Getting 8 hours sleep a night but not waking up feeling rested? You’re not alone!
Here’s the reason for it (drum roll…). It turns out that sleep and rest are not the same thing at all!
Physician, Researcher, and Author Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, sheds light on the topic in her book Sacred Rest, and her 10 min Ted talk ‘The real reason why we are tired and what to do about it’. The common misconception about rest is outlined in these two quotes from Dalton Smith’s work:
“Most people, when they think about rest, they have a very one-sided approach—they lounge around, don’t do anything, and think that’s what rest is.. we try it, and then when we’re still rest-deprived we think it doesn’t work”. (Shine)
“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”. (Ted Ideas)
Dalton-Smith advocates that rest equals restoration, and one way of looking at it is to reflect on these 6 areas of your life:
- Physical rest. This can be passive or active. Passive physical rest includes napping and sleeping. Active physical rest occurs in activities such as yoga and massage therapy, which improve the body’s flexibility and circulation.
- Mental rest. Mental rest deficits occur when we grab a large latte in the morning and are on the go all day. A solution is to slow down and schedule a short break to just ‘be’ every two hours. Perhaps doing some stretches, taking a walk around the block or watering the indoor plants. This supports your mind to better switch off when lying down to sleep, as it’s less likely to be full of thoughts from internal and external conversations during the day.
- Sensory rest. Bright lights, computer screens, background noise and multiple conversations cause our senses to feel overwhelmed. Intentional moments during the day can help with this. Firstly, you can simply close your eyes for a minute in the middle of the day (perhaps placing the palms of your hands over your eyes). And secondly, why not buy an old school alarm clock and and pop your phone in another room before bed?
- Creative rest. Allowing yourself to take in the beauty of nature, even if it’s at a local park or in your back garden provides you with creative rest. Creative rest reawakens the wonder and awe inside us all. You can also decorate your home work space, and other rooms where you spend much of your time with works of art and photography for inspiration. Creative rest helps us stay motivated and innovative.
- Emotional rest. Empaths and introverts (you know who you are!) require emotional rest, and some time to themselves.
- Spiritual rest. Connecting to something beyond yourself – be it being present in nature, meditation, community or prayer (if you have a belief system), provides a connection beyond our individual self to the collective, giving us more of a deep sense of belonging, love and purpose.
Deep(!) Sleep well.
The Stable Team 🙂