The different types of rest and how to get them

The different types of rest and how to get them

by Evigan Xiao 11 Feb 2020

To most, resting simply means catching up on some zzzzzs. In reality, there are many ways for the body to rejuvenate itself. Since getting enough rest is vital to daily health and wellbeing, this comes as a pretty big deal. Why settle for just one kind of rest when there are three?


#1 Sleep

Getting the right amount of sleep differs from person to person. While the standard prescription sits at around eight hours a day, some people are able to get by just fine with less. Physical status also plays a role in determining how much sleep is considered optimal for a person. Someone recovering from an illness, injury or a hard training session will require more sleep than a healthy person coming back from a vacation. Prioritising sleep quality is also one of the most important things you can do – blackout curtains, white noise devices, avoiding screens close to bedtime and taking sleep aids like ZMA or GABA can help you in maintaining a restful sleep.


#2 Passive rest

Despite what some people might say, doing nothing doesn’t always count as being lazy. Passive rest is perhaps best exemplified by how sitting on a couch staring off into space after a hard day’s work somehow makes you feel better. The need for passive rest stems from the need to take a break from whatever your mind’s preoccupied with at the moment and just unwind. Its effects shouldn’t be downplayed; taking a walk outside or simply looking out of a window activates the parasympathetic responses in your body, even if just for a short while, often leaves you feeling much more energised and focused.


#3 Active rest

Doing something when you’re tired may sound counterproductive, but it actually does make a difference when you look at it from the point of just having a good time! This is the perfect opportunity for you to do what you love most of all, be it baking, flying a kite, going for a jog, or just playing with your dog. Active rest and non-exercise physical activities (NEPA) usually go hand in hand, in that they allow the body the stay active in a way that doesn’t compromise recovery. In fact, engaging in NEPA actually boosts it. One of the main reasons why active rest is so effective is that it allows you to indulge in what you want when you’re typically busy with doing what you need practically all the time.


Simply relying on one form of rest will not be enough to get you where you need to be in terms of wellness. After all, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have the opportunity to sleep whenever you want to. The fact is, leading a healthy life can be tiring in its own way, so it’s important that we are in tune with our body’s needs when it comes to the different types of rest. Sometimes it helps to back off the throttle just a little, if only every now and then.