With how busy life can get, we are oftentimes forced to make sacrifices in our schedules to keep up with the daily grind. And, for many people, this means giving up an essential part of overall wellness: sleep, aka rest. That is until you start to notice the effects of no sleep in your performance at work, school, life. Lack of sleep and little rest can also make it difficult for your body to heal or grow muscle. It can also lead to mental breakdowns and other health issues.
In the Merriam Webster dictionary, rest is defined as “a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities.” So, sleep, chilling on your couch, going for a walk instead of a run can all be types of rest. If you typically work out daily doing more intense exercise, taking a day or two and doing lighter forms of exercise or activities can also count as rest.
As it pertains to sleep, many people would say that they’re not actually getting as much sleep as they know they should. Well+Good performed a survey of nearly 1500 of their readers and found: “92 percent of respondents report feeling fatigued more than one day per week; 65 percent point to general stress for constantly keeping them awake; and 70 percent say their fitness goals suffer as a result of sleeplessness.”
Do any of these sound familiar to you? Are you having trouble sleeping, feeling fatigued, or not seeing results like you think you should for your workouts? According to the National Sleep Foundation, they recommend that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. That number can vary somewhat from person to person, so it’s important to monitor your sleep pattern and see what works best for you.
When it comes to a lack of results for exercise, you are most likely not getting enough sleep, or you’re not giving your body enough rest and recovery days. A rest day does not have to mean that you’re immobile. It can simply mean switching up your exercise routine to give you a couple days of light work outs. So, mix in some low-intensity days – go on a walk, do a stretch session or ride a bike.
If you choose to hit the gym hard every day, pushing your body to its limit, you may end up hitting a wall in your progress. Muscles have to have time to heal and recover in order to grow. In an Active Times article, they interview multiple National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) trainers about recovery and proper rest. The article says: “Resting is just as important as working out because it’s an equal part of the total process required to build strength, endurance, and muscle.”
At the end of the day (or really any time of day), you need rest. Are you getting enough rest? If not, consider scheduling more time for sleep and rest.