Rest, the most ignored and yet a crucial factor of good health

Why do we spend increasingly less time resting?

I believe in the last few decades we have undervalued rest. We sleep less and less. We steal hours of our sleep to do all sorts of activities. We work more hours and when we return home, we crave for distraction, to fill our time with something else besides attending to our obligations. On the other hand, an excess of stimulation keeps us engaged in other activities until late in the evening. There is an increasing variety of streaming content, TV series, podcasts, that keep us awake and tuned in.

rest to a better health

We used to do these activities on the couch in front of the TV until we were tired and decided to go to sleep. But now, the bedroom is not only a place to sleep. Many of us will take our tablet to bed with us so we can spend more hours being entertained, which postpones the time to turn off the light and fall asleep.

The emphasis in recent decades on productivity has led us to strive to get so many things done in 24 hours that we often reduce our sleep and rest time. But rest is fundamental to cope with this fast-paced life, and coffee is not a substitute for sleep.

How can you tell if you are getting quality sleep?

If you wake up with low energy in the mornings or during the day find it hard to get everything done, perhaps you are not getting a sufficient amount of nightly rest. Are you monitoring your sleep? Do you know how many sleep hours you need?.

A simple activity wristband allowed me to discover that I was sleeping far fewer hours than expected. And it also helped me make changes to increase my hours of sleep, and to adjust my activity on those days when I wasn’t able to get the rest I needed.

Rest to improve our health

Rest, a key factor for your health


Take a few moments to answer these questions:

  • How many hours do you sleep each day?
  • Do you ever feel sleep-deprived ?
  • What is your sleeping like? Do you usually wake up in the middle of the night ? If you do, can you fall back to sleep easily?
  • Do any external elements prevent you from getting quality sleep such as light or noise? Is your bed comfortable enough for you?
  • Please, think how to increase the hours of sleep you get each day? What activities may be robbing you of sleep? How many exciting drinks do you have per day?
  • Have you noticed any changes in your food intake when you are sleep-deprived? Fatigue is one of the triggers of emotional eating. So those days you would probably crave for unhealthy snacks.

Do you have the possibility to rest during the day for even a few minutes? Whether it’s a short 20-minute nap or a few moments to close your eyes and watch your breathing, it can help you calm down, improve your decision making, or better cope with a difficult moment at work.

One of the basic stress management tools is rest. And it can be done in many different ways: Resting is not just about getting a good night’s sleep. It is also finding moments during the weekend to take a nap. It is spending a Sunday afternoon on the couch with a book or listening to music without doing anything else. It is to slow down daily after a certain time to prepare for bedtime. It is lighting some scented candles and playing music in the background. It is taking a walk and breathing fresh air.

More about the benefits or a rest routine

After reading all this, do you feel the need to improve your rest? A health coach can help you investigate how being sleep-deprived might be affecting your health and how to correct that imbalance. Below I leave you some links to different articles to delve a bit more into this topic.

. About healthy sleep

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3902880/

. About the processes triggered in the body during sleep

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/what-happens-when-you-sleep

. About the changes in sleep at different stages of life

https://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/science/variations/changes-in-sleep-with-age

. Or this one on caffeine and its effects.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271707#caffeine-is-a-natural-stimulant

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