Source | ideas-ted-com.cdn.ampproject.org | Saundra Dalton-Smith MD
This post is part of TED’s “How to Be a Better Human” series, each of which contains a piece of helpful advice from people in the TED community; browse through all the posts here.
Have you ever tried to fix an ongoing lack of energy by getting more sleep — only to do so and still feel exhausted?
If that’s you, here’s the secret: Sleep and rest are not the same thing, although many of us incorrectly confuse the two.
We go through life thinking we’ve rested because we have gotten enough sleep — but in reality we are missing out on the other types of rest we desperately need. The result is a culture of high-achieving, high-producing, chronically tired and chronically burned-out individuals. We’re suffering from a rest deficit because we don’t understand the true power of rest.
Rest should equal restoration in seven key areas of your life.
The first type of rest we need is physical rest, which can be passive or active. Passive physical rest includes sleeping and napping, while active physical rest means restorative activities such as yoga, stretching and massage therapy that help improve the body’s circulation and flexibility.
The second type of rest is mental rest. Do you know that coworker who starts work every day with a huge cup of coffee? He’s often irritable and forgetful, and he has a difficult time concentrating on his work. When he lies down at night to sleep, he frequently struggles to turn off his brain as conversations from the day fill his thoughts. And despite sleeping seven to eight hours, he wakes up feeling as if he never went to bed. He has a mental rest deficit.
The good news is you don’t have to quit your job or go on vacation to fix this. Schedule short breaks to occur every two hours throughout your workday; these breaks can remind you to slow down. You might also keep a notepad by the bed to jot down any nagging thoughts that would keep you awake.