I've just been reading about the importance of rest days and why sleep is important.

According to Lego Stormtroopr, sleep is something you can't work around.

I work at a desk in an office all day. Is this considered resting?

If I get less sleep one night, is it at least beneficial that I'm sedentary during the day? What effect does being at work have on my body? Are my muscles regenerating and, if so, would they be doing as much regenerating as if I were sleeping?

The sources I've read don't specifically say whether rest and sleep can or cannot be substituted or what the body is doing during each.

  • Similar to this question, fitness.stackexchange.com/q/16307/3778
    – FredrikD
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 7:32
  • there are studies done which says that you could "rest" and not fully sleep a little bit at a time all day long (I forgot, it was something like 5 minutes an hour?). However in practice, few people were able to keep it up greater than 6 months. I think part of it was, "nobody else is up at 3am, so what's the point?" Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 13:12
  • 1
    There are certain kinds of meditation that can temporarily replace the need for as much sleep, but eventually the body needs sleep, dreaming and rem cycles to continue to function rationally.
    – JohnP
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 14:37
  • At the end of your work day, do you feel refreshed and well-rested? Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 21:10

1 Answer 1


From here:

"Tim Ferriss discusses how there needs to be more of a reason than tissue regeneration for sleep. According to Sapolsky (2004), many scientists and doctors believe we need sleep so the brain can replenish its energy supplies. The brain weighs only about three percent of our total body weight, yet it consumes 25 percent of the total body energy expenditure! Deep wave sleep is when energy restoration occurs (stages three and four REM)."

"It’s very important that you don’t watch television or do things right before bed that stimulate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). Once in a while, you might stay up for a late game, but you will have no shot at entering deep wave sleep while the SNS is cranking. I always have my athletes stretch, meditate, go for a light walk, or listen to some soothing music before bed. These types of activities help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). In order for recovery to take place, you must be in PNS dominant mode."

"If you or your athletes are depriving themselves of sleep, a decrease in stress hormones doesn’t occur. Instead, they increase. To make matters worse, a lack of sleep will cause both growth hormones and sex hormones to decrease."

From here:

"As sleep is divided into stages, the roles of sleep likely depend upon the stage in question. Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep appears to play a role in the restoration of the nervous system and energy conservation. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep seems to be important in local brain regeneration and modulating emotions. REM sleep appears to prepare animals for waking behavior; animals awakened from NREM sleep demonstrate impaired sensorimotor function in comparison to those awakened from REM sleep (Horner et al. 1997)."

"Early work suggested that sleep deprivation could impact variables associated with body composition. One to two nights of complete sleep deprivation was associated with elevated 24-hour urinary nitrogen excretion (Scrimshaw et al. 1966), which might be expected to impair lean body mass accrual. Sleep deprivation also appears to elicit changes in appetite-related hormones that could influence food intake and body composition."

"Four days of sleep extension to ten hours per night reduced daytime sleepiness (Carskadon and Dement 1982), which might be expected to hinder performance. Kamdar and colleagues (2004) also found this as well as faster reaction times and improved moods after sleep extension."

"Sleep deprivation has been shown to impair the immune and endocrine systems (Reilly and Edwards 2007), which are crucial to recovery from exercise. Acute sleep deprivation has been shown to lower testosterone and aggression in men (Cote et al. 2012), which could reduce motivation in training and blunt adaptations due to the stimulatory effect of testosterone on muscle protein synthesis. Disrupted sleep has been associated with reductions in resting heart rate and core temperature (Vaara et al. 2009), aerobic capacity, and aerobic enzyme activity (Vondra et al. 2001)."

"The National Sleep Foundation provides the following generic recommendations:

•Ages 1–3 years old, 12–14 hours per night •Ages 3–5 years old, 11–13 hours per night •Ages 5–10 years old, 10–11 hours per night •Ages 10-19 years old, 8.5–9.25 hours of sleep per night •Adults, 7–9 hours of sleep per night"

Also look up Chad Aichs. He has written a lot on sleep and lifting.

Perhaps the second article closes the best, "Sleep is something that we should all strive to improve if we value our health and performance."


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