What is rest now?

Abhishek Lahoti
3 min readFeb 28, 2023

My daughter still sleeps through the night. What was 8 hours a few weeks ago is now up to 10 hours of uninterrupted slumber. Before you ask, I still don’t know why, and I’m not looking that gift horse in the mouth. I’m enjoying the fewer late night interruptions whilst I can.

What I’ve learned in the time since I last wrote is what happens when she doesn’t get enough sleep in a day. That is when we pay as parents; the over-tired screaming episodes that remind us how important sleep is for a newborn. Few things can scold a parent quite like tiny wails and tiny tears.

These episodes had me thinking about the phrase “slept like a baby”. I wondered where it came from, because babies (usually) sleep quite poorly. But I realised it meant not just sleep but rest. To sleep like a baby is to truly, deeply, meaningfully rest. To rest without distraction, concern, responsibility, or weight. To rest with purpose.

I used to rest. Not like a baby would, but I was pretty good at recharging. Thanks to reading books like Why We Sleep and following insane training plans, I knew what easy changes could help me feel fresher. But, as is the classic norm, as soon as you become a parent, much of your previous life goes out of the window.

As a parent, you don’t really get to rest. In our NCT parenting class, the instructor told us she’s always answered the question, “when will I sleep normally again” with “probably in 20 years, if ever”. This is what you sign up to experience, though. It’s the trade-off for the unadulterated joy and comfort you feel when your baby nuzzles into your neck for the first time.

But what about the rest I have control over? What about when I am awake but distracted? When I am home from work and struggling to turn off, constantly checking messages to stay on top of an inbox that rarely gets to zero? When I am on my phone at all hours with some app stealing your focus, energy and time? I find myself missing out on more of those restful opportunities now. Why, in a desert of restful opportunities, have I chosen to skip the oases?

As I’ve seen from my daughter, being overtired can lead to screams and tears. And whilst I have no qualms with people who express emotion that way, I find it best that I avoid those theatrics when I can. So how do I, as a parent, a partner and a professional, find time to recharge so I can keep up with all the things I need to keep up with?

Maybe that’s the concept I should be avoiding. “Keeping up”…with a never-ending list seems like a fool’s errand.

— — —

I don’t have a full answer or immediate change to my life just now, aside from the obvious digital detoxes one can take. To me these are a great start, but not a permanent fix. That said, I wrote this out to remind myself of my 2023 plans written in early January. This includes a new goal: learning to give my mind the chance to rest and restore aka sleep like a baby.

--

--

Abhishek Lahoti

Head of Platform @ Highland Europe, advisor of startups, new father, and perpetual confused person trying to make sense of life