We live in a busy world and at times it can feel like we are continuously on the go with no time for rest. For many of us, the only rest and relaxation we have is our annual holidays and sometimes they can be fairly hectic too! However, with the current pandemic, and many holidays cancelled, it’s more important than ever to find time to rest and relax.

Resting allows our brain and body to recharge and recover from a busy day, so it’s important to our health and wellbeing. It can help to restore our body’s energy, repair muscle tissue and triggers the release of hormones that affect growth and appetite.1

So why else is rest important?

It keeps colds and illness at bay

When we sleep, the body produces and releases cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response.2 Chronic sleep loss, which simply means not getting enough sleep over an extended period of time, can even make the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body’s ability to respond.2

It helps us maintain a healthy weight

Sleep can balance our appetites by helping to regulate levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which impact our feelings of hunger and fullness. So, when we’re tired and not fully recharged, we may feel the need to eat more which can lead to weight gain and health problems.3

It repairs tissues and helps them grow

Resting provides an opportunity for muscle rejuvenation. Many of the critical restorative functions in the body, like tissue repair and muscle growth, occur mostly during sleep.4 During your deep sleep cycle, called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, muscles are relaxed, which can help relieve tension and reduce symptoms of certain types of chronic pain.5

It helps us renew our energy levels

Having lots of rest is vitally important when it comes to refreshing and reviving the body and mind. To feel more refreshed, try and stick to going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day.6

Relaxation techniques, such as meditation, when practiced regularly not only help relieve stress and anxiety, but have also been shown to improve mood.1 Deep relaxation has many other potential benefits as well – it can decrease blood pressure, relieve pain, and improve your immune and cardiovascular systems.

So, what can we do more of to relax ourselves?

Read a book

Did you know that reading can help reduce stress by almost 70 per cent? According to a study by the University of Sussex, it’s a more efficient way to reduce stress than going for a walk or listening to music. Reading for just six minutes a day can lessen the heart rate and reduce muscle tension.7

Take some deep breaths

Deep breathing is a great way to reduce stress levels. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax, which in turn calms your body.8 Increased heart rate, fast breathing and high blood pressure, things that are associated with being stressed, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.8

Incorporate meditation into your daily routine

Meditation can be done at any time of the day; however, it’s recommended you incorporate it into your morning routine to set you up for the day.9 According to the experts at Headspace, meditation is a straightforward and easy process, you simply sit and practice. All you have to do is close your eyes, stay focussed on your breathing and let your mind do its thing. Check out their meditation tips for beginners to get some ideas on how to start incorporating this into your daily routine.

For more information on how to wind down, rest and sleep well check out the NHS website.

To find out more about how a cash plan from Sovereign can help you keep on top of your everyday health and wellbeing, visit sovereignhealthcare.co.uk/good-all-round


1Mental Health America 2Sleep Foundation 3Sleep Foundation 4Sleep.org 5Sleep Foundation 6NHS 7Inc 8University of Michigan 9Headspace

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