Fasting during Ramadan carries a high risk of dehydration as food and drink are limited to before sunrise and after sunset. Furthermore, as fasting individuals are encouraged to wake up very early to have their Suhoor (or pre-dawn meal), sleep deprivation and dehydration can lead to headaches.
Firstly, Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief. It is known as being one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Common greetings during Ramadan are “Ramadan Mubarak” or “Ramadan Kareem”, which wish the recipient a blessed or generous Ramadan.
During the time of Ramadan, Muslim and Islamic people refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations. However, if these are followed then they are at risk of suffering from dehydration.
There are many different ways to stay hydrated during this time and some are the following:
Stay hydrated: Make sure you hydrate properly at the end of the fast at night – it is recommended that you drink at least eight glasses of water a day, if you require additional hydration, you can combine water with oral re-hydration salts.
Consume foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in fibre and contain a lot of liquid, which will help to re-hydrate you especially in warm countries such as Malaysia
Make sure you take nice cold showers, staying out of the sunlight and wear loose clothes that can help you stay cool throughout the summer.
Pick an appropriate time to exercise as this can very quickly affect your hydration levels, so to minimise this, such as 2 hrs after Iftar, and try to maintain your hydration levels.
Look after yourself and others: Fasting can be challenging, especially in Malaysia, if you have a medical condition, then you should consult with a medical professional if you permitt to fast. There are exemptions to fasting for the medically infirm, pregnant and breastfeeding women and travelers.
When someone’s optimum hydration levels are not maintained, such as after fasting, water alone is not always the best way to hydrate. This is because optimum hydration involves electrolytes and salts, and our bodies need to replenish these to absorb water effectively, therefore it is best to hydrate with water that is mixed with oral rehydration salts that contain glucose, sodium and electrolytes.