Rest and sleep: surely, they are the same thing, right? Wrong. Yes, there are many similarities between these two activities, and you need both in your life to be healthy and keep your energy levels up.
However, there are also some pretty crucial differences between the two, and it’s important to learn about them if you want to maximize your rest and sleep patterns. Would you like to know more about rest vs. sleep? Then, keep reading our essential guide.
1. Brain Waves and Muscle Activity
Comparing rest and sleep begins by looking at what happens in your body. During sleep, your brain and muscles enter a very unique state. Muscles relax to the point of almost complete stillness, and the brainwave activity is very different compared to the one observed during awake times.
When you are simply resting, your brain maintains the same time of function and alertness as during the rest of your awake day, and your muscles do relax, but in a much more controlled and less extreme way.
2. Hormone Production
One of the most crucial differences between rest and sleep is the production of certain hormones. Sleep, in fact, is so vital because it enables important hormones to be produced, and cells to be renewed. This is something that doesn’t happen during a simple moment of rest.
3. The Right Environment
Generally speaking, when you want to sleep you need to be in an environment that is conducive to that state of deep relaxation. This means that the room should be dark, quiet, not too hot or cold and that you should feel already adequately rested.
If you just need to rest and bring your stress levels down, you can easily achieve this in most surroundings. You won’t necessarily need total darkness or silence, and you could decide to sit in the sun or snuggle up under a blanket on your couch.
4. Circadian Rhythms
Lastly, it’s important to mention circadian rhythms. These are biological patterns that we all have, and which contribute to signaling to our brains when it’s time to stay awake, and when it’s time to close our eyes and sleep.
Circadian rhythms are specific to the sleep-wake cycles and do not interfere with any restful moments that you may decide to carve out during the day.
Rest vs. Sleep: Know the Differences, Maximize the Effects
Rest vs. sleep: two states that look so similar but, in fact, present more differences than you’d ever think of. Being able to recognize how sleep differs from rest is essential to help you optimize the effects of both on your overall health.
As a rule of thumb, you can rest pretty much anywhere and at any time, whereas sleep states are highly dependant on circadian rhythms and a sleep-conducive environment. Sleep is also crucial for the production of growth hormones, while rest is important to calm your muscles and help you better cope with stress.
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