With the month-long observance of Ramadan, your body clock has made some adjustments that have likely affected your sleep patterns. Now that the long weekend is almost over, medical experts share some tips on how to get back on track in time for the resumption of usual routines.
During the holy month, some people hit the sack early, woke up for suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and prayer, and returned to sleep until office hours. Others stay up past midnight and get way less sleep than normal.
Dr Tamer Moustafa, internal medicine specialist at Ahalia Hospital, Abu Dhabi City, noted that individuals who observed Ramadan rituals may take time to return to normal patterns, mainly their sleep routines.
“They should gradually readjust sleep timing. Try to set a specific time and stick to it. Avoid drinking caffeine in the evening. Also, don’t sleep in the afternoon. If you feel very tired, have a 30-minute nap but not more than that. Don’t stress and overthink about sleeping trouble as it will take a few days to get back into your regular routine," he said.
Dr Moustafa said that exercising in both morning and evening will help one get a good night’s sleep.
“Doing exercise and going for evening walks will be ideal but avoid any workout at night. Especially those who were part of the Ramadan sports tournament will find themselves staying active at night. So, exercise during the morning and evening hours, and having good exposure to natural light, will help them get a good night’s sleep.”
Blue light affects your sleep
Dr Ashraf Ali Soliman, neurology specialist at Burjeel Medical City, pointed out that screen time before going to bed can affect sleep, too.
“During Ramadan, people may have cultivated a habit of spending more time watching TV, using phones and laptops during the night. This is also a habit for many people throughout the year. Electronic back-lit devices like cell phones, tablets, readers, and computers emit short-wavelength enriched light, also known as blue light.
This light, he said, has been shown to reduce or delay the natural production of melatonin in the evening and decrease feelings of sleepiness.
"Blue light can reduce the amount of time you spend in slow-wave and rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, two stages of the sleep cycle that are vital for cognitive functioning. This makes it even more difficult to fall asleep and wake up the next day," he added.
Dr Soliman underlined that sleep is essential for an individual’s physical and mental wellbeing.
“Without enough quality sleep, our brains are unable to function properly. Sleep hygiene can play an integral part in achieving that goal, which in turn can improve your mood, improve your concentration and memory, prevent you from developing sleep disorders (such as insomnia), help you maintain a healthy weight, lower your risk of developing serious health conditions (such as diabetes and heart disease), help your body fight off diseases,” he added.
After the four-day Eid holiday, schools and offices will resume on Monday. Here are some tips that can help you sleep better:
- Prioritise sleep
- Keep regular sleep hours
- Don’t overdo it with naps
- Create a restful bedroom environment
- Don’t watch TV or use gadgets before going to bed
- Avoid caffeine after lunch
- Don’t have a heavy meal at night
- Exercise regularly during the day
- Get regular exposure to natural light
- Try to relax at bedtime
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