In the last part of this series we spoke about sleep from a spiritual and physical perspective and today we want to intertwine our understanding of both these perspectives into a practical action plan to master your sleep during Ramadan.
In order to master your sleep during Ramadan, you need to master 4 main elements of sleep:
1. Master Your Sleep Routine:
Do you have a sleep routine? If not, get into the habit of one this Ramadan. In this ProductiveMuslim.com article I described the ‘ideal’ ProductiveMuslim sleep routine that starts 90 minutes before you actually hit the bed. It goes like this:
9:30 P.M. – Wudhu & Witr
10:00 P.M. – Reading (Optional)
10:30 P.M. – Sleep Duas & Recitation of Quran
11:00 P.M. – Shut Eye!
The routine above helps you prepare for sleep both physically and spiritually and is from the guidance of Prophet Muhammad and from certain personal development science findings. Try the above routine and let me know how you feel.
2. Master Your Sleep Cycle:
If you want to be a true sleep master, you need to understand and master your sleep cycle. We’ve described the sleep pattern in brief and different stages that one goes through when he/she sleeps. As a starting point, most people go through their entire sleep cycles in one hour and a half periods. Do your best to sleep a multiple of this, e.g. If you sleep at 11 P.M. and need to wake up at 4:00 A.M. for Suhoor, you should technically sleep for 3×1.5 hours and wake up at 3.30 AM.
Now sometimes, you wake up a bit too early from the intended time. In the example above, you wake up at 3:30 A.M. when you really need to wake up at 4 A.M. Rather than ignoring your sleep pattern and trying to sleep right through to 4 A.M. and thus waking up in the middle of your sleep cycle – which can be difficult, my suggestion would be to wake up at 3:30 A.M., get out of bed, move around a bit, then go back to sleep for another 20 minute nap till 4 A.M. What you’re doing here is: completely disconnecting one sleep pattern from the other.
3. Master Power Naps:
Nothing beats a ‘20 minute nap’ for a true energy booster, and this works in Ramadan and outside Ramadan. If you’re ever tired and need some rest but don’t want to sleep too much, take a 20 minute nap (make sure you stick to 20 minutes!) and you’ll wake up totally refreshed. I’ll be honest, there’s only 1 way to master ‘20 minute naps’: practice, practice, practice! The more you practice, the better you’ll become at it. There are certain softwares and audio files that can help you practice this (e.g. www.pzizz.com) but once you master this technique, you wouldn’t need any software or audio files.
Regarding the best time to nap, there’s a couple of time slots that are known from the Sunnah:
1. Between Azan and Iqama of Fajr
2. Before/After Dhuhur
4. Master Your Body:
Mastering sleep is all about mastering the relationship between you and your body and what it needs. Make sure you’re not too strict upon your body that it shuts down or gets ill, thus refusing to work with you (happens at times!) or too relaxed with your body that sleep simply takes over your life. Treat your body as you treat a child: always listen to it, but never do what it always tells you to do but do what’s right for it.
Few other pointers regarding sleep, the following pointers would help improve your quality of sleep, which is very important during Ramadan and beyond:
When NOT to sleep!
The following times have been advised for us NOT to sleep in, either from the hadith of Prophet Muhammad or scholars: between true dawn (when the time for Fajr salah sets in) and sunrise, between Maghrib and Isha, and after Asr prayer.
It is recommended to sleep on the right side while facing the Qibla and keeping the right hand placed under the right cheek as per the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad . Sleeping on the left side or lying on the stomach is disliked and thus should be avoided.
Always sleep with wudhu
It is also important to maintain cleanliness when sleeping. We should: ”Sweep the beds at the time of sleeping, so that any harmful insects settled in it may be thrown away and you may remain safe from harm.” It is a good idea to sweep your pillow. Also:
– Brush your teeth
– Go to the bathroom
– Cleanse yourself from sweat and unpleasant odors before sleeping
– Make wudhu