Health experts have reiterated the importance of getting enough sleep during Ramadan or face an increased risk of developing health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. It can also lead to hormonal imbalance.
According to the experts that I spoke with earlier, sleep is essential to maintain health and wellbeing, and there are implications when people don’t get enough of it. One of the most common times for disrupted sleep routines is Ramadan, when social activities can keep people awake well into the night – leaving them at risk of health problems.
The other day, I couldn’t get enough sleep and the implications were grave. I spent the following day in the worst possible frame of mind on the road and in the office. While driving to work, all I could see was haze in front of me, even though it was a bright and sunny day. Reaching office, I struggled to keep awake and complete my assignments. It was terrible.
The point I am trying to make here is that a disrupted sleep routine can impact daytime functioning. Experts said such disruptions also reduce alertness, cause mood disturbances and increase risk of injuries and accidents related to fatigue.
It is always important for the human body to be fuelled with good-quality sleep. Our bodies respond to what we are putting into it. With the lack of sleep, we find ourselves tired and overwhelmed. Emotions and spirits too are affected.
Experts have told me that lack of enough sleep can raise the risk of developing high blood pressure and disturb sugar levels. There is need for six to eight hours of sleep per day.
Less sleep can also lead to hormonal imbalance during Ramadan.
Experts call for people to try and get to bed early so that they get enough uninterrupted sleep before they wake up for suhoor. “During Ramadan, the normal sleep cycle is disturbed by waking up early for suhoor, eating heavily before sleep and then sleeping late. However, there are a number of steps people can take to ensure better quality of sleep,” a health expert told me.
And did you know that sleep disorder can also cause memory loss? Indeed it can. It is crucial to have enough sleep and in case of Ramadan, an afternoon nap can be of great benefit to the body. Of course, this is for those who finish work much earlier before iftar.
Usually, most people get seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a night, but during Ramadan this is not possible. So always try to make up for the lost nighttime sleep when possible. I know it may be difficult but when you do that, your body will thank you for it.
Besides maintaining the number of hours of sleep, it is equally important, if not more, to ensure that your sleep is of good quality. Always ensure your sleep environment is quiet.
Health experts say that diet also has a role in the quality of sleep. We tend to consume heavy, calorie-and sugar-rich foods at iftar which significantly disrupt the quality of sleep as our body tries to digest these foods when it needs to be sleeping and resting instead.
As in the case with many families during Ramadan, we tend to indulge in fried foods such as samosas, cutlets and spring rolls. These foods are loaded with fats which the liver cannot process easily. They take a toll on the digestive tract and cause acidity, which in turn leads to sleep disruption. At this point, I confess that I am a victim of acidity during Ramadan.
Also, we need to avoid caffeine because it stays in our system for long. Many may feel that caffeine does not disrupt their sleep pattern, but the truth is that it affects the sleep quality. So, before you grab that cup of qahwa, think twice.
Till next time, make sure you’re well rested.