Date Published: June 4, 2019
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Author(s): Hsen Hsouna, Raouf Abdessalem, Omar Boukhris, Khaled Trabelsi, Lassaad Chtourou, Nabil Tahri, Florian A. Engel, Roy J. Shephard, Hamdi Chtourou, Moacir Marocolo.
To assess changes in short-term maximal performance, alertness, dietary intake, sleep pattern and mood states of physically active young men before (BR), during and after Ramadan observance.
Twelve physically-active men (age: 21.9±2.4yrs, height:1.77±0.09m, body-mass: 72.6±7.8kg, exercising: ≥3h/week) performed the 5-jump and the digit-cancellation (alertness) tests 15-days BR, on the first (FR) and last 10-days of Ramadan (ER) and 10-days (AR10) and 20-days (AR20) after Ramadan. During each period, sleep pattern (Pittsburgh-Sleep-Quality-Index (PSQI)), mood states (Profile-of-Mood-States (POMS)) and dietary intake were recorded.
No significant changes in the 5-jump, digit-cancellation test and POMS parameters appeared during and after Ramadan relative to BR. However, the PSQI total score was lower during FR compared to AR10 (p<0.001). Specifically, the subjective sleep quality was lower (i) at BR compared to FR (p<0.05), AR10 (p<0.01) and AR20 (p<0.01) and (ii) at ER and AR20 compared to FR (p<0.05). The sleep duration (i) increased at FR (p<0.05) and (ii) decreased at AR10 (p<0.01) and AR20 (p<0.05) compared to BR. Sleep disturbances were significantly greater (i) at BR compared to FR (p<0.01), ER (p<0.01), AR10 (p<0.05) and AR20 (p<0.05) and (ii) at AR10 and AR20 compared to FR and ER (p<0.05). In terms of diet, the fractional contribution of carbohydrate (%) was lower and the dietary fat content (g) was higher during ER than AR10 and AR20 (p<0.05). Further, the dietary protein (in %) was significantly lower during FR compared to BR (p<0.01), ER (p<0.05), AR10 (p<0.05) and AR20 (p<0.05). Ramadan had no-adverse effects on the 5-jump performance, alertness, or mood states in physically active young men. However, the sleep duration was shorter and the sleep quality was improved following compared to during Ramadan. The fractional intake of fat also increased at the expense of carbohydrate during Ramadan, and the protein intake was lower at the beginning of Ramadan than before, at the end of and after Ramadan.
Ramadan is a month during which healthy adult and pubescent Muslims must abstain from all types of liquid and nutrient intake from sunrise to sunset. Based on the detection of the crescent moon, the length of the month is either 29 or 30 days. Each year, Ramadan progresses forward 11 days, according to the Gregorian calendar, and it can therefore occur in either summer or winter seasons. Every day before dawn, observers take a pre-fast meal called «Sahour» and then begin fasting until the evening meal of “Iftar”. Food and drink can be consumed between the Iftar and the Sahour meals [1,2].
The main conclusion from the present study is that in a group of young men performing the moderate volume of regular physical activity commonly recommended for maintenance of good health (>3 h/week) , the average stride length during the 5-jump test, alertness and self-reported mood state did not change during and following the intermittent fasting of Ramadan observance.
In conclusion, Ramadan fasting did not affect the 5-jump performance, alertness or mood state of young men performing the moderate volumes of physical activity suggested in public health recommendations. However, their sleep duration was shortened and the sleep quality improved following compared to during Ramadan. The fractional intake of fat also increased at the expense of carbohydrate during Ramadan, and the protein intake was lower at the beginning of Ramadan compared to BR, at ER and following Ramadan. Active individuals who are observing Ramadan are well advised to maintain their normal diet and sleep patterns as far as possible in order to avoid any deteriorations of physical performance or behavior during and after Ramadan observance, but with such precautions, it seems that disturbances of function can be minimal.