Are You Recovering or Just Resting?
- To cease motion, work, or activity: to refrain from exertion.
- To lie down, especially to sleep
- To be at peace or ease; be tranquil
- To be, become, or remain temporarily still, quiet, or inactive.
- To get back; regain
- To restore (oneself) to a normal state.
- To compensate for.
- To regain a normal or usual condition, as of health.
Rest vs. Recovery
These two words, “rest” and “recovery,” have distinctly different meanings when applied to overall health. Recovery can encompass many different behaviours and strategies, but it is fundamentally different than just resting. Quality and adequate sleep is necessary for full recovery.
Rest is simply the absence of effort or movement, the absence of exertion. Think about taking a day off from exercise, napping, and chilling on the couch. All of that is great, but resting is only one small part of true recovery.
Recovery is the restorative process by which you regain a state of balance and health. Recovery is far more than just taking a day off from exercising or having a relaxing day. Genuine recovery includes adequate rest, but also must include adequate and quality sleep.
Sleep Well for Wellness and Recovery!
Sleep isn’t exactly a time when your body and brain shut off. While you sleep, your brain stays busy, overseeing a wide variety of biological maintenance that keeps your body running in top condition, preparing you for the day ahead. Without enough hours of restorative sleep, you won’t be able to work, learn, create, and communicate at a level even close to your true potential. Regularly skimp on sleep and you’re headed for a major mental and physical breakdown.
According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insufficient sleep may lead to grave health issues: diabetes, stroke, heart problems, depression and even obesity.
Myths and Facts about Sleep
Myth 1: Getting just one hour less sleep per night won’t affect your daytime functioning. You may not be noticeably sleepy during the day, but losing even one hour of sleep can affect your ability to think properly and respond quickly. It also compromises your cardiovascular health, energy balance, and ability to fight infections.
Myth 2: Your body adjusts quickly to different sleep schedules. Most people can reset their biological clock, but only by appropriately timed cues, and even then, by one-two hours per day at best. Consequently, it can take more than a week to adjust after traveling across several time zones or switching to the night shift.
Myth 3: Extra sleep at night can cure you of problems with excessive daytime fatigue. The quantity of sleep you get is important, sure, but it’s the quality of your sleep that you really have to pay attention to. Some people sleep eight or nine hours a night but don’t feel well rested when they wake up because the quality of their sleep is poor.
Myth 4: You can make up for lost sleep during the week by sleeping more on the weekends. Although this sleeping pattern will help relieve part of a sleep debt, it will not completely make up for the lack of sleep. Furthermore, sleeping later on the weekends can affect your sleep-wake cycle so that it is much harder to go to sleep at the right time on Sunday nights and get up early on Monday mornings.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the average adult sleeps less than seven hours per night. In today’s fast-paced society, six or seven hours of sleep may sound pretty good. In reality, though, it’s a recipe for chronic sleep deprivation.
There is a big difference between the amount of sleep you can get by on and the amount you need to function optimally. Just because you’re able to operate on seven hours of sleep doesn’t mean you wouldn’t feel a lot better and get more done if you spent an extra hour or two in bed.
While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between seven and a half to nine hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens need even more (see box at right). And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, older people still need at least seven and a half to eight hours of sleep. Since older adults often have trouble sleeping this long at night, daytime naps can help fill in the gap.
The best way to figure out if you’re meeting your sleep needs is to evaluate how you feel as you go about your day. If you’re logging enough hours, you’ll feel energetic and alert all day long, from the moment you wake up until your regular bedtime.