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Seven tips for studying during Ramadan

If you have exams and essay deadlines during Ramadan, you might be worried that studying while fasting will affect your performance. Don’t panic – we have some handy tips to help you adapt and re-structure your routine so you can study and fast successfully

1) Change your diet and routine BEFORE Ramadan starts

Effective preparation is the key to studying during Ramadan – you need to make changes before the holy month starts. Begin by reducing what you eat between dawn and sunset so that your body gradually adjusts to fasting. Cut down on tea, coffee, and sugar too, as you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as tiredness, anxiety, irritability, and poor concentration. These symptoms can last for over a week, affecting your ability to study while fasting, so it’s better to work through them before Ramadan starts. Finally, do a practice fast, so you can identify the times of day when you feel most alert and most tired. This will help you to plan your studies more effectively

2) Stay cool and conserve your energy levels

Warm weather increases the risk of mild dehydration, leading to headaches and tiredness. So chose cool, shaded areas to study in. Taking a cool bath will also help to bring your body temperature down. Avoid excessive physical activity, social events, and busy areas as these will sap your energy, making it harder for you to study while fasting. If possible, take a nap a couple of hours before sunset when your energy levels are at their lowest ebb.

3) Study when your energy levels are at their highest

Your energy levels will be highest after you eat and sleep, so these are the best times to study during Ramadan. Set a study plan that fits with your life. If you don’t have work or college in the day, you might find it easier to begin studying after Iftar and work through the night, maybe doing a short session after Suhoor before you go to sleep. If your responsibilities mean that you can’t stay up all night, you can still study after Iftar before going to sleep. You can then work a little when you wake up, and study after Suhoor until you need to leave the house. Getting your study time in early means that you can rest guilt-free later in the day when you start to feel tired.

4) Avoid temptations and distractions

Avoid studying or arranging to meet people in crowded places and settings that serve food. A group revision session in a crowded café won’t be a productive way to study during Ramadan. If you do have an unavoidable study or social commitment, try and pick a location that has as few distractions as possible.

5) Study for short periods and take regular breaks

Split your study into 20 minute periods, taking a short break in between each one. This is the most productive way to study even when you aren’t fasting. You could use your breaks to read, relax or complete some other jobs on your to-do list.

6) Set a study plan and stick to it

Set out a work plan for studying during Ramadan, so that you can work in an organised, efficient way and achieve your study goals. Complete any written work first, then do your reading tasks, as reading requires more concentration.

7) Eat and drink sensibly

During Iftar and Suhoor, drink plenty of plain water and eat fluid-rich foods such as soups, fruit and vegetables so you start the following day well-hydrated. Avoid caffeine and salt – these will make you more dehydrated. Choose nutritious foods that are easy to digest, and DON’T OVEREAT. It may be tempting to stuff yourself when you feel hungry, but this is the most counter-productive thing you can do. Over-eating will send you into a “food coma” – a state of extreme drowsiness. In fact, studying while fasting is easier than studying when you are too full.

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