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Rest vs. Sleep: Know the Difference for Whole Health

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Feeling heavy eyes, brain fog and a sluggish body is a familiar feeling to many. Our on-the-go lifestyles may boast abundant productivity, but when pushed too far, it can be at the expense of our health, vitality and even spiritual well-being. 

Finding that delicate balance of living a fulfilled life, yet prioritizing time to rest is an important part of our whole-person care and CREATION Health philosophy at AdventHealth. And discovering those moments for both mental and physical rest might not be as challenging as you think. 

For most, feeling tired or worn down might lead you to think you need more sleep. While sleep is critical to feeling whole, rest can be so much more than your nightly hours of shut-eye. “Rest involves your whole being, not just your body,” according to the book Creation Health by AdventHealth Publishing. The book continues, “With complete and regular rest, you will restore your health, enhance your performance and achieve an amazing sense of well-being.” And even small — but impactful — bouts of rest can be incorporated into your everyday routine in many ways.

Here are some tips to add more rest into your purpose-driven life.

  1. Take a silent gratitude minute

Living in the moment is easier said than done. But in doing so, it helps calm your body and mind, allowing it to rest from the daily stressors all around you. 

In the book CREATION Health, Life Guide #2 -Rest at its Best, the author suggests taking a mental inventory of your thoughts, or self-talk. Are they about the future or your current moment? If they are about the future and you’re feeling tense, take a mental break. Think about the moment, connect with your present feelings, see what’s around you in nature and ground yourself by thinking about what you are grateful for today. This practice can zap physical and emotional stress, putting your body and mind at ease. 

  1. Take a time out

Removing yourself from a stressful situation or anxious environment might be all you need to take a mental and physical break. Think of it as your own little “time out” to connect with your thoughts, emotions and body. Even a short, calming pause or prayer can help you rejuvenate in body, mind and spirit. 

You can also use this time to do some deep breathing exercises, a mindful meditation or practice progressive muscle relaxation.

  1. Plan a vacation

If you can’t remember your last vacation, it’s time to plan one. Whether it’s a local staycation or a cross-country trip, vacations of any length help us take a mental, emotional and physical pause from our daily lives and stresses. It opens our eyes, senses and perspectives to a new place and it allows us to appreciate what we have to come “home” to. 

  1. Take a nap

Did you know we were designed to be “biphasic,” which means to have two separate periods of sleep every 24-hours, with one in the afternoon and one at night? While napping might not be realistic every day, there’s a body of scientific evidence suggesting you might want to sneak a daytime rest when you can. 

CREATION Health, Life Guide #2 -Rest at its Best reviews a long list of studies showing that napping can: 

  • Boost memory
  • Enhance productivity and concentration
  • Increase alertness
  • Improve mood
  • Stimulate creativity and problem-solving
  • Decrease risk of heart disease
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Decrease stress
  1. Avoid too much caffeine

It’s hard to avoid the many messages that we receive about caffeine. With coffee shops around every corner and stores and businesses offering coffee like water, it’s become part of our daily rituals for productivity and alertness. 

But if you’re feeling overly anxious, stressed or jittery, too much caffeine can put further physical and mental stress on your body. If you’re feeling worn down or tired, look to the strategies above to rest your body. Or, get an energy boost the healthy way by drinking a nutrition-packed smoothie or drinking some extra water. You might be surprised that this alone may boost your mental alertness and energy levels. 

If you’re looking for more information on how to get more rest into your life, look to us, the whole-health experts. Find a physician near you.

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