370: Very Special Episode! Hacks and Suggestions for Getting More Rest

Very Special Episode on rest! 

We mention keeping a Photo Log in the Happier app. I mention the Rebel Tendency — if you want to take the Four Tendencies quiz to find out whether you’re a Rebel, Obliger, Upholder, or Questioner, it’s here.

In episode 357, we proposed the challenge for this year of 2022 as “Rest 22 in 22” — i.e., find a way to rest for 22 minutes each day. If you’re joining us for #Rest22in2022, you can download the free PDF worksheet to help track your daily rest. Elizabeth is having trouble with her challenge, which is to go to bed on time. We talk about the fact that some people find it easier to get themselves to do something they “should” do,” while for others, it’s more effective to think about what they “get to do.” I’m having great success with my initiative to start napping. I quote from poet Donald Hall:

I asked him [Robert Graves] how he had the energy to turn out three or four books a year. Graves had an answer. “The twenty-minute nap,” he said. I went home from my coffee with Robert Graves and lay down with a kitchen timer set for twenty minutes. When it clanged I got up, whether I had drowsed or not, and within a week had learned to take a daily short nap…to wake with a rush of energy and get to work. I have practiced the twenty-minute nap for half a century.

We asked listeners about what they do to rest

  • nap
  • observe family “Quiet Time”
  • lie on the floor at work for 25 minutes
  • arrive at school twenty minutes early for pick-up
  • meditate — we mention Dan Harris and the Ten Percent Happier app

We also asked for hacks

  • focus on a very old memory and try to remember every detail
  • exercise
  • put your feet up
  • add some airflow (or not)
  • use scents associated with rest
  • wear an eye mask
  • check with your doctor if you have daytime sleepiness — you might benefit from a CPAP machine
  • set an alarm on your phone to signal you to start winding down and getting ready for bed 

Our personal hacks for more physical and mental rest:


  • set an alarm
  • re-frame rest as something you “should” do
  • treat yourself like a toddler; treat yourself like a puppy
  • listen to an audio-book
  • play with dogs
  • experiment with different lengths of time for rest — for instance, two minutes throughout the day


  • listen to a podcast – I love to listen to the BBC’s In Our Timewhich is a fascinating podcast, and also good at bedtime, because it’s a calm conversation; for the same reason, Elizabeth likes to listen to Chris Guillebeau’s Side Hustle School. By contrast, Sleep with Me is a podcast designed to be boring
  • avoid TV
  • re-read

I quote from May Sarton:

Some of the most fruitful thinking times are when I wake after sleeping a few hours, and in the seamless time when nothing needs to be done, not even getting up, I meditate.           

–May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude (AmazonBookshop)

I mention some blog posts that might be useful: 

Speaking of podcast episodes that help people to fall asleep, stay tuned for the next More Happier episode! We’ll do an episode where we talk very calmly as a sleep story. 


  • If you need a jump-start to give yourself more rest, try the Rest Jump-starta variety of tools to jump-start your habit of rest: a 7-day SMS challenge, a tracker, ideas for using the Happier app.
  • For #Rest22in2022, download the free PDF worksheet where you can tick off your days of rest.

What we’re reading

  • Elizabeth: Listening to Eric Schwartzel, The Red Carpet: Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy (AmazonBookshop)
  • Gretchen: Re-educated by Lucy Kellaway (Amazon)

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