What is rest? Although it is a necessity and the effects that it has on the body are basically understood, it is, nonetheless, treated as a circumstantial requirement. How does it affect wellness? There are many ways in which bodily processes are compromised due to lack of sleep. Still, one may function under such circumstances; even though performance may be sub-par. Are the benefits of rest age dependent / restrictive? The benefits of rest are conveyed upon all age groups. One needs to sufficiently tax the body in order to derive the benefits of cyclical rest periods.
Rest is the physiological process that enables the body to recover from various types and degrees of exertion. Physical exertion can be sustained for ‘certain amounts of time’, depending upon the degree of exertion. Mental exertion requires a recovery period as well; long bouts of mental exertion can mimic physical drain. Emotional duress as well can affect the need for rest and recovery. It can impact one’s behavior, which one may not, themselves, notice. Rest is important. The body is built upon a rest / wake (diurnal) cycle. During the rest (sleep) phase, the body engages in rebuilding physically, replenishing energy stores and restoring levels of acuity.
Overall wellness is dependent upon rest. Without adequate amounts of rest the bodily processes will be less than optimal. Functioning will occur but at levels that could lead to accidents and or personal harm. What is deemed normal is functioning with minimal sleep / rest. This means that even though one is functioning, they may benergetically be at sub-optimal levels. Over time, this can cause effects such as weakening the immune system, onset of respiratory diseases, fluctuation in body weibght, compromises in heart health and blood pressure maintenance, reduced testosterone production in men. Clearly, rest is critical to the overall health of the bodby.
An older person, physiologically, requires as much sleep as a younger adult. Changes in hormonal balance have been documented in elderly folk who sleep fewer than ‘normal’ hours. Many older people have habits that could contribute to this hormonal imbalance and make it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep. They may nap more frequently during the day or may not exercise as much. Spending less time outdoors can reduce their exposure to sunlight and upset their sleep cycle. It is important for one to remain active even as they age. Rest is accessible to everyone, age notwithstanding.
Thus, rest or sleep is an indispensable part of the human experience. Although the body is functional, without sufficient rest, it often is running on autopilot. This is not a good thing. Continuing to operate in this fashion can lead to complication down the line. Stay active! This will program the body to need rest on a regular basis. Rest is king. Nothing proceeds as it is designed without proper and adequate rest.