How often do you take a pause from life to rest, just for the sake of it? And, we mean really rest.
Sitting down for a few seconds between different phases of your daily routine sadly doesn’t count here (and not just because you’re on Facebook).
If you’re at a point where you’re saying to yourself, “I’m too busy to even think about rest” then, speaking from experience, you’re probably one of the people that needs it most.
The Sleep Health Foundation believes the nation is suffering from a “sleepiness epidemic” with a “high percentage of Australians suffering from fatigue and exhaustion on a daily basis”.
Taking that into account, it’s no surprise experts want us to prioritise rest as an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
According to Washington University “it rejuvenates your body and mind, regulates your mood, and is linked to learning and memory function”.
“On the other hand, not getting enough rest can negatively affect your mood, immune system, memory, and stress levels,” it said.
There are lots of ways to kick back but slipping into a genuine rest state can be harder. Napping is one of them.
Siestas equal productivity. Let’s bring back nap time
Remember in pre-school when you were forced to take naps? Scheduled, guilt-free rest. Those were the days!
Most of us don’t need to be convinced to sleep more but here’s a list of reasons to help justify fitting in a nap (or 10) into your weekly routine from American-based sleep expert Doctor Larry Altshuler.
He says “napping is a means to rejuvenate the mind and body and has a positive effect on quality of life”.
“Resting the body even for a short period of time allows the body’s systems to rest and rebalance. This translates into more efficient and rewarding work, which in turn makes work more enjoyable.”
Napping is especially important for those of us who suffer from sleep disorders or just generally don’t get enough sleep at night.
The ABC’s Dominic Knight has some interesting points in his article We’re not sleeping enough and it’s literally killing us.
If that doesn’t scare you into napping, nothing will.
You might need help to become an expert napper. Lifehacker Australia has an easy to read infographic to get you there.
Can’t sleep in the day? Here are some other ways to rest effectively
We can’t all work for progressive companies like Google where a quick afternoon kip is encouraged, even celebrated.
So, if random napping at your workplace is frowned upon, here are some other ideas to keep you well rested:
- Make time for downtime. Treat yourself to some dedicated relaxation time and switch off. Maybe lie down on the couch, read a book or go for a (slow) walk around the neighbourhood
- Give your mind a break. Resting the mind is just as important as relaxing your body, especially if you’re stressed or have a tendency to overthink. Even just a five-minute meditation each day helps
- Cut down your busy schedule. Reducing your daily load and allowing yourself time to just be still each day can work wonders. It’s hard at first, but the long-term benefits are surely worth it.