Health Course

Chapter 1 - Taking Charge of Your Health

7. Rest

Relaxation, recreation and sleep are vital to healthful living. With
the rapid pace and pressures of life, it is essential to find some
time each day for relaxation so that the tensions that build up in
our muscles can be released.

Rest should include some active recreation. Getting away for a day
in the countryside or a walk along a beach can refresh us and help
us to cope better.

Hugh McKay, a sociologist and author, recommends that ideally an
individual should devote some time each week to purposeful
reflection and relaxation. The activities that are done in this regular
time period should provide opportunities for reflective detachment
from everyday life. These kinds of activities include religious worship,
meditation, walking, music-making and spending time with family
and pets.

The need to sleep has an awesome power over us. If we go too long
without it, we can't stay awake even to save our lives – as shown by
car accidents when people fall asleep at the wheel. Most people don't
get enough sleep, and studies show that the average person needs
between 6 - 8 hours of sleep per night. How often have you gone to
bed feeling depressed and cranky, and woken up after a good sleep
feeling a lot better about life?

And researchers believe Grandma may have been right: an hour's
sleep before midnight may well be worth two hours afterwards.