Sleep management is an important factor in optimizing the salubrious effects of Ramadan fasting and for health in general. But these days, our lifestyle serves to disconnect us from our natural rhythms. This is particularly true in regard to our extended use of “screens.” This is, of course, a reference to our apparent addiction to devices like phones, tablets and computers that incorporate the ubiquitous LED screens.
We are supposed to live by natural daylight. In the morning, cortisol (also called stress hormone) secretions awaken the body, and the signal for that comes from the morning light. Our production of this hormone will then drop during the day to reach its lowest level in the evening. The lower the cortisol level at bedtime, the higher the level of melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep, that is produced.
Just like daylight, blue light from screens stimulate cortisol secretion, and our body can’t tell the difference between these two types of light. So when we use screens at night, our brain believes that it is still daytime.
In order to fall asleep more easily and to improve the quality of your sleep, it is important to cut your exposure to this blue light early enough in the evening to make a difference. Ideally, this should be two hours before bedtime. Not only is doing this beneficial for sleep inducement, but it is also an opportunity to disconnect from the virtual world and spend more time on things that are much more valuable (and should be our main concern during the month of Ramadan).
I believe this part of the challenge is actually the most difficult one. Screens have taken a growing place in our lives over the years and the dependence is all the greater for people who work from, or study at, home. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that we have to impose limits, and to plan our daily tasks in such a way that we are able to stop working on screens at a reasonable time.
At the start of Ramadan, Sylvie Eberena issued a 4-part challenge to her clients and followers.