While there's a lot to be excited about when it comes to the benefits of sleep, it turns out that it's not the only way to recharge our perpetually depleted batteries. We actually require seven different sorts of rest, according to Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith, a board-certified physician, work-life integration researcher, and author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity.
Here's how you can get the sleep you need and restore your body.
1. Physical Rest
Sleep is the most prevalent type of physical rest, so try going to bed 30 minutes sooner or skipping that HIIT session. Getting some physical rest can also mean taking deep breaths throughout the day or squeezing in a restorative yoga practice to stretch your body. Physical rest can be divided into two types, according to Dr. Dalton-Smith: passive and active.
Sleeping and napping are considered 'passive' kinds of physical rest, but gentle, restorative movements that promote circulation and flexibility, such as yoga, leisurely strolls, massages, and stretching, are considered 'active'.
2. Mental Rest
You might find you've been staring at the same page of a book for 10 minutes or that you've just typed an email that's hardly understandable. Perhaps you've noticed that your thoughts are becoming more negative and that you're critiquing everything you do. Turn off your screens and take a few moments to ground yourself the next time you need a mental break. You might start your day with a meditation or just repeating a relaxing mantra.
3. Social Rest
Socialising can be taxing, but balancing draining interactions with restorative ones can help restore equilibrium. Social relaxation could entail hooking up with an old buddy who intuitively understands your thoughts and feelings. Perhaps it's simply taking a night off from Zoom and FaceTime networking and reconnecting with yourself.
4. Creative Rest
You probably use your creativity more than you realise. Take a walk in the woods or read a good book to give yourself a rest. Surrounding yourself with inspiration can help refill your depleted resources while also relieving you of the need to create.
5. Emotional Rest
Consider how you may feel after a funeral, a breakup, and befuddled all at the same time. Offload your feelings to a willing listener to get some emotional relief, then keep talking to avoid future emotional excess. This could entail setting up regular treatment appointments or finding someone with whom you can be really honest.
6. Spiritual Rest
Feeling adrift and alone? You're probably in desperate need of spiritual rest. It could mean looking for a sense of purpose, something to ground you and give you some context. Meditation, prayer and community gatherings are a few ways to gain some spiritual rest.
7. Sensory Rest
Because of the prominence of screens, sensory depletion is one of the most common drainers, according to Dalton-Smith. Put away the gadgets and, if you're able, go outside for some fresh air to get some sensory rest. Before you go for the remote on your "off" nights, ask yourself if you really need to be staring at a screen. Consider going for a walk or reading a good book.