There’s a reason why you’re cranky this week

Updated 15 August 2013

There’s a reason why you’re cranky this week

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.”

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

Updated 19 April 2018

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

  • Cliffs in Tuwaiq were formed as a result of the movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift
  • Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site

Thrill seekers and fitness gurus all over the Kingdom will be pleased to know that their choices for weekend activities have increased. 

Several tour operators in Riyadh have started offering trips to the area known as the Edge of the World, making the location more accessible than ever.

With the country’s obesity rates on the rise and many citizens growing more concerned about their physical health and stress levels, people are seeking ways to maintain their fitness without having to restrict themselves to the monotony of a gym routine.

One such solution that has steadily increased in popularity over the past year is hiking, which many have embraced as being much more exciting and fulfilling than spending hours on the treadmill. And most popular of all for hiking and other fitness activities in a natural setting is the magnificent landmark of Jabal Fihrayn, more commonly known as the Edge of the World.

Described as a “window framed by rock,” the Edge of the World offers stunning views of the valley below, a lush grove of acacia trees teeming with wildlife and vegetation. The spot is well-known for being a favorite of visiting picnickers.

Hikers can choose from several trails of varying levels of difficulty, making their way to the top of the Tuwaiq escarpment to take in the magnificent views at the top of the trail, where the colossal cliff faces drop off to reveal the dizzying height from the valley below. In addition to the rich wildlife unique to the location, you can also find samples of fossilized coral and raw mineral deposits in certain areas of the valley.

The cliffs in the areas were formed as a result of the tectonic movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift situated 1,000 km to the west of Tuwaiq.

Due to the increasing popularity of the site, the authorities have built a hardtop that leads to the gates of the sites and arrangements are in place to protect the area and its natural treasures. 

Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site. The more intrepid explorer also has the option to go alone; though past visitors recommend that solo travelers take an all-terrain, 4x4 vehicle and extra precaution. Visitors can spend the day at the site and leave before 6 p.m. (when the gates are closed for the night) or stay behind for a night of camping to enjoy the sunset and the breathtaking celestial views of a star-studded night sky.

Nora Alfard, amateur hiking enthusiast and two-time visitor to the location, was quick to offer praise about her trip. 

“The trip out there was a bit tiring, but totally worth it,” she said. “The views are stunning, and the hiking itself is not that difficult. Most people should be able to make it to the top without too much trouble.” She said she was likely to go a third time, and encouraged others to do the same.

The Edge of the World is roughly 100km northwest of Riyadh, about 1.5 hours’ drive from the capital. Visitors should be prepared for at least 30 minutes of hiking, possibly more depending on your trail and your level of fitness and experience. Previous visitors recommend bringing water and snacks, and stress the importance of dressing appropriately — hiking shoes only!


What is hiking?

Hiking means a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails in the countryside. Day hikers generally carry at least food, a map or a GPS navigation device.