What is a proper Rest?
- Just sleeping is not Rest.
- Just immobilizing the body is not Rest.
- Not doing anything is also not Rest.
Physiological and psychological effects of proper rest and relaxation:
- Removes tiredness
- Eliminates mental fatigue
- Reduces and eliminates the muscular tension
- Makes you feel relaxed
- You feel energized
- Reduces nervous tension (overload)
- Calms the mind
- Lowers the heart rate to normal
- Lowers the blood pressure to normal
- Lowers the rate of respiration
- Improves digestion (such as, the cephalic and gastric phase)
- Improves and restores the hormonal balance
- Lowers the basal metabolic rate (significantly lowered, as is experienced during yoga-nidra or meditation, sometimes even less than 50 cal/hr)
- Induces physiological rest to bodily organs and the whole organism
- Results in physiological compensation (conservation of the life force, also termed as vital energy or jeevan shakti)
- Improves the homeostasis (body’s in-built self-regulating mechanism to bring in balance at anatomical and physiological levels, whenever there is an imbalance)
- Fight or flight phenomenon, stress hormones and ans
- Neutralizes or eliminates the stress hormones
- Normalises the stimulated sns (sympathetic nervous system)
- Induces a balancing effect on ans (autonomic nervous system) and therefore, optimum functioning of the psns (parasympathetic nervous system) regulated bodily systems
Adequate relaxation results in significant improvement in most chronic and acute conditions including the psychosomatic conditions such as, fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression, most of the lifestyle disorders, insomnia, hypertension, asthma, lower energy levels, loss of concentration, lowered immunity, circulation and toxicity related disorders, indigestion and absorption related problems, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, hyperthyroidism, peptic ulcer, gastritis, PMS, erratic levels of hormonal imbalance during menstrual cycle and menopausal phase, etc.
Recommendations for rest and relaxations, which really work…
- Sleep: Go to bed early and take about 6 to 7 hrs sleep at night, but avoid sleeping in the afternoon. The quality of sleep during the night is much better than the day time sleep or sleeping at late hours.
- Quality of sleep is much better when going to bed early. With regular habit of going to bed early, over a period of time, you need less sleep as body gets optimum rest in a shorter period.
- Take rest after each meal. It is favourable to the process of digestion.
- Yoga-nidra: A few minutes of Yoga-nidra in Shavasana (progressive muscular relaxation) could provide deep relaxation. It is said that about 10 to 15 minutes of yoga-nidra in Shavasana provide physical, mental and physiological rest relaxation equivalent to about an hour’s sleep.
- There is nothing wrong in resting and relaxing for several hours a day once in a while, if you get time.
- Massage: Take regular relaxation massage or carry out self-massage.
- Consciously relax yourself whenever feel stressed or exhausted physical and/or mentally.
- Pleasurable pastime: Find time for yourself to do things you really like to do. Plan for such pleasurable pastimes on a “regular” basis, such as walking in a garden or woods, going to movies with friends, spending a few minutes in solitude, playing cards with friends, going for a swim or jog, reading books, cooking your favourite dish, etc.
The consequences of not taking adequate rest:
Inadequate relaxation results in tiredness, exertion, burn-out and eventually lead to fatigue, irritable mind, loss of concentration, muscular stiffness, stimulated SNS, indigestion, lowered immunity, repeated illness, many psychosomatic conditions and depletion of the Life Force/Vital Energy/Jeevan Shakti; and seriously affecting homeostasis and body’s ability of self-healing.
Remember, “The time to relax is when you don’t have it”!
Hope, you find this information useful. Wish you a happy and healthy living!
. . . . . .
Yoga and Natural Lifestyle Consultant
Certified Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant
Diploma in Yoga (recognised by Yoga Alliance International)
Studied at Wellpark College of Naturopathy, Auckland, New Zealand
Vadodara, Gujarat, INDIA
Yoga Nidra is one the best technique to provide physical, mental and physiological rest and relaxation to the body and mind. If you wish you may download a short write-up on the concept of Rest and Relaxation from the following link,
Stages of sleep
“….Every 60-100 minutes we go through a cycle of four stages of sleep,
- Stage 1 is a drowsy, relaxed state between being awake and sleeping - breathing slows, muscles relax, heart rate drops.
- Stage 2 is slightly deeper sleep - you may feel awake and this means that, on many nights, you may be asleep and not know it.
- Stage 3 and Stage 4, or Deep Sleep - it is very hard to wake up from Deep Sleep because this is when there is the lowest amount of activity in your body.
- After Deep Sleep, we go back to Stage 2 for a few minutes, and then enter Dream Sleep - also called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep - which, as its name suggests, is when you dream.
In a full sleep cycle, a person goes through all the stages of sleep from one to four, then back down through stages three and two, before entering dream sleep
Russell Foster, a professor of circadian [body clock] neuroscience at Oxford, shares this point of view. "Over 30% of the medical problems that doctors are faced with stem directly or indirectly from sleep. But sleep has been ignored in medical training and there are very few centres where sleep is studied," he says.
But the majority of doctors still fail to acknowledge that a consolidated eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.
Jacobs suggests that the waking period between sleeps, when people were forced into periods of rest and relaxation, could have played an important part in the human capacity to regulate stress naturally. In many historic accounts, Ekirch found that people used the time to meditate on their dreams….”