Greetings! In today’s class, we shall discuss about the importance of rest.“The sleep of a labouring man is sweet…” Eccl. 5:12
These paragraphs will not deal with rest as a treatment, though it is a very important one, but will consider it principally as a rule of hygiene. Activity exhausts the resources of the body faster than they are restored, and this makes periods of rest and relaxation necessary to make it possible for the body to catch up and restore itself to its normal condition. This has been well stated by Dr. Clark, as follows:
“Everything in animal life requires, among other fundamentals, that there be exercise and rest following each other in regular order; and anything that disturbs the proper relation of proportion between them disturbs the health and efficiency. For example, the brain cell, after a day’s work, becomes exhausted, but after a night in sleep, it is refreshed and ready to resume its normal work. This can be easily demonstrated with the microscope. After work, the nerve cell is shrunken in size and the little granules in its protoplasm disappear. After rest, they are again plump and the granules restored. This change takes place regularly in our nerve cells daily, following work and rest.”
“This same is true of the heart. Its regular beat occupies about seventeenths of a second; that is, three-tenths for contraction, three-tenths for dilation, and one-tenth for rest. Whenever anything happens to the heart to deprive it of this one-tenth-second rest in every beat, it shows it in decreased efficiency, and flies the flag of distress at once, asking for rest.”
Rest should be preceded by exercise, or it will be indolence, which is a frequent cause of disease. Exercise makes the rest necessary. “In a hygienic life there must be a certain amount of actual rest. Every bodily power requires rest after exertion. The heart rests between beats. The muscles require relaxation after every contraction. The man who is always tense in muscle and nerve is wearing himself out.”
“A very hot bath, lasting only a minute, or even a hot food bath, is restful in cases of general fatigue. The most restful of all is a neutral, tepid bath, the temperature about body-heat (beginning at 97 or 98 degrees and not allowed to drop more than five degrees and continued as long as convenient).
“The wonderful nervous relaxation induced by neutral baths is an excellent substitute for sleep in case of sleeplessness, and often induces sleep as well. Neutral baths are now used not only in cases of insomnia and extreme nervous irritability, but also in cases of acute mania. When sleep occurs in a neutral bath, it is particularly restful. A physician who often sleeps in the bathtub expresses this fact by saying that ‘he sleeps faster there than in bed.’
“Sleep may also be induced by monotonous sounds, or lack of sound, or the monotonous holding of the attention. Keeping awake is due to continued change and interruption or arrest of the attention. “Exercise taken in the afternoon will often promote sleep at night in those who find sleep difficult. Slow, deep rhythmic breathing is useful when wakeful, partly as a substitute for sleep, partly as an inducer of sleep.
“Sleep is nature’s great rejuvenator, and the health-seeker should avail himself of it to the fullest. Our sleep should not only be sufficient in duration but also in intensity, and should be regular.
“The number of hours of sleep generally needed varies with circumstances. The average is seven to nine. In general one should sleep when sleepy and not try to sleep more. Growing children require more sleep than grown-ups. Parents often foolishly sacrifice their children’s sleep by compelling them to rise early for chores.
“One’s best sleep is with the stomach practically empty. It is true that food puts one to sleep at first, by diverting blood from the heart but it disturbs sleep later. Water, unless it induces bladder-action during the night, or even fruit, may be taken without injury before retiring. If one goes to bed with an empty stomach, he can often get along well with six or seven hours of sleep, but if he goes to bed soon after a hearty meal, he usually needs from eight to ten hours’ sleep.
“It has already been pointed out that sleeping outdoors is more restful than sleeping indoors.”
“In eating, drinking, and dressing, the laws of health should be diligently followed, and in regulating the hours for sleep, there should be no haphazard work. No student should form the habit of sitting up late at night to burn the midnight oil, and then take the hours of day for sleep. If they have been accustomed to doing this at home, they should seek to correct their habits and go to rest at a seasonable hour, and rise in the morning refreshed for the day’s duties. In our schools the lights should be extinguished at half past nine.” CE 124
The Rest Day
The Sabbath is not intended to be a period of useless inactivity The law forbids secular labor on the rest-day of the Lord; the toil that gains a livelihood must cease; no labor for worldly pleasure or profit is lawful upon that day; but as God ceased His labor of creating, and rested upon the Sabbath and blessed it, so man is to leave the occupations of his daily life, and devote those sacred hours to healthful rest, to worship, and to holy deeds. DA 207
Grab a friend and share the wealth, from what you’ve learned in the School of Health! In our next class, we shall discuss about sunshine. God bless!
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