Ramadan Chronicles #4: Sleep

Welcome back to our final installment in the Ramadan Chronicles Series .  If you haven’t checked out Part 1 Part 2 or Part 3 yet, just click on the links and you’ll be all caught up.  In this final installment, we talk about sleep.

Sleep is our second means of physical and mental recovery, next to nutrition.  When we sleep, our bodies are going through a busy set of mechanisms that allow us to recuperate and be ready for the next day.  Now, before we go into the ramifications of sleep deprivation and special cases in Ramadan, let’s quickly look at the sleep cycle below:

As you can see from the above infographic, our sleep goes through a cycle where our bodies recuperate different aspects of our bodies.  It’s where both the jockey and the horse recover.

Challenges of Ramadan

Its impact on training and recovery

sleep epic

Chronic lack of sleep, is a building sleep debt that eventually has to be paid.  If you don’t pay back your loan, you will get your assets repossessed to repay that debt.  Unfortunately, that can mean crashing towards the end of Ramadan.  That has happened to me as in the second half of the month; I stopped eating right, training as much, and even doing additional prayers.  I just came home from work (which I was dropping in performance in as well) and crashed until the time came to break the fast.

Sleep and Body Composition

Also, if you’re dieting and trying to continue the diet in Ramadan, depending on how lean you currently are, you might consider taking a diet break, solely on the basis of having inconsistent sleep.  You’ll benefit from the added calories (which aren’t an incredibly lot but enough to notice restoration) and be able to reduce physical fatigue a bit.  Check out this cool infographic explaining the cost and benefits of getting lean.

So What do we do to combat Sleep Deprivation? 

SleepTime app 

We mentioned before in a video of the app, SleepTime.  Its a great way of tracking sleep.  Not only that, it can work as an alarm clock to wake you up at the time in the sleep cycle where you are sleeping the lightest.  This can help you wake up in the least groggiest period of time.

For instance, you go to bed at 11pm and have to wake up at 3am to have time to eat before starting fast again.  SleepTime will attempt to wake you up at a time that is close to 3AM that you will be in light sleep.  By doing so, you potentially wake up easier.  The app also helps in maximizing REM sleep, (rapid eye movement).  Its the deep kind of sleep and even though you may not be sleeping for long, waking up during the REM portion of your sleeping cycle is much more uncomfortable.

Napping

During Ramadan, we can compensate for lack of sleep during the night with naps.  Now if the last time you took a nap was back in elementary school, then it’s time to reawaken the nostalgia of the mid-day snooze.

It may not be the same as sleeping consistently for 6 to 8 hours, but napping can help alleviate some of the stress that a creeping sleep debt can cause.  Now the length at which you nap can determine your level of alertness.  Check out this cool infographic by LifeHacker.com 

Thank You for Following the Series

With that, we hope you take care to manage your sleep during this Ramadan month.  Also, thanks for following along in this four part series.  To revisit or have a look at previous installments, then click on the following links:  Part 1 Part 2 Part 3.

Ramadan Kareem to all!  May it be productive and spiritually enlightening.

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