The 42% Stress Rule


In Stylist magazine, authors Emily NagoskiAmelia Nagoski discuss how rest is important to recover from exhaustion or work related stresses.

Exactly how much rest is an “adequate” amount? Science is pretty clear on the amount: it’s 42%. That’s the percentage of time your body and brain need you to spend resting. It’s about 10 hours out of every 24. It doesn’t have to be every day; it can average out over a week or a month or more. But yeah. That much.

– Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski in Stylist

The authors stress that if 42% rule is not maintained, then our body starts taking toll on us – “It will grab you by the face, shove you to the ground, put its foot on your chest, and declare itself the victor”.

Here is what 42% might look like:

  • Eight hours of sleep opportunity, give or take an hour.
  • 20 to 30 minutes of “stress-reducing conversation” with your partner or other trusted loved one.
  • 30 minutes of physical activity. Do this with the explicit mindset of gear-switching, feels-purging, rest-getting freedom. Physical activity counts as “rest” partly because it improves the quality of your sleep and partly because it completes the stress response cycle, transitioning your body out of a stressed state and into a resting state.
  • 30 minutes of paying attention to food. Pay attention to your food for half an hour a day. This counts as rest partly because it provides necessary nourishment and partly because it’s active rest, a change of pace, apart from the other domains of your life. Think of it as meditation.
  • And a 30-minute wild card, depending on your needs. For some people, this will be extra physical activity, because they need that much to feel good. For others, it will be preparation for their sleep opportunity, because they know their brains need time to transition from the buzzing state of wakefulness into the quiet that allows the brain to sleep.

Source: How to deal with work stress: this 42% rule could help you recover from burnout | Stylist

The writes stress that the above daily time allocation is just an averages and could vary from person to person.