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Not Just Typical 8 Hours Sleep, Here Are 7 Kinds Of Rest Every Person Needs

Sleep and rest are two distinct things and these shouldn't be confused with each other

Written by: Shubhangi ShahPublished at: Nov 20,2021
Updated at: Nov 20,2021

Throughout the week, you toil hard -- meeting those office deadlines, while completing the household chores, and squeezing some socialising in between, only if you get yourself any time at all. You are completely exhausted by the middle of the week and when Friday finally approaches, you are fully resolved to make up for all that rest in the weekend that you missed out on throughout the week. You sleep well, if not excessively, binge-watch movies and shows, spend most of the day as, what is called, a couch potato, but on Sunday evening, you are equally anxious if not more. On Monday morning, far from being rejuvenated and refreshed, you are as exhausted as you were, waiting for the week to get over and the cycle continues. If this sounds like you, the issue might be that you are not getting enough rest. Yes, rest and not sleep, and there are 7 kinds of it, according to Saundra Dalton-Smith, who is an internal medicine physician and the author of the book ‘Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Renew Your Sanity’.

In a post in TED Ideas, Smith argues that people often go through their lives thinking they have rested enough because they have gotten enough sleep, but in reality “we are missing out on the other types of rest we desperately need.” According to her, sleep and rest are two distinct things, and “many of us incorrectly confuse the two.” The result: we have got ourselves a culture of “high-achieving, high-producing, chronically tired and chronically burned-out individuals,” Smith writes, and adds that we are suffering from what is called a “rest-deficit”, and this is because “we don’t understand the true power of rest.” So, what are the seven kinds of rest we need to lead a qualitative life?

7 Kinds Of Rest

(Photo Credit: Freepik)

Here are the seven kinds of rest all of us, according to Smith.

1# Physical Rest

This is the first kind of rest we need.

  • It can be both passive and active.
  • Passive physical rest is what we generally associate rest with, i.e. sleeping and napping.
  • However, physical rest can also have a restorative nature, which is the active kind. This includes activities such as yoga, meditation, stretching, and massage, which boosts blood circulation, increases flexibility, and rejuvenates the body.

2# Mental Rest

To understand mental rest, you must first know what mental rest deficit is. In her post in Ted Ideas, Smith painted a picture of what mental rest deficit looks like. You might have come across a person who starts his/her work by gulping a cupful of caffeine, but is irritated, forgetful, and finds it hard to concentrate. At night, he/she finds it difficult to unwind and relax, and thoughts run wild in the head. These are the traits of mental health deficit. However, to manage it, you do not have to quit your job, says Smith, there are simple things that you can do:

  • Throughout your workday, take small breaks. This will give you the time to slow down and relax. 
  • As you find it difficult to unwind for sleep, you can keep a notepad at your bedside and write your thoughts that are bothering you.

3# Sensory Rest

(Photo Credit: Freepik)

This kind of rest is needed due to overstimulation that can happen due to excessive screen time, constant background noises, and conversations. You can get sensory rest by:

  • Shutting your eyes for just two minutes in the middle of the day.
  • Intentionally switching off the internet and unplugging your gadgets at the end of the day.
Also read: Know 5 Stages Of Sleep Deprivation And Its Affect On Your Health

4# Creative Rest

Writer’s block, or a similar situation depending on your situation, can be irritating and scary at the same time. A thing or activity that got you all passionate at one time doesn’t excite you anymore. The reason might be you need rest, creative rest to be specific, and it is easier than you think.

  • Nature has inspired poets, artists, and writers since the fall of time. Even if you do not fall in any of these categories, try to reconnect with nature. And for that, you don’t have to go on a hiking trip, just go to the nearby park or even your backyard, and get yourself that much-needed creative rest.
  • Appreciating art is another way. To let your creative juices flow, you need to have things around you that inspire you. Thus, decorate your workstation with pictures or pieces of art that do just that.

5# Emotional Rest

(Photo Credit: Freepik)

The world we live in often requires us to put on a garb of “I’m OK,” when in reality you are feeling the opposite. If you feel emotionally drained, and unmotivated, emotional rest is what you need, and this one might require a little more effort.

  • Next time when someone asks you the standard “how are you,” instead of replying with the same standard “I’m alright,” try to communicate what you feel. 
  • Also, try to openly communicate your true feelings instead of always indulging in people-pleasing.
Also read: A Good Night's Sleep Is The Key To Healthy & Glowing Skin, Expert Explains

6# Social Rest

At times, people find it difficult to differentiate between people who add value to their life from those who suck the energy out of them. The result: an emotionally-drained individual in need of social rest. And for that, you do not have to do much. Just surround yourself with people who radiate positivity and are supportive. Who knew, socialising was the way to get social rest!

7# Spiritual Rest

This is the final kind of rest one needs. It means rising above the self, the physical and mental form, and connecting with a much deeper and yet elevated sense. And there are several ways to do that.

  • It can be as simple as reciting a prayer.
  • Or, meditating
  • Or, get involved in social work

So, being well-slept doesn’t mean being well-rested. And for a qualitative and fulfilling life, you need an ample amount of rest, all seven kinds. And for that, you don’t need to do anything life-altering, like going on a sabbatical. There are simple things you can slip into your daily routine to get yourself the rest you need. 

Photo Credit: Freepik


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