The observance of Ramadan involves daily fasting from sunrise to sunset and often leads to a delay in bedtime, decrease in total sleep time, and reduction in sleep quality. Such changes in athletes may influence the preference for morning versus evening physical activity (e.g. chronotype) but have not been previously evaluated.

To determine the influence of Ramadan on subjective sleep quality and chronotype in Qatar football players.

Thirty-five football players (18–35 years) from Qatar Stars League were queried before and during Ramadan on their usual sleep habits and chronotype using standardized sleep questionnaires and a modified version of the Athlete's Morningness-Eveningness Scale.

The median habitual bedtime before Ramadan (12:00 am) was delayed during Ramadan (4:00 am) however habitual wake times were skewed such that the total sleep time remained unchanged; 8–8.5 hours on average before and during Ramadan, respectively (p>0.05). The level of daytime sleepiness before and during Ramadan was within normal range and remained unchanged (p>0.05), however, symptoms of insomnia increased (p<0.01); during Ramadan the athletes reported more problems waking too early and greater interference with daily functioning (e.g. daytime fatigue, concentration, mood). There was little difference between reports of ‘morning-type’ versus ‘evening-type’; for example ‘evening type’ before Ramadan (59%) was similar during Ramadan (56%). The time preference for training is shown in Figure 1 ; before Ramadan 34% of athletes preferred training between 3–5pm whereas during Ramadan 51% of athletes preferred training between 7–9pm; though statistical significance was not met (p>0.05).

Ramadan negatively influences subjective sleep quality and perceived daytime functioning in Qatari athletes. Despite only modest changes in chronotype, the time preference for training was largely delayed during Ramadan and may influence sports performance. Therefore, sleep and chronotype are important factors to consider when planning sports training during Ramadan.


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