What’s the Difference Between Sleep and Rest?

Certainly, most of us sleep during the night, but are we getting the rest we need? Sleep is not the same as rest. We can rest all we want, but we need quality sleep for our bodies to recharge. That includes seven to eight hours of sleep per night. If those seven to eight hours are not quality, you’re taking more than 30-minutes to fall asleep, or you’re continuously waking up throughout the night, you’re not getting appropriate sleep. 

While it’s easy to recognize the signs of poor-quality sleep, understanding why you’re not sleeping is a different challenge. Thankfully, there are ways you can improve the quality of your sleep. In doing so, you will improve your overall path to mental and physical wellness.

Sleep vs. Rest

When we don’t get enough quality sleep, it affects almost every area of our lives. When we sleep, the body experiences hormonal changes, affecting our body systems. Sleep allows the body to regenerate cells, create new pathways in the brain, and heal from the previous day. 

There are many benefits we experience from getting a good night’s sleep. Some of those benefits include: 

  • Improving the immune system 

  • Weight loss or weight gain prevention

  • Reducing stress

  • Improving mood

  • Prevent serious health problems

Key Differences Between Sleep and Rest

When we rest, the body has a similar opportunity to recharge. However, the key difference between sleep and rest is consciousness. While we feel recharged, our body does not have the chance to undergo the same hormonal changes. A state of rest is not enough for the body to repair itself. 

Additionally, we continue thinking about stressful situations when “resting.” That includes thinking about work, personal conflicts, or other struggles. Sleep is the only time are brain can fully be off. Without that state break, mental health begins to decline.

Poor Quality Sleep and Sleep Disorders

Understanding the key difference between sleep and rest will help you determine the quality of your sleep. Identifying why you aren’t sleeping can be a bit more challenging to determine. If you wake up frequently throughout the night, take more than 30-minutes to fall asleep, or are spending more time awake than when in bed, your quality of sleep is not ideal. You may be suffering from a sleep disorder. 

Sleep disorders are conditions that prevent individuals from getting quality sleep. Some disorders are more common than others. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the most common sleep disorders experienced by many. Those include:

  • Insomnia:

    As stated by the CDC, insomnia is characterized by the “inability to initiate or maintain sleep.” As with any disorder, individuals must meet certain criteria to be diagnosed. Untreated insomnia can impair your ability to function daily. 

  • Narcolepsy: 

    Narcolepsy is excessive daytime sleepiness. Individuals face an overwhelming amount of daytime drowsiness. It can be incredibly dangerous as people may experience this drowsiness at inopportune times. 

  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS):


    is an unpleasant ‘creeping’ sensation associated with aches and pains throughout the legs. 

  • Sleep apnea:

    Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that causes people to stop breathing for at least 10 seconds while sleeping. Similar to other disorders, sleep apnea causes individuals to feel daytime sleepiness. This is because their quality of sleep is disrupted throughout the night.

Treatment for sleep disorders varies. Some find counseling to be effective; others find medication more effective. Treatment is best discussed with your healthcare provider. Depending on your symptoms, they will determine a diagnosis and what other co-occurring conditions contribute to your inability to sleep. Together, you’ll create a plan to successfully treat sleep disorders, putting you on a path to better wellness.

Tips for Improving Your Sleep

Aside from sleep disorder treatment, many generally have difficulty getting quality sleep. You can do things to improve the rest you’re getting each night. Developing good sleep habits is key. Professionals often refer to this as “sleep hygiene.” It’s important to stay on schedule. That means consistently going to bed and waking up at the same time. 

Additionally, your bedroom should be an oasis. Getting comfortable sheets, making the room dark, and using essential oils or a sound machine can create a relaxing space more conducive to sleep. That includes removing electronics from your oasis, as research indicates they can disturb sleeping patterns.

Sokya Health was created to reconnect the mind, body, and soul in a way that optimizes wellness. We offer coaching, self-care, and therapy to individuals in an online space. If you find your inability to sleep is disrupting your ability to function,  reach out to Sokya Health.

Sleep is necessary for us to function every day. When we sleep, we undergo hormonal changes that repair the body and brain. Cells are regenerated, the brain creates new pathways, and we wake up more refreshed to tackle the next day. Rest doesn’t allow these hormonal changes to occur, leading to a decline in physical and mental well-being. At Sokya Health, we understand that the inability to get quality sleep directly correlates to our life choices. Your mental and physical well-being is our priority. We offer both conventional and holistic practices to help you structure your sleep schedule to get the sleep you need. If you are currently struggling to get quality sleep, are only getting rest, and are seeing a decline in your well-being, Sokya Health can help. To start your path to wellness, reach out to us today by calling 800-930-0803 and (866) 65-SOKYA.

More than 50% of Americans struggle with mental health.

Headlight is now collaborating with health plans and companies to make therapy more accessible and affordable. Speak to a Care Coordinator today.