The Art of Rest Book Summary - The Art of Rest Book explained in key points
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The Art of Rest summary

How to Find Respite in the Modern Age

4.3 (212 ratings)
23 mins

Brief summary

'The Art of Rest' by Claudia Hammond is a research-based book that explores the importance of rest for our physical, mental, and creative health. It provides practical tips for incorporating rest into our daily lives and encourages us to prioritize downtime for better overall well-being.

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    The Art of Rest
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    Stress causes damaging effects to health and well-being. Rest can help.

    You can find it at your job. You can find it at home. In fact, you can find it pretty much anywhere. Current concerns can be a source of it, as can regrets about the past and worries about the future.

    If all this riddling is stressing you out, well, that’s only appropriate – because stress is precisely what’s being referred to.

    We live in stressful times. The hubbub of the bustling world demands an always-on mentality of chronic busyness. It can feel like there’s no time to slow down. Or, if there is, there’s still that nagging, guilty feeling that rest is undeserved.

    But the consequences of not resting are potentially far more severe than a fleeting pang of guilt.

    The key message here is: Stress causes damaging effects to health and well-being. Rest can help.

    The dangers of too much stress are well documented. A 2018 study by the Mental Health Foundation found that half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress. And according to the same research, nearly three-quarters of Brits felt so stressed at some point during the year that they couldn’t cope.

    People who’re overwhelmed by stress also tend to sleep less. And this can have devastating consequences. One US study found that fatigue was responsible for 13 percent of workplace injuries. Sixteen percent of respondents also admitted to recently falling asleep at the wheel.

    As if this weren’t enough, insufficient sleep is tied to a long list of potential health problems, from hypertension and stroke to mood disorders, obesity, and colorectal cancer. So getting quality sleep is essential.

    Overtiredness – from lack of sleep or lack of rest – also affects your cognitive abilities. Exhaustion can cause memory lapses, trouble focusing, and impaired judgment. And tasks that might normally be a piece of cake can become much more difficult.

    Adults aren’t the only ones suffering from too little rest. In UK schools, the last 20 years have seen break times eliminated to make more time for extra lessons. Today, only 1 percent of English secondary schools have an afternoon break, despite evidence indicating that breaks improve pupil concentration. 

    From baby boomers to millennials to Generation Z, we could all benefit from being more rested.

    But here’s the thing: there’s only really one way to get sleep – by sleeping. Restfulness, on the other hand, can be found in many different activities while we’re awake.

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    What is The Art of Rest about?

    The Art of Rest (2019) is a deep dive into the world of rest. It takes the results of the Rest Test, an online survey of over 18,000 people across 135 countries about rest, and uses those results as a starting point to examine which activities people find most restful, and why two-thirds of respondents felt they didn’t get enough rest. Drawing on scientific research, it investigates the ten most popular ways to rest, and the difficulties and proven benefits behind each restful activity.

    The Art of Rest Review

    The Art of Rest (2020) explores the science and psychology behind rest and why it is vital for our well-being. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Full of research-backed insights, it provides practical strategies for incorporating rest into our busy lives, helping us find balance and recharge.
    • Combining personal stories, real-life examples, and interviews, the book offers a rich tapestry of perspectives on rest, making it relatable and relatable.
    • With its focus on the importance of rest for creativity, productivity, and overall happiness, the book offers a fresh and compelling perspective on this often overlooked topic.

    Best quote from The Art of Rest

    It seems that having an eclectic musical taste might help us to relax better because, after all, we have a wide range of moods too.

    —Claudia Hammond
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    Who should read The Art of Rest?

    • Anyone interested in wellness
    • Self-care enthusiasts
    • People who enjoy spending time alone

    About the Author

    Claudia Hammond is an award-winning author and psychology lecturer. She’s also a presenter for podcasts and radio shows such as BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind and the Health Check on BBC World Service. Her other books include Mind Over Money, Time Warped, and Emotional Rollercoaster.

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    The Art of Rest FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Art of Rest?

    The main message of The Art of Rest is the importance of rest and its role in our well-being.

    How long does it take to read The Art of Rest?

    The reading time for The Art of Rest varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Art of Rest a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Art of Rest is a valuable book that provides insights on rest and its impact on our lives.

    Who is the author of The Art of Rest?

    The author of The Art of Rest is Claudia Hammond.

    What to read after The Art of Rest?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Art of Rest, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • All Work No Play by Dale Sidebottom
    • Do Nothing by Celeste Headlee
    • Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
    • The Joy of Missing Out by Tanya Dalton
    • Pause by Rachael O’Meara
    • The Power of When by Michael Breus
    • Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo & Alexander Bennett
    • Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
    • The Emotion Code by Bradley Nelson
    • Overworked and Overwhelmed by Scott Eblin