The 7 Types of Rest: Which One Do You Need the Most?

According to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith’s rest theory, we need seven different types of rest in order to feel rested and fully ourselves. This may explain why we keep feeling tired even after sleeping well for weeks and months. 

Or, it may indicate why, even when we’re most tired, an afternoon spent volunteering may energize us more than a nap.

This is why we should identify the rest we need the most and then adopt small, daily strategies to get each of these types of rest for our optimal health and well-being.

The 7 Types of Rest We Need, According to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith

Dalton-Smith is a board-certified internal medicine physician and ten years ago, she burned out entirely. She had two toddlers and worked full-time in medical practice, but was also researching and writing. 

She had reached a place in her life without boundaries and she was on the go 24/7. The burnout resulted in her realizing that the health care industry didn’t prepare her properly to help herself when tiredness and depletion hit. 

However, the only research she could find was one about a better quality of sleep, getting more sleep, and how everyone lacked sleep. This was her focus for some time and she researched sleep and looked for ways to improve hers.

At one point, she slept eight or nine hours; however, she would still wake up tired. This is when she realized something was missing. She had no medical issues. She knew something else was happening.

This inspired her to look at the evaluation of tiredness. For a decade, she researched rest and narrowed the list down to the main types of rest that people commonly miss out on, yet we should all be aware of.

Here are the seven types of rest she included:

  • Physical

This rest has two elements, i.e., the active and the passive. 

The latter are sleep and naps. We need optimal hours of sleep and quality haps. However, the former involves things like massages, yoga, stretches, work ergonomics, etc. 

Lack of the active part may result in body pain and discomfort, swollen legs, back spasms, etc.

  • Mental

A person in need of mental rest may be trying hard to fall asleep at night due to constant ruminations. 

This person will have a hard time memorizing lists or recalling information. Their focus is poor because their mind is preoccupied with something. 

  • Social

Many of our social interactions can drain us out. 

This could be anyone who’s needing something from you, including your kids, partner, parents, coworkers, etc. 

You’ll feel like you don’t have a moment for yourself. You constantly feel like giving and pouring while you don’t feel receiving from others.

  • Spiritual

This rest has to do with one’s beliefs. 

At the core of it, is the need for belonging, feeling that we’re contributing to a greater good. We need to feel like we’re giving back to humanity. 

A person who’s in need of spiritual rest is someone who doesn’t care about anything, doesn’t believe they’re making any difference, or has any meaningful relationships in their life. 

Connection is pivotal to preventing burnout-something to fight for in life. 

  • Sensory

Our body and subconsciousness are sensitive to all those phones ringing in the background, the light shining from our laptops and smartphones, the sound of kids playing around, etc. 

Too many of these sensory inputs may become overwhelming and make us angry, irritated, and enraged. 

  • Emotional

This rest is one we feel when we can express our real and authentic selves. 

Plenty of people carry a lot of emotional labor and it only piles up when we keep it all inside. 

It could be finances, mental health problems, problems with your partner, etc. 

Our emotional health is as important as our physical and mental and we need to keep our feelings in check to be well rested emotionally.