We live in a 24/7, on-demand world. It doesn’t matter where we are, or what time of day it is, on some level every one of us spends the majority of our time locked and loaded. Always ready to answer that call or respond to that text. Always chasing that deadline or squeezing in an extra hour of work. If we aren’t scrolling and typing, we’re preparing and commuting. Working hard and playing even harder at the expense of one of the most essential human needs of all – rest.
If it keeps feeling tougher and tougher to roll out of bed every morning and take on the day, chances are you aren’t getting enough rest. Getting good rest, especially by way of sleep, is an indispensable part of human physiology. The reason behind this is straightforward. If our bodily systems function in a constant cycle of activity, fatigue sets in and increases the likelihood of breakdown and disorders. For instance, a fatigued immune system can’t fight against infection. Fatigued joints and muscles can’t support physical exertion. Expecting to thrive while neglecting rest is tantamount to driving a car at full-speed with the check-engine light on. Ignoring the signs only spells doom. If you need some help figuring out whether or not you’re getting enough rest, here are a few quick questions to ask yourself:
- Did I Spend any Downtime with My Friends and Loved Ones Today?
There’s an ancient Turkish proverb that puts it quite succinctly, “no road is long with good company.” Spending quality time with people who accept and love you is one of the most therapeutic ways to decompress in life. This is because socializing creates conversation, and conversation can either give people the opportunity to vent, or to focus on more pleasant elements of life without fixation on stress.
- Did I Sleep Late Yesterday?
If the answer to this question is ever a “Yes,” don’t let another day go by without making up for any lost sleep. Functioning on a sleep-deficit not only accelerates fatigue, it reduces alertness and concentration. Even though it may feel counterintuitive, make an effort to fight the urges you may have to sacrifice sleep for the sake of work or entertainment. A good night’s sleep helps the body recuperate from daily trauma which can build up to serious health issues in the absence of consistent quality sleep.
- How heavy was My Supper?
One of the most important components of good health is a balanced diet. People typically assume this means consuming a variety of nutrients. However, portion-control also plays an important role when it comes to health and rest. One unfortunate outcome of living on a busy schedule is consumption of skewed portions throughout the day. People have developed a habit of eating little to no food during the day, then binging on huge meals during their free time at night. Sleeping with a heavy stomach actually disrupts digestion thereby causing restless sleep.
- What’s the Last Thing I Thought About?
As our bodies wind down towards the end of a long day, it’s equally important to ensure that our minds relax as well. People like to assume that watching TV or catching up on social media helps us unwind, but the truth is that such leisure activities stimulate our minds rather than distract them. A brief moment to meditate in silence without any visual interruptions helps prepare the entire body for sound sleep. Rest should be treated as an immersive experience that includes the mind as well, not just our physical bodies.
Good rest isn’t just about getting sleep. It’s about spending time disengaged from activities and responsibilities that typically demand our full concentration and effort. Allowing oneself to permanently exist in a state of activity and contemplation doesn’t just produce a physical drain, it imposes an unseen emotional toll that is degenerative over time. The reason why sleep and relaxation often feel good is because they actually are good for the body. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful health and wellness advice. Remember to spread the word by sharing this post.