Rest and relaxation is the cessation of work, exertion, or activity which could result into peace, ease, relief from disturbance, mental & emotional tranquillity and healing.
Rest is necessary to restore vigour to the body because most diseases are caused by or made worse by stress.
Some of the minor illnesses around can be cured by just resting. I can remember when growing up, someone I knew would never take paracetamol when tired, has headache or pain, she preferred to just sleep, but most people I know now will just take the easy way out - paracetamol.
Ways to Rest
The ways to rest are easy and common knowledge, but often we overwork and do not take time or enough time to rest and we end up taking medication (paracetamol or sleeping tablets). Sometimes we get time off work or help with taking care of our children, but instead of resting, we start cleaning or gardening. We could rest by:
• Lying down doing nothing
• Listening to relaxing music or a guided meditation CD
• Taking some deep breaths and ‘Relaxing with the breath’ by bringing your attention to your breathing.
Lack of rest could result in common cold, headache, stress etc. Therefore, to get out time to rest, we should:
• Make out time to rest and relax
• Ask for help from friends and family to take care of the kids
• Cancel unimportant appointments
• Share housework/chores and responsibilities with others
The importance and benefits of rest and relaxation
There are lots of benefits derived from getting sufficient rest and relaxation. It was researched that if you get less than eight hours of sleep a night, your alertness, productivity, creativity, and general health may all be affected. It is crucial to get in excess of eight hours sleep a night because between the seventh and eighth hour is when we get almost an hour of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is the time when the mind repairs itself and grows new connections. The benefits of rest and relaxation are:
• It restores/refreshes us when tired
• Rest repairs the body - The activities of the body slow down when we sleep, therefore body building cells carry on their recuperative work. When we sleep, nature builds up and repairs the waste of our organism. Sleep is a nature's sweet restorer which invigorates the tired body, and prepares it for the next day.
• Rest gives more energy
• Relaxation give better sleep
• Rest enhances immunity
• Rest helps increase concentration
• Rest gives better problem-solving abilities
• Rest and relaxation gives greater efficiency
• Rest and relaxation ensures smoother emotions — less anger, crying, anxiety, frustration
• Rest results in less headaches and pain
• Relaxation and sleep gives the heart a rest by slowing the heart rate
• Rest reduces blood pressure
• Rest and sleep slows the rate of breathing, which reduces the need for oxygen
• Rest increases blood flow to the muscles
• Rest decreases muscle tension
Good Sleep Hygiene
There are lots of benefits we derive from resting and relaxing, but if you are unable to rest, relax and sleep, then see your doctor. However, there are simple and good sleep hygiene you could follow, which are:
• establishing fixed times for going to bed and waking up (avoid sleeping in after a poor night's sleep)
• trying to relax before going to bed
• maintaining a comfortable sleeping environment (not too hot, cold, noisy or bright)
• avoiding napping during the day
• avoiding caffeine, nicotine and alcohol within six hours of going to bed
• avoiding exercise within four hours of bedtime (although exercise in the middle of the day is beneficial)
• avoiding eating a heavy meal late at night
• avoiding watching or checking the clock throughout the night
• only use the bedroom for sleep and sex
Rest and relaxation restores and revitalize our body. During rest or sleep there is growth and repair of the tissues of the body, and energy is conserved and stored. Rest gives a good start, and helps us be focused and effective at what we do.
'The Healthy Wellbeing'
1. NHS Choices, insomnia,
2. Nhs Choices, Sleep and tiredness, http://www.nhs.uk/planners/birthtofive/pages/sleepandtiredness.aspx
3. Relaxation, http://heartofhealing.net/relaxation-wellness/benefits-of-relaxation/