Ramadan repercussions: Saudis still struggling with sleep schedules
Post-Ramadan sleep disruptions can have serious physical and mental effects. (Shutterstock)
Even though almost a month has passed since the end of Ramadan, many families in the Kingdom are still struggling to reverse the routine and many blame it on ongoing summer vacation.
In Ramadan, most families in Saudi Arabia switch their biological cycle by staying up late and sleeping out the day.
Even though the Ramadan fasting was over about a month ago, the trend is likely to continue until the end of the school vacation as many summer events taking place around the country will go on until the beginning of the new academic year in September.
The disruption of sleep during summer is like a tale with several chapters retold every year. It has severe health and psychological consequences.
The staying-up late syndrome invades families in the Kingdom like the seasonal fever every year. Despite many specialists advocating a change to the habit due to its health implications, most Saudi families are reluctant to comply. They have liberated themselves from the routine of set times for sleeping, rising up and eating and argue that it has become difficult for them to go back to their fixed schedule.
Director of the Center for Research on Sleeping Habits at King Abdulaziz University Dr. Siraj Wali said bedtime disruption after Ramadan and during summer vacations may lead to chronic disorders that require intervention by specialists or psychiatrists. He pointed out that the ability to change sleeping patterns varies from person to person and from one age to another.
“Newborns, children and young adolescents can change their sleep pattern and adapt smoothly to a new sleep pattern post Ramadan, unlike the elderly. But there are some people, due to their nature, who tend to get stressed from poor sleep, and who might end up with chronic disorders after Ramadan, which may lead to persistent insomnia and other sleep problems making the intervention by a doctor or psychiatrist necessary to solve the problem,” he said.
“Such people must consider sleep as a most important priority in life. They should also pay attention to a regular eating schedule,” he said.
Wali said people must be prepared to go to bed not later than 11 p.m. if they wanted to avoid these problems. He also advised people to avoid busy and noisy situations before going to bed in order to ensure sound sleep.
“Naps after dawn prayers are encouraged and people should also get exposed to sunlight as much as possible until they get their biological clock back to normal,” Wali said.