A whole body of scientific studies has shown the importance of sleep for repairing the body and the mind.
Sleep is where we process what we’ve learned and where the body integrates new physical and intellectual information. It’s where connections are made and creative ideas are born.
Of course we don’t need science to prove this. Look at any wisdom tradition and you’ll see that some concept of rest is built into the fabric of life.
A Sabbath is crucial not just as a break from work, but as a component for building.
Every yoga practice ends with savasana, also known as corpse pose or “the nap at the end of yoga class.” Savasana is where the body integrates everything you did. The yogis say that without savasana, the entire practice that came before is wasted.
Savasana is the Sabbath of a yoga practice.
In music, the rests are essential to the melody. In a speech, a well-placed pause creates emphasis for an important point. The negative space in a piece of art shapes the piece.
These pauses and spaces allow us to soak in what we are experiencing, hearing, seeing, feeling.
Without this time to integrate what we experience and learn, our efforts are wasted. Nothing will stick.
My physical therapist gave me a lecture about the importance of sleep to the process of retraining my body to use the proper muscles and mechanics.
Naps and other forms of rest can feel self-indulgent; a luxury for those who have time to spare and little to do.
But they are not an indulgence. Without them, the efforts you put into doing are wasted.
Rest is part of the work.