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Dubai: Lack of sleep is a serious concern among residents in the UAE with around 90 per cent of individuals suffering from sleep deprivation, showed research.

Dr Hady Jerdak, Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases and Sleep Medicine at Medcare Hospital stressed the importance of paying close attention to signs of chronic fatigue, as only 46.42 per cent of individuals in the UAE sleep seven hours per night.

“Many people may simply be tired from a long week of demanding tasks to unwind from, but it’s also important to pay attention to such recurring occurrences as daytime headaches, frustration, and lack of concentration,” said Dr Jerdak.

Studies also found that one in four people suffer from some form or symptom of sleep disorders.

“Repeated sleep problems can be the body’s way of hinting at something more. Increased stress levels, mood swings, and anxiety are all ways your body might be trying to tell you it’s suffering from a sleep disorder,” said Dr Jerdak.

The opposite is also true, with sleeping problems sometimes leading to anxiety disorders.

Lack of sleep can also weaken the immune system’s defenses against viruses, increase the risk for high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, and lead to issues related to heart disease.

During Ramadan, many people remain awake at night and sleep during the day.

“The sudden change of eating habits and timing, from day to night (fasting during daytime and eating at night) are accompanied by some physiological changes in the body,” said Dr Jerdak.

Disrupting the sleep cycle can have some consequences on our health.

Good quality sleep consists of 4-5 cycles of sleep where each cycle has 40 per cent superficial sleep, 40 per cent deep sleep and 20 per cent rapid eye movement phase or dream phase.

“We usually do more deep sleep in the beginning of the night and more dreaming at the end of the night,” said Dr Jerdak. He pointed out that during Ramadan we are faced with a disruption of the normal sleep cycle since we need to wake up early to have souhour and sleep late in addition to eating heavily before sleep.

How to sleep well

* Make a plan before Ramadan which fits in with your schedule, follow something that you can stick to as best as possible.

* Schedule times of worship.

* Find a quiet place away from the work station, such as your car, and take a 20-minute nap when needed.

* Ensure your sleep environment is quiet and dark to get quality sleep without distracting factors.

* Stay away from gadgets like mobile phones and laptops, which is proven to improve sleep as light signals the brain to remain awake and alert.

* Earplugs and eye masks work wonders for getting into and staying in a deep sleep.

* Do not consume heavy, calorie-loaded and sugar-rich foods at iftar, it can affect the quality of your sleep.

- Also avoid very spicy foods and fried foods.

* Avoid coffee and caffeine-containing products, as there are stimulants and can interfere with sleep.

* Avoid processed and salty foods, which are high in sodium as they will cause dehydration.

* Sleep at least 2 hours after Iftar and don’t have a heavy Sohoor if you wish to sleep after that.

* Stay hydrated