Rest has long been considered beneficial to patient healing; however, remarkably, there are no evidence-based experimental models determining how it benefits disease outcomes. Here, we created an experimental rest model in mice that briefly extends the morning rest period. We found in 2 major cardiovascular disease conditions (cardiac hypertrophy, myocardial infarction) that imposing a short, extended period of morning rest each day limited cardiac remodeling compared with controls. Mechanistically, rest mitigates autonomic-mediated hemodynamic stress on the cardiovascular system, relaxes myofilament contractility, and attenuates cardiac remodeling genes, consistent with the benefits on cardiac structure and function. These same rest-responsive gene pathways underlie the pathophysiology of many major human cardiovascular conditions, as demonstrated by interrogating open-source transcriptomic data; thus, patients with other conditions may also benefit from a morning rest period in a similar manner. Our findings implicate rest as a key driver of physiology, creating a potentially new field — as broad and important as diet, sleep, or exercise — and provide a strong rationale for investigation of rest-based therapy for major clinical diseases.
Cristine J. Reitz, Mina Rasouli, Faisal J. Alibhai, Tarak N. Khatua, W. Glen Pyle, Tami A. Martino
Rest regulates cardiac gene expression with implications for human heart disease.