Why rest is so important to progress | Sport at Cambridge skip to content

Sport at Cambridge


Why rest is so important to progress

Rest, we all talk about the importance of it, but the reality is, so many of us neglect this part of our daily life. Did you know that 16% of adults in the UK sleep for fewer than six hours a night while another 19% sleep for between six and seven hours? This is shown by the research of the Royal Society for Public Health in 2016. Rest is crucial for all humans but when you have a busy schedule and you push yourself physically, mentally and emotionally, it is vital for success! Yes, working to your fullest is important, yes getting as much done as you can is amazing, but rest is also just as crucial as those two things! The UK loses 200,000 working days a year to absence, caused by lack of sleep. Think of yourself like a phone battery, we must charge our phones to keep them working, the more run down they get the slower the phone works and it takes longer to recharge! When you lose sleep, it’s harder to focus and pay attention. This affects school performance and job productivity, lack of sleep slows your reaction time, making it dangerous for driving and other safety related risks at work and at home. A National Sleep Foundation poll found that nearly one-third of drivers said they have nodded off or fallen asleep while driving.  

Rest involves getting a good sleep, turn your phone off half an hour before bed and read a book, it will help you to wind down and not looking at an electronic screen will prevent your brain from being electrically stimulated. You should get between 7-9 hours’ sleep, if you are getting under 7 hours look at going to bed earlier if possible, if you are getting more than 9 hours, sometimes that can make you more lethargic, see if you can break the habit as you could use that valuable time out of your day to look after yourself or do something you enjoy.

Burn out is so common and is not talked about enough people make themselves very poorly when they don’t take the proper time to rest or switch off. Your body and mind don’t perform well under fatigue. Recognise what your strengths and weaknesses are, recognise what is the first thing to twinge, ache or cause pain when you are tired, and knowing the difference between good and bad pain; all of these are crucial to understanding your body and listening to its message, when it is telling you to slow down or stop and rest. If your body is trying to tell you something, listen to it! Especially if you use your body as part of your career, if you are an athlete, rest is just as important as your training; if you don’t rest properly your career may take a hit from this. Having plenty of rest allows our muscle tissue to repair and rebuild, which is essential for building muscle.

Please remember that mental and emotional rest is important too, sometimes you need to just take a day for yourself. Sometimes taking a day for ourselves is what we need. Maybe your housework is stacking up, you have been to work, gone to the gym and get home to face a mountain of chores and it just becomes too much! If you take one day, to clean up, organise your space at home better and make your house a nicer place to live, then watching your favourite show on Netflix; is sometimes not ‘bunking off’ it is taking a day for you to function.

Rest is not a sign of weakness; it is a reminder you are human. You must rest and recharge to function.

By Lewis Wilson



Royal Society of Public Health (2016). Waking up to the health benefits of sleep.