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UAE residents rest easy but sleep poorly during Ramadan, report says

DUBAI // Ramadan is a less stressful time despite the late nights, poor sleep and grumpy mornings, a survey shows.

The Sleep Cycle survey of 1,000 residents looked into the sleeping patterns of residents during the holy month.

Only 34.7 per cent of respondents said they felt stressed, compared with 37.9 per cent who felt under pressure the week before Ramadan.

View the results: Hours slept and stress levels during Ramadan in the Gulf – graphic

“In Ramadan I don’t feel any stress,” said personal trainer Bilal Laher, 32.

“Maybe it’s less working hours but it’s a mental thing. Spiritually, you pray more so it could be to do with this, too. I also function better with more broken sleep, napping when I wouldn’t usually nap so often.

“Once Ramadan starts you just get de-stressed.

“Even my clients who train with me while they’re fasting are not stressed.”

The survey, carried out last month, quizzed men and women between 18 and 55.

Most had less sleep in the holy month – an average of 6 hours and 28 minutes, compared with six hours and 40 minutes for the rest of the year.

The average bed time was 25 minutes later at 12.31am, but most said they had worse sleep, despite waking up 23 minutes later at 7.57am.

This contributed to an overall feeling of waking up in a worse than usual mood. But reduced working hours and increased social time with friends and family alleviated any negative feelings.

Ayla Khan said even though her sleep patterns were different, shorter working hours and more “time spent on my religion” gave her a better feeling through the month.

“Being surrounded by goodwill, family and friends also makes it a special time so I just feel more relaxed,” said the 31-year-old, who works in banking. “That feeling is all around me so even on busy days when we are tired or getting stressed I feel more able to cope.”

The country with the lowest levels of stress in the region was Oman, even though it also showed the least amount of sleep at just five hours 45 minutes a night, 48 minutes less than in the week before Ramadan.

Surprisingly, given that Ramadan is generally thought of as a time when people slow down their daily routines to the minimum, 44 per cent of those who contributed to the report said they worked out each day during the holy month, compared with 40 per cent the week before Ramadan.

“I’m still training three times a day but the intensity is lower,” Mr Laher said. “It’s just to keep the metabolism going.”

Martial arts coach Anas Siraj-Mounir, 29, also keeps up with his training while fasting, although he makes sure to have regular naps to compensate and to help ease his mood.

“When you’re fasting you just have to relax. I don’t have the energy to be bothered by things but I do have a slightly shorter temper sometimes, although it’s rare.

“Ramadan is different. I think more positively, there are more prayers and you think about doing good deeds. You feel more positive and at peace.”

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(via The National)