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Ramadan Decorations | © 	Guillaume Paumier/Wikimedia Commons
Ramadan Decorations | © Guillaume Paumier/Wikimedia Commons

How to Survive Ramadan When You're Hungry

Picture of Feride Yalav-Heckeroth
Updated: 9 May 2017

The month of Ramadan is a holy time for Muslims around the world, who fast from sunrise to sunset for the entire month. If you’re fasting it can sometimes be difficult to refrain from food and water for hours at a time, so we rounded up some of the best tips to get you through the fast more effectively.

Eat Correctly Before and After the Fast

To survive the fast you should prepare with the right kind of foods before and afterwards. Carbs such as whole grain bread, oatmeal, fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the best options because your body burns them at a steady rate, meaning you will have energy throughout the day. Try not to drink caffeine (coffee, soda, tea) as it dehydrates the body, and definitely avoid junk or refined foods due to their short energy spikes, which can leave you feeling lethargic.

Make sure to hydrate thoroughly before and after your fast, and avoid dehydrating foods with high sugar or salt content. Remember that the human body can survive without food for a long time, but not without water. You will probably want to stuff your face as soon as the sun goes down (or before it comes up), but remember that if your body gets used to very large meals it may become hungrier during the day, making fasting even more difficult. Try to eat a large meal before and after fasting without overeating.

Iftar at Home | © raasiel/Flickr

Iftar at Home | © raasiel/Flickr

Keep Yourself Busy

One of the best ways to get through your fast is to distract your mind from hunger, as this sensation can be quite overwhelming. You can distract yourself by doing light activities such as interacting with friends, doing chores that you’ve been avoiding, or reflecting on your spirituality and the reasons you’ve chosen to fast. Avoid exercising as this can put a heavy strain on your body and burn off muscle, as you won’t be able to refuel your body for a while after the workout.

Get Enough Sleep

Make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep per night as this helps your body regulate hormones (and thus appetite), which can make the daytime easier. You should also take naps during the day because lack of food can alter your alertness. A power-nap will help to strengthen focus and heighten your mood.

Ramadan decorations | © Guillaume Paumier/Wikimedia Commons

Other Tips

Avoid talking about food during the day because this may cause you to focus on your hunger and all the food you’d love to eat. Instead, stay positive and focus on the benefits of your fast and why you’re doing it. It’s also a good idea to avoid invitations to meals with friends who are not fasting, as watching other people eat may be torturous. Instead, try to spend time with people who are fasting, because having someone around who is going through the same experience will increase your motivation and prevent you from feeling alone.

Ramadan Prayer | © Zied Nsir/Wikimedia Commons