Five tips for how to sleep better during Ramadan

The Holy month of Ramadan is expected to fall on Wednesday, March 22, when Muslims will began to fast, pray and reflect for approximately 30 days.

But this type of worship can have an affect on your sleep.

While all sleep stages are important, REM sleep, or stage 4, is particularly important for healthy brain development. It plays a key role in processing emotions and memories, as well as dreaming. 

On average, as adults, we need two hours of REM sleep during the night, but during Ramadan, research shows that this type of sleep decreases.

This could be due to eating a larger meal later, when Muslims break the fast for Iftar, at sunset. Eating later increases your metabolic rate and, therefore, raises your core body temperature. Any changes in your core body temperature can reduce how well you sleep.

So how can you ensure that you get the best sleep possible through the month of Ramadan? The sleep experts at MattressNextDay shared their thoughts.

Plan a new night time routine to reduce your ‘sleep debt’ 

Before Ramadan, you should create a new bedtime schedule and attempt to stick to it while observing the sacred month.

In this new routine, make sure you include a reasonable bedtime. While you likely won’t get seven to nine hours in one block, try to sleep for as long as possible after Iftar. 

Also make sure you set a time to wake up and eat and, if possible, go back to sleep before you need to wake up for work or family. 

Go outside for natural light during the day 

If you feel tired because of the later bedtime and the earlier waking hour, get outdoors!

Natural light has a powerful effect on your circadian rhythm (the signal for when to sleep and when to be alert) and going outdoors – even if it is for a short period of time – can help you feel more alert during the day. 

Watch what you eat

Iftar is a celebration but some people do eat foods that have high calories and sugar. 

Eating this type of food can overwhelm your digestive system at night as your body attempts to digest the meal.

This can lead to discomfort when attempting to sleep. In addition, sugary foods can cause highs and lows in your blood sugar levels.

These spikes release hormones which can cause you to wake up during the night. 

Make sure you stay hydrated  

While there isn’t a huge amount of research to link more water to better sleep, hydration is key to your health. And drinking less water could result in less time spent asleep. 

During Ramadan, you should include when to drink water in your new bedtime routine.

Keep water close by when you break your fast and before sunrise. You could also set an alarm for drinking water (so make sure you drink a cup each hour) or even try to associate water with checking your phone.

So if you check your phone, make sure to drink water at the same time. 

Nap for 20 minutes 

If you are able to during the day, we recommend scheduling time for a nap.

You shouldn’t nap for any longer than 20 minutes as you could begin to fall into a deeper sleep.

This is enough time to feel refreshed without disrupting your sleep at night.

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