You have plenty of things on your to-do list, but we bet “get plenty of sleep” isn’t one of them. A whopping one out of three US adults doesn’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of shuteye, according to the CDC. Sleep deprivation could be robbing you of some key health benefits, like sharper brain function, a healthier heart, a stronger immune system, and more effective weight control.
To achieve better sleep health, it’s key to understand the different types of rest — beyond REM — to pinpoint where you’re lacking, and then make intentional changes to your routine to recharge your mind and body.
The 7 types of rest
According to physician and author Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, there are seven different types of rest. Sleep is the most obvious form, as it recharges and restores the body. But there are also other types of rest that are easy to overlook, but no less important to our health.
If you’re getting plenty of shuteye each night but still feeling groggy during the day, you could have a deficit in one or more areas. Dalton-Smith says it’s important to identify which types of rest you’re missing and make a plan to nurture those areas.
Power your busy life by resting smarter
Depending on what types of rest you’re lacking, try these strategies to restore and rejuvenate your mind and body:
- Physical rest: Experiment with various relaxing routines to help you get at least seven hours of sleep per night — things like stretching, deep breathing, meditating, having a cup of hot tea, or soaking in a bath before bed.
- Mental rest: If racing thoughts or anxieties are keeping you awake, put a journal next to your bed. Studies have shown that journaling before bed can help keep sleeplessness at bay.
- Emotional rest: If you’re feeling drained by toxic or demanding relationships, take a step back from those connections and seek out more positive interactions.
- Social rest: Commit to being more judicious with your time and commitments, and spend less time with those who don’t positively enrich your life.
- Sensory rest: This might entail taking a break from TV, social media, your phone, and other stimuli that leaves you feeling tense or restless.
- Creative rest: If art, writing, music, or another creative output is a major part of your job or daily lifestyle, give yourself a break now and then to allow your mind to recharge.
- Spiritual rest: When daily life gets chaotic, push pause and spend a little time meditating, appreciating nature, praying, or doing another activity that soothes or fortifies your spirit.
Embracing healthy resting habits means more than just snoozing. Once you understand which types of rest your body and mind are lacking, you can create a personalized plan to recharge in those areas. As a result, you’ll feel more productive, energized, and ready to tackle each day. You might even sleep better!