“Ramadan fasting has positive effect on concentration”

Summary

Researchers at the University of Leuven have found that fasting during Ramadan can actually improve the ability to concentrate among healthy people

No negative impacts

The fact that Muslims don’t eat or drink between sunrise and sunset during Ramadan doesn’t have a negative influence on their health, according to research at the University of Leuven. On the contrary, the researchers found positive effects.

A team led by professor Lode Godderis followed up the condition of 20 healthy people who participated in Ramadan in Belgium. The researchers questioned them on their sleeping and eating habits and measured their tiredness during the day. They also analysed their reaction speed, concentration, visual processing speed, short-term memory and hand-eye co-ordination.

While the amount of sleep didn’t change in the first half of Ramadan, the participants slept on average 32 minutes per night less during the second half. This reduction in sleep time slightly increases the subjective feeling of sleepiness, but globally speaking doesn’t have any negative effect on attention and concentration. In relation to short-term memory and hand-eye co-ordination, the researchers found a small additional positive effect. The researchers even discovered a clear increase in the ability to concentrate.

“On the basis of the current available data, we can conclude that there is no significant impact of Ramadan on the health of healthy participants in Belgium,” Godderis said in a press release. “However, we still stress the importance of sleeping, eating and drinking sufficiently between sunset and sunrise.”

Photo: Balavenise/Wikimedia Commons