Results of the Rest Test

woman resting on a chaise longue

Regular visitors to the EP website may remember a post from Autumn 2015 about Hubbub and Radio 4‘s The Rest Test, the world’s largest survey into subjective experiences of rest.  The aim of the test was to investigate how different people understand and seek to rest and whether rest can be linked to well-being. A year on and with the input of more than 18,000 people from 134 countries, the results have just been published.

Summary of the Main Findings

68% of the individuals who participated in the survey would like more rest. A third said they feel they need more rest than the average person, and 10% believe they need less rest than the average person.

A question asking how much rest a participant had taken over the previous day resulted in an average of three hours and six minutes.

Participants who had experienced less rest than most the previous day, or who believed they need more rest than the average individual, scored lower overall on a well-being scale. In a marked difference, people who felt they had sufficient rest scored twice as high on well-being scales than those who felt themselves in need of more rest. This finding supports the idea that an individual’s subjective perception about whether they feel rested enough is as important as obtaining a specific amount of rest.

Participants with the highest well-being scores had rested on average for between five and six hours the previous day. Those who’d rested for longer began to experience a slight dip in their well-being score.

Top 10 Most Restful Activities

  • #1 Reading

58% of people found reading restful. The Rest Test included a scale to measure whether people felt they were flourishing, and participants who scored high on this scale were particularly likely to choose reading as a restful activity.

  • #2 Being in the natural environment

Women were slightly more likely to select this activity than men, and it scored lower in the rankings in Northern Ireland than in other regions across the UK.

  • #3 Being on your own

This was most frequently chosen by women and individuals under the age of 30. A significant number of the top ten restful activities chosen by participants are often carried out alone. It’s interesting to note that social activities including seeing friends and family, or drinking socially, placed lower in the rankings. It’s also not just introverts who rate being alone as a restful activity. Extroverts also value time spent alone, and voted this pastime as more restful than being in the company of other people.

man resting in a park

  • #4 Listening to music

This was more popular among younger people than older people, and was selected by more men than women participating in the survey.

  • #5 Doing nothing in particular

This was a popular choice for every age bracket participating in the survey, with the exception of 31-45 year-olds. Doing nothing in particular is not a source of rest for everyone however, and some 9% of participants observed that taking rest can lead to them feeling guilty or stressed.

  • #6 Walking

This is an example of how physical activity features on the list of restful activities. Alongside walking, running was selected by 8% of survey participants as a source of rest, and exercise was found to be restful by 16% of people overall.

  • #7 Having a bath or showering

This was much more popular among younger participants in the survey, with nearly twice as many 18-30 year-olds selecting this option than those aged over 60.

  • #8 Daydreaming

Daydreaming, or mind-wandering, features heavily in Hubbub’s research into rest, and its appearance in the top 10 list of restful activities gives us lots to think about.

  • #9 Watching TV

This was popular amongst more younger people than older people, and was chosen by more women than men participating in the survey. It’s interesting to note that watching TV was less popular than reading in every age group taking part in the survey.

  • #10 Meditating or practising mindfulness

The appearance of meditation and mindfulness on the list is noteworthy given the increase in wider popularity of these practices in recent years.

Below is another tune from my Greek Hammock Time Playlist, Feist collaborating with Little Wings.  One to listen to on your own in a natural environment…very restful!  Note: no peacocks were harmed in the making of this music video…

Pilates Inspiration – Aerial Silks Artist Destiny Vinley

Aerial silks artist

Aerial contortion is where one or more artists perform a choreographed sequence of acrobatics while hanging from fabric, usually silks.  Below is a video of a stunning aerial silks act performed by Destiny Vinley of Maevy Aerial Arts and choreographed in collaboration with Jamie Hodgson. This act was originally created for the June 2012 show The Book of Dreams at the New England Center for Circus Arts.

How many of the eight principles of Pilates – core strength or centering; alignment; breathing, i.e. using the breath to drive and control the moves; co-ordination; relaxation, i.e. only using the muscles needed to execute a movement, allowing others to relax; flowing movement; stamina; concentration – can you see in action during this aerial silks performance?



New Morning Pilates Class

Man doing Pilates balance

To meet demand, an additional Wednesday morning session at 10.15 has just been added to the existing timetable of Pilates classes running at The Wellbeing Studio in Clevedon. The weekly schedule of classes now looks like this…

  • Mondays: 12.30-13.30 and 19.00-20.00
  • Tuesdays: 18.15-19.15 and 19.15-20.15
  • Wednesdays: 10.15-11.15 and 11.15-12.15
  • Thursdays: 12.30-13.30, 18.00-19.00 and 19.00-20.00
  • Fridays: 09.30-10.30
  • Saturdays: 10.00-11.00

Did you catch our editorial in the latest editions of the Clevedon and Tickenham Green Paper, Clevedon Living and the Clevedon and Portishead Resident?  A surprising number of people did and are now coming to class, which is great!  Here’s one of the articles in case you missed it (click on the image to enlarge it)…

Advertorial in Clevedon & Tickenham Green Paper

To close, the best version of Hushabye Mountain (yes Dick Van Dyke’s finest moment on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!) you’ll ever hear by Richard Hawley and Lisa Hannigan…



The 5 Rhythms Ecstatic Dance


While teaching in Greece in September I discovered the deep joy that is ecstatic dance. What is it?  In essence, a very powerful form of moving meditation, a kind of dancing Pilates if you will.

The 5 Rhythms, developed by Gabrielle Roth in the late 1970s, is the best known form of ecstatic dance.  It’s suitable for all ages, sizes and physical abilities. There are no steps to follow, no choreography to learn, no way to do it wrong, just fantastic music that keeps calling you to dance, and a teacher to guide you through the process.

Just like light, sound or ocean waves, a dancing body when moving freely passes through five distinct rhythmic patterns:

  • flowing,
  • staccato,
  • chaos,
  • lyrical,
  • stillness.

These patterns continuously repeat themselves in a wave of motion. The 5 Rhythms reflect how energy flows through the body and through our lives.

Here’s a taster of the 5 Rhythms form of ecstatic dance…

5 Rhythms classes take place all over the world.  Just Google 5 Rhythms and your location to find the nearest one.

For those living in and around Bristol, I can highly recommend Bernadette Ryder’s 5 Rhythms drop-in class which takes place every Friday evening all year round from 20.00-22.30.   The venue is Studio 2 of Hamilton House, Bristol, BS1 3QY. No need to book, no experience required.  All welcome. The cost is £12 or £10 for concessions.  At the end of the class there is usually an informal ‘after cafe’ for people to chill out together over healthy teas and nibbles.

Ecstatic dance is an amazing experience.  Like a very polite, drug-free rave!  Try it.  Trust me, your body will love it.

To close, one of my favourite tracks to dance to…usually clears the floor so I’ve got plenty of room to move!!  Keith Flint in this video though – disturbing!