Anatomy of Rest

02 Nov Anatomy of Rest

BBC Radio 4 has just aired a three-part series, The Anatomy of Rest. It distilled the work of a group of neuroscientists, poets, psychologists, musicians, and philosophers, who have spent two years enquiring into the nature of rest – its importance to us, what’s going on in our brains while we’re doing it, and what the consequences are if we don’t get enough.

Rest appears to be markedly different for different people. For a minority, it means doing nothing and allowing the mind to wander. For most, resting is much more active. Reading gained the most votes among the 18,000 respondents in the show’s “Rest Test”, closely followed by getting out into nature, with listening to music the third most popular choice. For some others still, rest involves undertaking vigorous exercise. With such varied responses, what exactly is rest?

Well, the common theme, even for the most extroverted among us: the things we consider restful usually involve doing something on our own, away from other people.

To learn more about rest, and sleep in general, listen to the three part radio series on BBC iPlayer. The Anatomy of Rest is available on BBC iPlayer for the next few weeks.