Health and safety tips for the holy month of Ramadan

6/03/2024

As the holy month of Ramadan is approaching, Muslims all around the world are getting ready to enter a period of intense fasting which consists of abstaining from eating and drinking (including water) from sunrise to sunset for 29 to 30 days.

Since fasting can greatly impact both physical and mental health, it is essential to prepare oneself before entering this period of fasting. Therefore, we have put together some key tips on healthy fasting and road safety measures to ensure everyone spends a blessed and peaceful month of Ramadan.

Healthy fasting tips:

  • Stay hydrated during non-fasting periods

Upon breaking your fast at Iftar (post-sunset meal) or at Suhoor (pre-sunrise meal), it is important to keep yourself hydrated, even if you are not feeling thirsty. Remember that thirst is a signal that your body is already dehydrated. Therefore, try to drink as much water as possible – at least 8 glasses – to keep your body properly hydrated. Avoid drinking sugary and caffeinated drinks only, as these have a diuretic effect which promotes fluid loss and dehydration.

  • Don’t skip Suhoor

Skipping Suhoor prolongs the fasting period as your body will need to rely on the previous meal to provide you with all the nutrients and energy until Iftar. Skipping Suhoor also encourages overeating during Iftar, which can generate unhealthy weight gain. During Suhoor, it is important to eat a balanced meal including proteins such as milk, yogurt, and eggs, or legumes, beans, and nuts for vegetarians.

  • Keep your Iftar balanced

Overeating when it is time to break your fast can harm your body and create gastrointestinal issues. Therefore, try to avoid eating too much and too fast and allow your body to enjoy the food instead. Additionally, eat a variety of food such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean protein and healthy fat which provide your body with all the nutrients it needs.

  • Stay active

Exercising while fasting can help you cope with stress and improve your mental health. However, try to avoid engaging in intense exercise as it can increase your dehydration level and reduce your muscle mass and strength. Instead, it is advisable to perform low to medium intensity training such as walking or stretching.

  • Build your sleep schedule

Waking up for Suhoor early in the morning might make it challenging to sleep the recommended 7 to 8 hours at one go. Therefore, build your sleep schedule in advance and try to include naps throughout the day in order to provide your body with more energy.

  • Protect yourself from the sun

In order to prevent yourself from dehydration or sun stroke, wear loose, light and light-coloured clothing while exposed to the sun.

 

Road safety awareness tips:

  • Do not attempt to drive if you start experiencing any signs of fatigue and tiredness such as hunger, sweating, feeling faint, poor concentration, tired eyes, drowsiness, slow reactions, and oversteering

Fatigue is a significant road safety risk, so be aware of your own fatigue and watch out for other fatigued drivers. If you are feeling tired, use public transportation instead of driving.

  • See and be seen

If you must drive at night for Suhoor or Iftar, ensure that your headlights, taillights, and signal lights are clean and working properly before you go on the road. Clean your windows to remove road film and dust that could impair your ability to see clearly.

  • Drive defensively

Watch out for other road users potentially under the same effects, especially in the morning rush-hours and Iftar. Always try to anticipate the other drivers’ actions. All road users must use defensive driving techniques to avoid dangerous situations.

  • Pay special attention at pre-Iftar rush hour time

As road users try to rush towards their Iftar appointments, they may use this as an excuse to misbehave on the roads and not be as considerate with their driving habits. Try avoiding the roads during sunset, but if you must, make sure not to jump red lights and keep a sufficient distance between vehicles and do not tailgate. Plan your Iftar appointments and leave early to avoid the need of rushing and speeding.

  • For drivers who are diagnosed with Diabetes, do not drive if your blood glucose is less than 4.0 mmol/L or you feel hypoglycaemic

If driving is unavoidable, only drive 45 minutes after your blood glucose has returned to normal and always keep energy snack in the car even when you are fasting.

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