Today in our culture it is all about hustle, bustle, grind and grit. Often you’ll hear leaders respond to how they are doing with, “I’m busy!” As if this was a badge of honor. April is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Now, more than ever, we must advocate for mental health and daily habits that promote physical, mental and emotional well-being. Rest is so important!
A recent Gallup poll said 60% of Americans are stressed out. How are we dealing with this stress? Too often people are turning to pills, alcohol, and even more stressful activities that don’t really solve our issues.
Rest is Key to Our Mental, Physical and Emotional Health
So many Americans are caught in the grind of work, family responsibilities and ongoing stress. Often, we only allow ourselves to truly rest on holidays or vacation. However, it’s so important to prioritize adequate rest and quality sleep in your everyday life. Rest and sleep are two different things, but both are equally important to your mental, emotional and physical health. Plus, prioritizing rest can actually improve your quality of sleep.
Rest can be difficult to define because it can look different for everyone. Rest is any behavior aimed at increasing physical or mental well-being. It can be active, such as going for a walk outside, or passive, such as taking 10 minutes to sit down and breathe deeply. Regardless of how you choose to rest, these daily behaviors can help you recover and recharge from physical and mental effort. That’s why better rest is linked to better physical and mental health.
Sleep, on the other hand, is a body-mind state in which individuals experience sensory detachment from our surroundings. Sleep is an essential function of the body and impacts every system from our cognitive function to immune health. Quality sleep can help us reset, recover and recharge. It’s absolutely vital to brain function, memory, concentration, immune health and metabolism. Unlike rest, sleep is something your body cannot function without. In fact, if you are sleep deprived, your body will force you to sleep, no matter what you’re in the middle of. 1
Consequences of Not Getting Enough Sleep
Short-term problems can include:
- Lack of alertness. Even missing as little as 1.5 hours can have an impact on how you feel.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness. It can make you very sleepy and tired during the day.
- Impaired memory. Lack of sleep can affect your ability to think, remember and process information.
- Relationship stress. It can make you feel moody and you can become more likely to have conflicts with others.
- Quality of life. You may become less likely to participate in normal daily activities or to exercise.
- Greater likelihood for car accidents. Drowsy driving accounts for thousands of crashes, injuries and fatalities each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2
How to Sleep Better
- Keep a consistent wake up time
- Get your body moving
- Limit your caffeine from 10-2 and drink water
- Get sunlight every morning
- No alcohol before bedtime
- Consider a new pillow