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18 Productive Cures For Ramadan Insomnia

Do you struggle in Ramadan with chronic sleep deprivation? Make simple changes to your lifestyle and habits to shift your mood, health and...

Do you struggle in Ramadan with chronic sleep deprivation? Make simple changes to your lifestyle and habits to shift your mood, health and ability to think straight when fasting!

Most Common Symptoms of Insomnia:
Although insomnia is a common Ramadan complaint, it's not a bog-standard sleep disorder. It's more accurate to think of insomnia as a symptom which differs from person to person.

The #GoodNews is that most cases of insomnia can be cured with changes you make on your own—without relying on doctors or turning to sleeping pills. Click to retweet!

The most common symptoms of insomnia are:
  • Difficulty falling asleep despite being tired
  • Waking up frequently during the night
  • Trouble getting back to sleep when awakened
  • Having an exhausting sleep
  • Relying on sleeping pills or meds to fall asleep
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Daytime drowsiness, fatigue, or irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating during the day
You Are Feeling Sleepy... Very Sleepy
Your brain produces the hormone melatonin to help regulate your sleep-and-wake cycle. As melatonin is controlled by how much light you're exposed to, not experiencing enough natural light during the day can make your brain feel sleepy, while too much artificial light at night can make it harder to sleep.

To help naturally regulate your sleep-wake cycle and prepare your brain for sleep follow every one of the following.

20 Productive Cures for Ramadan Insomnia
  • 1. Listen to Qur'an recitation, melodious or natural sounds
Play your favourite Qur'an chapters before sleeping like Surah Mulk, Rahman, Ya-seen, or the shorter ones from the 30th Juz. Alternatively, make a playlist of soothing melodies and rhythmic ocean waves or forest sounds to lull you to sleep.
  • 2. Read your Du`a' list
If you've been ticking off the prayers you read in Ramadan, try making a list of duas (Islamic supplications) to read in bed. These could be prayers of forgiveness, Tasbih, singular Qur'an verses or a du`a' book.
  • 3. Ask Allah to ease your problem
“(Abdullah said)...All praise belongs to Allah who let there be ease in affairs.” (Ahmed, Nisai)
Muslims believe Allah allows everything to happen and only He can remove a person's troubles. So one of the best cures is to ask Allah to ease your insomnia and take healthy steps to reduce the symptoms. Sincerity and consistency is a key to asking Allah for help.
  • 4. Drink warm milk or herb tea
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, taught Muslims to gulp milk and say after:
"Oh Allah grant us blessings in it (milk), and feed us something better than it." (Hadith)
Drinking warm milk routinely before sleep can help repair your body and provide you with the nutrients lacking throughout the long Ramadan fast. And a cup of organic herbal tea at Iftaar will level out your metabolism and soothe the body to sleep.
  • 5. Eat a healthier Iftaar and Suhoor
It goes without saying that you must avoiding eating heavy meals late at night in Ramadan because it will make you sluggish. Look at what you eat now each day and replace 1-2 unhealthy foods like donuts, cookies or fizzy drinks, and carbs with real fruit, natural milkshakes, or vegetable dinners. This will give you the energy to remain active during the day and allow natural tiredness to kick in at Fajr for a more restful sleep.
  • 6. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol and Tobacco
Limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. In Islam, smoking is forbidden anyway but if you're a Muslim smoker, consider the advantages of quitting smoking as nicotine is a stimulant which will keep you awake longer. Stop drinking caffeine beverages at least 5-6 hours before bed.
  • 7. Sleep in a Well-Ventilated Room
Ramadan heat makes it difficult to sleep comfortably (ya`ani, first-world problems...). Open up windows, wipe down dusty surfaces, replace bed covers with clean sheets and fill the room with lavender and chamomile flowers.
  • 8. Sleep on a Good Firm Bed
The Japanese sleep on the floor. The Pakistani sleep on a woven cot. Neither sounds 5 star-ish but they are the best ways to regulate a healthy sleeping pattern. Firmer surfaces provide better support for aching muscles and sore joints and they increase the body's resilience. Sleep on Your Back
Sleep on the floor once a week until your back pains have gone and invest in a memory-foam mattress for better comfort.
  • 9. Get Some Physical Exercise During the Day
Avoid stimulating activity and stressful situations before bedtime. This includes vigorous exercise; big family discussions or arguments. No TV, no computer, or video game use. Replace every contact with technology with a few moments outside in the air, in a park or a bike ride.
  • 10. Don't Sleep In
Stick to a regular sleeping schedule based around the 5 daily prayers in Islam. Support your biological clock by going to bed after Fajr prayer and getting up at the same time every day, including weekends. Get up at your usual time in the morning even if you’re tired. This will help you get back in a regular sleep rhythm.
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him said: "If one of you feels sleepy while he is in prayer then let him go and sleep till sleep has departed from him, for, if one of you prays and he is drowsy then he might mean to make Istighfar but may revile himself instead." (Ahmed, Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah)
  • 11. Take midday naps
Avoid long naps. Napping during the day can make it more difficult to sleep at night. If you have to take a nap, limit it to a 15-30 mins power-nap after the midday Dhuhr prayer but never after `Asr prayer late in the afternoon as Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said it makes your mind groggy.
  • 12. If You Can't Sleep, Get Up
If, after completing several steps for at least 7 days you find absolutely no change get out of bed and engage in an activity to bore you. Usually, Salah (prayer) tends to make more distracted Muslims yawn but don't abuse your prayers. Pick up a lengthy book, read a dictionary, clean up a messy area until you feel sleepy.
  • 13. Get Up Earlier in the Morning
Stay awake a half hour after Fajr prayer to begin your most important work then, and set your daily alarm to a half hour earlier than your day starts. The earlier you awake, the earlier you'll want to sleep in the evening. 
  • 14. Keep Your Bed a Place for Sleep
Maintain a comfortable sleeping environment (not too hot, cold, noisy or bright) by telling yourself the bedroom is only for bedroom activities. Do not sit in bed with a laptop or use your phone before sleeping - no long conversations or texting - as this will help you separate the purpose of your sleeping space in your mind.
  • 15. Avoid Illuminated Spaces, Clocks
Increase your natural light exposure by opening blinds and curtains during the day. But cover windows and electrical displays in your bedroom at night. It is a Sunnah (prophetic action) to close all windows and doors at Maghrib (sunset) and say Bismillah as protection. Turn off all digital screens at least 1 hour before bed. If you can’t make your bedroom dark enough, try using a sleep mask.
  • 16. Short walk before bed
Although exercise in the middle of the day is beneficial it's not recommended to run track before bed. Instead, take a short brisk walk to boost your heart rate a little so that you have time to slow down into a better sleep.
  • 17. Cutting Out Distractions
avoiding watching or checking the clock throughout the night.
Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool. Noise, light, and heat can interfere with sleep. Try using a sound machine or earplugs to hide outside noise, an open window or fan to keep the room cool, and blackout curtains or a sleep mask to block out light.
  • 18. Stick To Salah
It is good Zuhd to pray Isha' (the night prayer), make a fresh Wudhu (ablution) then sleep with the protection of the angels, the ablution and your prayer. Salah is an underrated medicine for Muslims which at best, is a means to ask Allah for stuff they need. But Salah is a much more powerful tool as it is a cure to many personal and societal problems. By default it unifies differences, regulates a healthy lifestyle, prioritises commitments and realigns a Muslim to his/her goals in life. When you feel depressed, exhausted, alone or unproductive, make the best use of your time - Pray.

Further reading
+ NHS - Treating insomnia
+ Help Guide - Can't Sleep?

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