Do you rest well?
Is it your norm to feel refreshed, full of energy, and raring to go? (Just like the Energizer Bunny)
Or do you sometimes (or often) struggle to find the mojo needed to plow through your day?
If you fall into the latter category, you're not alone. In large part, we, modern humans, have forgotten how to embrace relaxation. Life is always “on.” Between running from here to there and ticking off the endless items on our to-do list, we forget to take restful breaks.
But we're meant to be human beings, not human doings. Working hard at the expense of quality rest will sooner or later take its toll on our health. Sometimes we can pretend we're not affected; sometimes, the toll is annoying but not enough to make us change course, and sometimes it can destroy the quality of our life.
We've all felt the effects of lack of rest on our bodies. It feels like stress because it is. You might know it in your body as headaches, insomnia, digestive issues, weight gain, or the development of an illness. You may experience it in your mind as mood swings, feelings of nervousness, irritation, poor learning, a faltering memory, or mental illness.
And unfortunately, when we’re under pressure — when we most need a chilled body and mind — it can be harder to relax.
But rest isn’t achieved only during your waking hours. Sleep is key, too. That’s why it’s important to consider how well you slumber…
Do you climb into bed and sleep soundly until you feel refreshed?
Or do you settle late and rise early because, well, life! There's too much to do, and sleep isn't a priority.
Maybe you're like more than one in three American adults who sleep for seven hours or less every 24 hours.
Unrestful sleep is as common as it is damaging.
The research shows what we intuitively know: unrelenting stress and poor sleep are harmful. But before we dive into the importance of rest, let’s attempt to define the term meaningfully.
What is rest?
Seems obvious, right? It’s rest and relaxation!
But one person’s rest can be another’s stress. So as we’re on the same page, let’s look at two definitions.
The authors of the article, Rest: a qualitative exploration of the phenomenon, summarized rest as “interrupting physical and mental activity resulting in a relaxed state.”
The study, EEG Characterization of Psycho-Physiological Rest and Relaxation, put it this way:
The relaxation response is an integrated body reaction, which has been found to have such benefits as increased mental and physical health and improved ability to deal with tension and stress.
Yes, it’s a unified, full-bodied reduction in activity in a way that provides health benefits. Including the ability to better cope with stress. Rest provides balance and an antidote to life’s chaos and pace.
The importance of rest
The importance of rest, then, becomes obvious.
Rest helps to soothe stress. This aids healing and repair, increases disease resistance, improves mood and cognitive function, and boosts quality of life.
Prioritizing rest and relaxation is a healthy habit you should cultivate, not a luxury.
9 ways to embrace relaxation
Here are our top 9 ways to incorporate rest into your everyday life.
1. Include micro-break activities
Do you enjoy mini-breaks throughout your day? Little periods of time where you relax and engage in some social activity?
You should. This is a simple, effective way to reduce negativity at the end of a workday.
2. Listen to music
Do you have a fav band or artist? Have you noticed their songs can take you away from your problems?
Listening to music has been shown to boost relaxation, even during dental care stress. One study investigated the impact of listening to music while having an impacted tooth removed. Ouch! The authors found melodic notes soothed and suppressed the sympathetic nerves' activity, a part of our stress system. Understandably, this decreased feelings of anxiousness.
And on an important side note, music has also been shown to improve subjective sleep quality.
3. Read a good book
A good book will funnel your attention and bring you into the moment, helping to distract you from your worries and psychologically and physically decompress. Plus, it’s an enjoyable way to spend time!
4. Take an exercise class or enjoy a walk
Exercise is a wonderful way to soothe stress and boost relaxation. The review article, Effects of exercise on anxiety, depression and mood, suggested the benefits of movement may be due to its impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (the HPA-axis, or the “stress” system) and by reducing reactivity to stress.
What exercise should you opt for?
Exercise that involves rhythmic, aerobic activity of the large muscle groups. Cycling, swimming, and walking are ideal choices. Aim for low to moderate intensity, 15 to 30-minute sessions three or more times per week.
5. Try a FLOAT
Have you heard about FLOATing? Where you lay down in a sensory deprivation bath that is so saturated with salt that you literally float?
If not, let me introduce you!
One study found that this therapy improved mood and even lowered perceived muscle soreness in elite athletes. And the benefits increased when people fell asleep during their FLOAT. Which brings us to naps…
6. Take a nap
For years, napping has had a bad reputation. It was believed that daytime sleep would ruin your nighttime slumber. However, as we have gained better scientific understanding, opinions have changed.
Now, we see the benefits of a midday nap. This restful practice can improve memory and alertness, increase performance, and regain normalcy after a lost night's sleep.
There’s a good chance that much of your life is engaged with technology and staring at a screen. This incessant stimulation may be stressful.
Choosing to unplug is as simple and hard as avoiding technology for periods of time. Turn your tablet off, if you charge your phone overnight, put it in another room, switch off the television and go for a walk. Enjoy nature. Catch up with loved ones while being tech-free.
Allow yourself time to unplug and unwind.
8. Close your eyes
It’s easy to become overwhelmed. But there may be a rapid way to calm stress temporarily. To take a brief rest (or several) throughout the day.
Close your eyes.
This action has been shown to reduce cognitive load; to let your frazzled brain rest.
9. Supplement with ThermoSleep
Without sufficient quality sleep, it’s impossible to be and feel well rested. The two are inseparable. But what if you struggle to settle and slumber?
ThermoSleep may help.
This sleep aid is formulated with evidence-based ingredients like Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), Ashwagandha, 5-HTP, passionflower, and magnesium and designed to help you relax, rest, and sleep well.
(As a bonus, ThermoSleep is also a fat-loss aid!)
As our customer, Carolina F, said, “Finally sleeping! I was skeptical at first, but this truly has helped me fall asleep and stay in a deep sleep. I feel rested when I get up. I recommend it!”
The restful takeawayRest is undervalued and under-appreciated. Without time out, we struggle to find balance in life. This can take its toll on our physical and psychological well-being.
But with the right focus – by implementing steps to encourage relaxation – it’s easy to increase the quality and quantity of our rest.
And I guarantee you'll feel better—and healthier—once you’ve made the switch.