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What you may or may not know about rest

It is often said that “modern people need rest,” but surprisingly little is known about rest, such as what kind of state it is, how it affects our sense of well-being, and how we should rest. Hubbub, a research group formed by scientists, artists, poets, humanists, and social scientists led by Durham University in the UK to study the mechanisms of rest, summarizes what research has revealed about rest.


Hubbub conducted a large-scale survey of 18,000 people from 134 countries on the topic of rest. The following is a summary of the data on rest


◆Need for rest


When asked, “Do you need more rest?” More than two thirds of the respondents answered “Yes” to the question “Do you need more rest? Incidentally, when asked how long they wanted rest without defining “rest” at all, the average time was 3 hours and 6 minutes.


◆How to Rest


Next, we asked, “What would you like to do to get some rest?” the respondents were asked what they would like to do to rest, with “reading” in first place, “spending time in a natural environment” in second, “spending time alone” in third, “listening to music” in fourth, and “doing nothing in particular” in fifth. Few respondents wanted to share time with others, such as meeting with family or friends as a means of taking rest, and many said that rest is obtained in a state of solitude.

Very interestingly, the idea of wanting to be alone to rest did not differ between extroverts and introverts. It seems that even extroverts, who find pleasure in the company of others, tend to want to be alone for rest.


◆Rest and happiness


When the relationship between rest and happiness was examined, those who answered “I have enough rest” had a happiness score twice as large as those who answered “I need more rest. From this we can see that rest and happiness are directly related.

Curiously, however, when examining the relationship between hours of rest and happiness, we find that happiness peaks at 5 to 6 hours of rest, and that taking more rest than that slightly impairs happiness.

A related fact to this result is that when asked what words they associate with rest, a whopping 9% said “guilty,” “stress-inducing things,” and so on. Professor Felicity Callard of Durham University stated, “There is an assumption that taking a lot of rest is ‘lazy,’ and we need to challenge this preconceived notion,” revealing that many people get a sense of guilt from rest.


◆ People who take a lot of rest


When the researchers looked at the amount of rest taken in a 24-hour period, they found that those who took the least amount of rest were those who were younger and had traditional full-time jobs or shift jobs that included night shifts. Incidentally, this group with the least amount of rest tends to be generally higher paid. On the other hand, those who had the most vacation time were those who were older, on fixed incomes, unemployed, retired, or had slower working hours.

Note that while it is often assumed that it is men who lament that they are too busy to take vacations, the survey actually shows that men and women take an average of 10 minutes more vacation time than women.

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