Maintaining regular sleeping patterns in Ramadan is key to re-adjusting
Establishing and maintaining regular sleeping patterns during Ramadan is an important step to “re-adjusting” after the holy month, according to Dr. Abul Aziz Al Hashmi, Consultant of Pulmonary Diseases and Sleep Disorders at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
“Due to the unique nature of Ramadan, many people experience frequent and irregular sleeping times during the day because they stay awake during the night to perform acts of worship or some times to socialize,” said Dr. Al Hashmi. “When people change their sleeping and waking-up pattern, they may also suffer sleepiness, headache and mood swings.”
This is usually caused by the change in their bedtime and wake-up schedule, which can increase the risk of developing biological clock disorder such as delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) or melatonin secretion rhythm disorder.
“Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland (a small endocrine gland) in the brain. It helps regulate other hormones and maintains the body’s circadian rhythm,” he stated, adding that “When it is dark, the body produces more melatonin but its production drops when it is daylight. Being exposed to bright lights or watching TV in the evening can disrupt the body’s normal melatonin cycles and causes insomnia.”
Dr. Al Hashmi advised people to gradually re-adjust their sleep and wake-up schedule over several days, especially within the last days of Eid holidays, to help re-synchronize the body’s biological clock. He suggested that exposure to strong light for at least one hour after waking up is a helpful way of restoring normal sleep schedule. “This does not necessarily require staying outdoors under the sun, but exposure to light coming through a window can be helpful as well.”