Ramadan, also known as the holy month of fasting has just begun earlier this month. During this Islamic holy month, Muslims will abstain from consuming food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Muslims who are observing the fasting will have pre-dawn meal (sahur) and the nightly feast (iftar). As one of the Five Pillars of Islam, fasting is an act of devotion and also a way to become compassionate to those in need. While it is obligatory for healthy Muslim to fast, disrupted sleep could make the fasting month challenging.
Sleep, even during normal times is essential to maintain health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Sleep deprivation can lead to serious implications, such as weakened immune system, inability to focus, mood swings, increase risk of heart diseases, high blood pressure, and even depression. During Ramadan, it is even more imperative that one maintains a good healthy sleep to stay on top of your game throughout the month. This is because a good quality sleep regulates the hormones that control our appetite. If you sleep better, you tend to eat and snack less during the day, plus you will feel less fatigue.
Prioritize good sleeping habits just like you would for diets. There are some tips on what you can do to get quality sleep during Ramadan, and we listed down some useful ones for your reference:
Maintain A Regular Sleep Schedule
Sleeping for at least seven hours a day is a benchmark for quality sleep. It is advisable to create a sleep routine to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. As one needs to wake up early for sahur, plan to go to bed earlier in order to get ample sleep. Do not stay awake all night until sahur as this will disrupt our body’s circadian rhythm and cause day-time sleepiness as well as irritability.
Eat balanced diet
Poor quality sleep is linked to weight gain, the same goes to diet. Nutrition represents about 30% of our body’s health equation. How we eat can affect how we sleep. Eat a well-balanced meal of whole food and less processed food will help provide you the energy you need throughout the day. Avoid heavy, calorie-loaded and sugar-rich foods at iftar as these foods can disrupt the quality of your sleep, making your body work overtime when it is supposed to rest and sleep. A heavy meal will also cause you to fall asleep harder.
Light Exercise After Meal
We know that exercise is good for our body’s overall health, but you may want to taper down on your usual workout routine during the fasting month as you are running on less nutritional fuel than normal days. Take brisk walk around your neighbourhood, practice relaxing yoga or do some simple stretching to help you sleep better at night.
Cut down on Screen Time Near Bedtime
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that one stop using electronic devices 30 minutes before bed. Looking at screen stimulates your brain to stay active and awake. In addition, the blue light your smart phone emits with suppress the level of melatonin, a hormone responsible for controlling your sleep-wake cycle. Exposure to this artificial light throws off your body’s internal clock, causing insomnia at night and tiredness during the day. Grab a book instead or listen to music to get yourself relaxed and ready for bed.
Have A Good Sleeping Environment
A good mattress is the foundation of a good sleep. The right mattress provides proper support for your whole body, especially your back. You will also want to go for mattress that has the right firmness and contours the shape of your body with the right cushioning for pressure points, so you sleep comfortably during the night with minimal wakes, subsequently waking up feeling recharged and refreshed the next morning. Besides mattress, ensure your room is quiet and dark for minimum distraction.
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Finally, while Ramadan is a month for you to reflect, don’t forget to balance a healthy lifestyle. Get more tips on how to fall asleep quickly!