The effect of intermittent fasting during Ramadan on sleep, sleepiness, cognitive function, and circadian rhythm

  • Shaden O. Qasrawi
  • Seithikurippu R. Pandi-Perumal
  • Ahmed S. BaHammam
Sleep Breathing Physiology and Disorders • Review

DOI: 10.1007/s11325-017-1473-x

Cite this article as:
Qasrawi, S.O., Pandi-Perumal, S.R. & BaHammam, A.S. Sleep Breath (2017). doi:10.1007/s11325-017-1473-x

Abstract

Purpose

Studies have shown that experimental fasting can affect cognitive function, sleep, and wakefulness patterns. However, the effects of experimental fasting cannot be generalized to fasting during Ramadan due to its unique characteristics. Therefore, there has been increased interest in studying the effects of fasting during Ramadan on sleep patterns, daytime sleepiness, cognitive function, sleep architecture, and circadian rhythm.

Method

In this review, we critically discuss the current research findings in those areas during the month of Ramadan.

Results

Available data that controlled for sleep/wake schedule, sleep duration, light exposure, and energy expenditure do not support the notion that Ramadan intermittent fasting increases daytime sleepiness and alters cognitive function. Additionally, recent well-designed studies showed no effect of fasting on circadian rhythms. However, in non-constrained environments that do not control for lifestyle changes, studies have demonstrated sudden and significant delays in bedtime and wake time.

Conclusions

Studies that controlled for environmental factors and sleep/wake schedule reported no significant disturbances in sleep architecture. Nevertheless, several studies have consistently reported that the main change in sleep architecture during fasting is a reduction in the proportion of REM sleep.

Keywords

Chronotype Sleep architecture Alertness Food Light Caloric intake Cognitive function 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
The work was funded by the Strategic Technologies Program of the National Plan for Sciences and Technology and Innovation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • 08-MED511-02

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shaden O. Qasrawi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Seithikurippu R. Pandi-Perumal
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ahmed S. BaHammam
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University Sleep Disorders Center, College of MedicineKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Strategic Technologies Program of the National Plan for Sciences and Technology and InnovationRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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