How to rest well, according to a Silicon Valley sleep consultant

Contrary to popular belief, rest is not merely the absence of activity: It is a vital component of productivity and health, and a skill that should be cultivated. This is the core message of author and Silicon Valley sleep consultant Alex Pang. In a recent article for Psyche, Alex shares his best advice on how to rest well. Here are some interesting take-aways:

Rest benefits productivity

There is substantial evidence that working longer hours does not mean being more productive. In addition, it’s well known that long work hours carry health hazards which ultimately will even out any surplus productivity. 

We should take rest seriously

Rest is not a readily available resource to most of us. To reap the benefits of rest, we have to actively make time for it in our schedule.

Clear boundaries eliminates stress

One of the biggest enemies of rest is “the office in our pocket”. One should seek to establish a firm boundary between home and work by not answering work calls or emails in one’s free time. 

Rest should be treated as a skill

New schedules take time to adjust to, but in the end, the effort will be well worth it. Rest is a state that will become easier for you to access over time, and easier to use to your advantage.

Balance work and rest during the day

Our mind works the best when we alternate between 90-120 minutes of intense work, followed by a break of 20 to 30 minutes. If possible for you, model your workday in this fashion. 

Practice absorbing activities (deep play)

Among highly successful individuals, there is a surprisingly large number who practice demanding hobbies such as mountaineering, sailing, or painting. Such absorbing activities are an especially rewarding form of rest that can stimulate work life.

Don’t neglect sleep and naps

Sleep deprivation over long periods can be injurious to health as well as productivity. Maintain a steady sleep schedule, and don’t be afraid to take power naps during the day when needed. 

Encourage others to rest with you

We live in a time where the power of rest has been forgotten, and where those who take the time to rest are often perceived as being lazy. Breaking down the sleep stigma is an important task which we must solve collectively by growing new, healthy habits together. 

About Alex Pang

alex pang portrait

Alex Pang is the author of numerous books on the forgotten art of rest (including Rest from 2018), as well as the founder of the Silicon Valley-based consulting group Strategy and Rest which helps companies implement 4 day work weeks. 

Here at Restworks, we are big fans of Alex’s work which has been a valuable inspiration in our mission to bring napping and rest facilities to workplaces across the globe. In today’s busy work life, we believe one of the most valuable investments a company can make is learning their employees how to rest.