Here’s why we need more time to read, listen to music or be with nature | health and fitness | Hindustan Times
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Here’s why we need more time to read, listen to music or be with nature

health-and-fitness Updated: Sep 29, 2016 15:59 IST
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The survey respondents found reading (58%), being in the natural environment (53.1%), being on their own (52.1%), listening to music (40.6%), doing nothing in particular (40%) as the top five most restful activities that is often done alone. (Shutterstock)

What will you do to find yourself at complete rest: Reading, being with nature, being on your own, listening to music or doing nothing in particular? Better choose one fast for your own well-being as you grow old.

According to the world’s largest survey of more than 18,000 people from 134 different countries on this topic, over two thirds (68%) of the public would like more rest. Nearly a third (32%) of respondents said they need more rest than the average person, while 10% think they need less.

“The survey shows that people’s ability to take rest, and their levels of well-being, are related. These findings combat a common, moralising connection between rest and laziness,” said lead researcher Felicity Callard, social scientist at Durham University in Britain.

Rest -- a much broader category than sleep -- has physical, mental and spiritual components, the study said.

The online survey -- rest test -- found that those who felt they needed more rest scored lower in terms of well-being. Similarly, those who responded saying they think they get more rest than average or do not feel the need for more rest, had well-being scores twice as high as those who wanted more rest.

This suggests that the perception of rest matters, as well as the reality, the researchers observed.

In addition, people found reading (58%), being in the natural environment (53.1%), being on their own (52.1%), listening to music (40.6%), doing nothing in particular (40%) as the top five most restful activities that is often done alone.

“It’s intriguing that the top activities considered restful are frequently done on one’s own,” Callard said. “Perhaps it’s not only the total hours resting or working that we need to consider, but the rhythms of our work, rest and time with and without others,” he added.

The survey asked respondents to state how many hours of rest they had within the last 24 hours. On average, being younger and having a higher household income was associated with having fewer hours of rest. Further, those with caring responsibilities or in shift work which included nights also reported fewer hours of rest.

“These survey shows just how crucial it is to our well-being to ensure people do have time to rest. We can begin to try to work out what the optimum amount of rest might be and how we should go about resting,” explained Claudia Hammond, presenter of Radio 4’s All in the Mind and associate director of Hubbub -- an international team of scientists, humanists, artists and broadcasters in London. The survey was presented during BBC Radio 4’s programme -- The Anatomy of Rest.