The Seven Types of Rest You Need Right Now

"Sleep and rest are not the same thing." - Saundra Dalton-Smith MD


Have you been confusing the two: sleep and rest? Many of us default into thinking that sleep equals rest, and that when we're tired what will fix it is sleep. You will know from first hand experience that this is not always the case. We've all had those days when a long night of sleep did not end with refreshing start to a new day, but rather a continuation of the previous night's feeling of fatigue.


Here's a list of the seven types of rest we all need, according to Saundra Dalton-Smith MD. The information in this article is based on her TEDx talk and article (linked below).

  1. Physical Rest

  2. Mental Rest

  3. Sensory Rest

  4. Creative Rest

  5. Emotional Rest

  6. Social Rest

  7. Spiritual Rest






"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."
- Saundra Dalton-Smith MD

Here are our tips on how to incorporate the seven types of rest into your day today:


1. Physical Rest

- It's not just about snoozing. Give your body passive physical rest through activities like sleeping, and active physical rest by doing restorative physical activities like stretching, gentle movement, or massage.


Why not start your five minute stretch break while reading this?


2. Mental Rest

- Our brains can't be fully "on" all the time. Take breaks between tasks and between sections of your day. We have a limited amount of mental focus that we can exert in a day.


3. Sensory Rest

- You know the feeling of sensory overload. Strip your environment down to decrease the sense of sensory overwhelm. If you work at a computer all day, take a screen break. If you work in a busy room all day, find a quiet room to work in solitude for 30 minutes to an hour.


4. Creative Rest

- Get in touch with nature - in your neighborhood or even farther out. Incorporate experiences that will inspire you this weekend - music, art, food.


5. Emotional Rest

- Have a time and environment in the day when you can truly be yourself and process how you feel, with no masks or judgment.


6. Social Rest

- Recharge with others in the way that is most energizing for you. Depending on how you are wired, this can mean looking for more intimate and deeper connection with others, or this can mean cutting back on the levels or intensity of recent social interactions.


7. Spiritual Rest

- Dalton-Smith defines this type of rest as "the ability to connect beyond the physical and mental and feel a deep sense of belonging, love, acceptance and purpose." Your source of spiritual rest will be personal to you. You may experience this through prayer, faith, community, or other spiritual disciplines.



Identify the type of rest you need the most right now, and give yourself a space to rest with intention today.






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Source: Saundra Dalton-Smith MD, 2021, "The 7 types of rest that every person needs" https://ideas.ted.com/the-7-types-of-rest-that-every-person-needs/


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