Dr. Aisha Hussain Al Adab, an expert in sleep disorders at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), is cautioning that excessive night eating can negatively affect sleep quality and lead to sleep disorders.
“Meals eaten during Ramadan are often large and contain fried and sugary foods. Gatherings often turn into celebrations, with meals becoming feasts. Eating sensibly and avoiding large, excessive portions, especially directly before bedtime, is an important part of ensuring good sleep quality,” says Dr. Al Adab.
According to Dr. Al Adab, due to the unique nature of Ramadan, many people have irregular sleeping times during the day because they stay awake late at night to perform acts of worship and to socialize. She says establishing and maintaining regular eating and sleeping patterns throughout the month is an important part of successfully ‘readjusting’ after Ramadan. She says this is particularly important for those who have experienced sleep deprivation or poor-quality sleep in the past.
“Individuals who have a history of poor sleeping patterns are most at risk of insomnia and circadian rhythm sleep disorders after Ramadan. For these individuals, establishing a regular sleeping and eating pattern during the Holy Month is very important. Eating directly before sleeping should be avoided as the body’s digestive system should be resting, not digesting food while sleeping,” noted Dr. Al Adab.
As the final week of Ramadan approaches, Dr. Al Adab recommends gradually adjusting waking and sleeping times over several days. She says this will help the body’s biological clock to re-synchronize.