The Seven Types Of Rest Our Bodies & Minds Need

When was the last time you felt fully rested? If it’s been so long you can’t remember, you’re not alone. And according to Dr. Saundra Dalton Smith, it may be because we’re not getting the specific types of rest we really need. “We like the thought of it being simple, that if we go to sleep that should solve all of our restorative needs,” she says. “But unfortunately, there are types of rest that sleep cannot solve.”

In her research, Dalton Smith has determined there are seven distinct types of rest that the human body and mind need. So even if you had a good night’s sleep, you might wake up feeling exhausted because you’re low in a different type of rest. These are the seven types of rest:

  1. Mental rest- Giving your brain a break
  2. Sensory rest- Taking the time to unplug
  3. Creative rest -Taking a break from coming up with new ideas and doing something you consider inspiring
  4. Emotional rest- Processing your emotions so you can be your “authentic self”
  5. Social rest- Spending time alone after other people leave you feeling drained
  6. Spiritual rest- Connecting with something “beyond the physical and mental,” but it doesn’t have to be religious
  7. Physical rest- This is the actual sleeping and allowing your body to slow down and relax

So how do we get the kind of rest we need? Dr. Smith says the first step is some self-reflection to identify which ones you’re lacking. She suggests looking at a typical day for you and figuring out where you’re using the most energy. Once you figure that out, she says “it’s going to have a huge effect on the area that you’re most likely to have a deficit in” and you may finally feel well-rested.


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