Can’t study during Ramadan? Have a big exam coming up? Not sure how to juggle things into the mere 24 hours we get in a day? What you really need is a Ramadan study schedule to help get you on track and make the most of what you’ve got! Which isn’t a lot, admittedly… but we’ll see what we can do.
When it comes to Ramadan, every hour is important for planning. It’s helpful to sit down with a piece of paper and play around with your schedule. Ever played Suduko? Trying to juggle all the numbers and settling them down in their place is exactly what it’s going to be like. So don’t worry if the numbers don’t line up right away. It’s going to take a couple of tries to get the perfect fit down and that is just the beginning.
You can’t make a schedule out of thin air though. You’re going to need a backbone to build the skeleton, a blueprint to build the foundation. It all depends on what your priorities are and what you can’t change at all. For some people, it could be the hours spent at school or work. You can’t change the timings, even though you really wish you had an extra hour in the morning and would’ve pushed school to start at 9 am instead of 8 am, but you don’t have that power, so you’re going to have to build the blueprint around that hurdle.
Here are a couple of things that you can use as your priorities. These are all very important and should be given an adequate amount of time. However, it is always a good idea to include buffer time as we can’t always be productive 24 hours a day.
Ramadan is a physically exhausting time of the year and it’s important not to starve our bodies of rest more than required. While we hold back food and drink, we should let our bodies rest properly when it comes to sleep. This depends on how much sleep is sufficient for you. Most people try to shoot for 8 hours of sleep a day, while others function just fine on 6 hours of sleep. Either way, sleep is important as it rests not only your mind but also your body as it conserves energy. There are two different techniques you can use when it comes to getting the sleep you need.
In case you don’t know, sleep occurs in cycles. These cycles last for about 90 minutes, or 1.5 hours. This means that you can plan out naps and sleep sessions in multiples of 1.5, for example, 3 hours or 4 and a half hours or 6 hours. Utilizing the physiology of sleep will help you make the most of sleep.
If you don’t have time to spare 1.5 hours, let alone multiples of it, then power naps might be a better use of your constrained time. Power naps are basically the result of interruptions in a regular sleep cycle before the “deep sleep” part of the cycle starts. This means you have a window of about 15 to 30 minutes to sleep before going off to the deep end. It’s important that you don’t get into the deep sleep cycle if you don’t have the time for it because waking up from deep sleep can be counterproductive.
Sleep in multiples of 1.5 hours or take power naps of 15-30 minutes.
You can’t play around with the hours of the day dedicated to school and work. Chunking off these hours in your schedule creates a formidable backbone to work with. I’ll be using the example of my own school to help explain.
My school hours are from 8am to 3pm (roughly). This means getting up at around 7am and getting back home around 4pm. That’s 1/3rd of the day spent at school! If you’re super efficient, you could make use of break times to add in a sleep routine (power naps of course!) to make the most of your time.
With school building the skeleton and sleep being adjusted into the other hours of the day, we now have to figure out the right time for studying. Most people require chunks of dedicated time to study and that’s also the way I like to study as well. It takes some time to get into the study mood after all! And once you’re in it, it’s not a good idea to break the rhythm either. So here are some time periods that can be utilized for studying:
Before And After Iftar
There are a couple of hours that you can use before and after Iftar. I don’t like studying in these hours though because they are very hectic! Before Iftar, I’m busy getting ready for Iftar itself. It’s also late afternoon and the end of the fast, so we’re pretty low on energy around that time. Instead of studying, I prefer taking a nap instead!
I also don’t like studying after Iftar due to Maghrib and eventually Taraweeh. Like I said before, studying requires a big chunk of time and the spare twenty to thirty minutes you get between all these other activities would probably be better utilized with power naps rather than study sessions.
Before And After Sehri
Oh boy, here’s where the good stuff begins. I personally believe that the main chunk of studying should be done either before or after Sehri. Not only do you get the entire empty house to yourself, but there are also no other obligations on you. You’re done for the day and can do whatever you want. It all depends on two main things: your preference when it comes to eating and studying and the amount of time you require.
The time before Sehri (typically from after Taraweeh till Sehri) is about 3 hours in my region. These three hours can be used to study along with snacks and you also won’t have a sleepy grumpy face when it’s time for Sehri. However, this only works if you have taken a nap in the evening (typically before Iftar) or are punctuating this long stretch of wakefulness with several power naps. Or even both.
“Allah made the early hours blessed for my Ummah.”(Ahmed)
The best golden time for studying is after Sehri. Even in Islam, the early hours of the morning are considered the most productive hours of the day. Studying from Sehri till sunrise and taking a nap before 7am (or whenever you need to go to work) is also a fantastic place to fit in hours of studying for the day.
I experimented around with my day during the first few fasts of Ramadan. I spent one night staying up till Sehri. It was alright- not too bad, but I feel like it wasn’t the schedule for me, since I don’t really snack during studying and hadn’t managed to find the hours to sleep either. Staying up after Sehri was better, but it wasn’t very compatible with school since I found myself unable to take a nap after studying. It varies from person to person! Fortunately for me, my summer break has started so now I don’t have to worry about school at all and can easily slide my study hours for after Sehri.
What’s your Ramadan schedule? How do you stay motivated to study during your fast? Would you rather study between Iftar and Sehri or study during the fast? Have a nice day!