the end of the day.

To maintain a restful and restful night’s sleep, follow these tips:

  • Ensure your sleeping environment is quiet and dark: earplugs and eye masks provide sound sleep even in conditions where the conditions for the right sleeping environment are not available!
  • Diet is important for the quality of sleep: Many people consume calorie-dense and sugar-rich foods when breaking the fast. This type of food greatly disrupts your sleep quality as your body will try to digest it at the time when you need to sleep and rest.
  • Avoid highly spicy foods: the stomach lining is sensitive after fasting, and eating spicy food at breakfast causes gas and heartburn, which leads to disturbed sleep during the night.
  • Avoid fried foods: These foods are full of fats that the liver cannot process, so it gets stored away as fatty tissue, affecting the digestive system and causing heartburn, which in turn leads to sleep disturbance.
  • Avoid coffee and caffeinated products: Caffeine stays in our system for about seven hours, so make sure to take it at a time when you don’t plan on sleeping for the next seven hours! Many people feel that caffeine does not prevent them from sleeping, and this may be true, but it affects the quality of sleep.
  • Avoid processed and salty foods that are high in sodium, which cause dehydration.

Scientific audit: Dr. Sarah Hyatt

A doctor specializing in diseases of the nervous system

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