There Are 7 Different Types Of Rest And You’re Probably Not Getting Enough Of Any Of Them

How To Rest More


A 2019 survey found that the average American gets less than six hours of sleep a night, down 47 minutes from the previous year. One can only imagine what a 2020 sleep survey will look like thanks to a pandemic, job loss, and an insane Presidential Election.

People don’t get enough sleep, but maybe just as important, people don’t get enough rest.

What’s the difference? Plenty.

Sleep is the actual act of being asleep. Rest, as explained in this TED Ideas article, is calming the body and mind.

We go through life thinking we’ve rested because we have gotten enough sleep — but in reality we are missing out on the other types of rest we desperately need.

The result is a culture of high-achieving, high-producing, chronically tired and chronically burned-out individuals.

We’re suffering from a rest deficit because we don’t understand the true power of rest.

Sleep is vital but getting enough rest during the day, week, month, and year could help lower stress levels, help you feel recharged, and possibly lead to longer and better sleep.

Here are the different types of rest and how to achieve each.

  • Passive or active physical rest – sleeping and napping count as passive rest, while active physical rest includes getting a massage, doing yoga, meditating, or just stretching in a quiet area.
  • Mental rest –  mental rest is important for people putting in long hours at a desk or in front of a computer. Every 20 minutes or so, actively stand up and do something else, non-work related.
  • Sensory rest – feel like you’re attached to a screen? You’re obviously not alone. Set aside time to unplug from all devices, especially after dinner and before bed.
  • Creative rest – Explains TED, “This type of rest is significant for anyone who must solve problems or brainstorm new ideas.” The article suggests clearing the mind by wandering in nature or “turn your workspace into a place of inspiration.” I personally suggest running.
  • Emotional rest – Other humans – especially family and friends – can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Emotional rest includes being able to say, “Hey, I’m not doing OK,” and also not trying to please everyone in your life.
  • Social rest – “Differentiate between those relationships that revive us from those relationships that exhaust us.” Dump the relationships that are constantly exhausting.
  • And finally, spiritual rest is “the ability to connect beyond the physical and mental and feel a deep sense of belonging, love, acceptance, and purpose.” Engage in something greater than yourself.

Attempt to incorporate as many of these “rests” into your daily life as possible. You’ll definitely feel better and might sleep easier at night.

[via TED Ideas]