JEDDAH: Nadeem Al-Hamid
Published — Thursday 15 August 2013
Last update 15 August 2013 6:13 am
Feeling a bit cranky? Can’t sleep? Or maybe you can’t stay awake. Well, you are not alone.
Most people suffer from the switch in their biological clocks, also called circadian, that usually occurs at the beginning of Ramadan.
The changes are felt until the end of the month and the arrival of the Eid. They come in the form of disrupted times when you are heading for bed or just waking up. In other words, those all-night celebrations and all-day sleeping binges have taken their toll on your body, which is trying to adjust to a normal lifestyle again.
Disruptions in sleep patterns and its effect on emotions and physical well-being depends on the individual, especially on his or her psychological condition and the type of involvement in daily activities.
Dr. Raja’ Uthman, a family medicine consultant at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Jeddah Research Center, warned that those who suffer from a switch in their biological clocks should “refrain from taking any sleeping pills” to help them go to bed early and not stay up all night.
“Right after Ramadan, people take the popular medicine Panadol Night, because it is easily available and cheap,” she said. “It makes them drowsy and puts them in deep sleep within 30 minutes.”
She added: “But they should not be using the pills. They contain a habit-forming substance, and as a result it becomes very difficult to be discontinued, and therefore the person will not be able to sleep without taking it.”
Majid Al-Wassabi, who works in real estate, said that, “like any other individual, I suffer from the changes in my biological clock. In Saudi Arabia, Ramadan has a schedule of its own. Actually, what happens is that our days become nights and our nights become days.”
He noted that his family “stays up all night, then we finish by eating sahoor, we pray the dawn prayer, and we go to bed after that.”
He said his biological clock gets reprogrammed to accommodate this new activity.” After Ramadan families wake up earlier than usual because the father and perhaps the mother need to go to work, yet they stay up late and not go to bed in the early morning. The catch is that employers are not always accommodating.
“I will oversleep and miss work, in which case they deduct from my paycheck,” Al-Wassabi said. “Things stay like this for 4 or 5 days, after which our bodies are reprogrammed again to accommodate the new situation, which is in fact our older self.”
He added: “When my body gets used to the new system, it’s business as usual. I arrive home from work at 5 p.m., I spend some time with the family, have dinner, and go to bed at 11 p.m.”