Reading books at night before sleeping

Here’s why reading before going to bed is a good idea

Ditching screen time in favour of reading a book before bed will not only enhance your knowledge and creativity but also help you get a good night’s sleep.

Remember the childhood habit of reading under the covers with a flashlight long after the lights went off? Turns out, it’s a great thing to do, although not so discreetly. Reading books at night before going to bed has its host of advantages. Apart from offering you a brief escape from the day’s worries, reading before bed can also help you relax and sleep better. It’s never too late to start reading as a new bedtime routine since it can do wonders for both your mind and the body.

Reading before bedtime can reduce your stress significantly. Researchers from the University of Sussex conducted a study to find out whether stress levels are influenced by reading, especially before bed. They found that even six minutes of reading can reduce your stress by as much as 68 percent. When you read an interesting book, you become so immersed in the plot that you forget about everything else bothering you. Reading calms your mind and eventually results in calming the body by reducing muscle and heart tension.

If you haven’t picked up the habit of reading books at night, the best time to start is now. Put your phone away and just for a little while, give yourself over to reading. Ditching screen time in favour of the books lying on your shelf will not only enhance your knowledge and creativity but also help you get a restful night of sleep.

Making reading a part of your bedtime routine is easy. Keeping a few books handy by your bedside will remind you to pick them up. Setting a few minutes aside to read before bed will surely improve your sleep and over time, the quality of your life. Here are a few reasons that can help you understand why reading before going to bed is a great idea.

Reduces screen time

The latest apps and features on your smartphone are meant to make your life easier and entertain you, but overusing them can prove to be detrimental to your health. The barrage of notifications and the urge to stay updated on social media are major distractors keeping you awake beyond your bedtime and disrupting your sleep cycle by stimulating your brain. Blue light exposure from your devices can also affect your sleep. A Harvard Health article says, “While light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin, blue light at night does so more powerfully.” By investing in reading, you not only avoid boredom but also improve your sleep quality by staying away from screen time.

Alleviates stress

If you are among those who find it hard to unwind and switch off their racing thoughts at bedtime, cultivating a habit of reading books at night before sleeping can prove helpful. Reading is a good way to give your mind a break from daily stressors and worries. By lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles, reading works better than other relaxation methods such as drinking a warm beverage or listening to music. Reading something that you find engaging allows you to escape into another world through the author’s imagination and is a great stress-buster.

Enhances creativity

Reading books at night before bedtime can boost your memory and mental abilities. It is no coincidence that successful entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Bill Gates credit their success to a reading habit and make it a point to read before bed. Reading not only helps you unwind after a long day of work but also boosts your creativity by inspiring new ideas and approaches to work with. According to research, reading fiction “could lead to better procedures of processing information generally, including those of creativity.” It is essentially like looking at the world from a new perspective every time.

Promotes mindfulness

Do you spend most evenings ruminating about the events of the past or worrying about the future? If your answer is yes, you need to reframe your state of mind towards mindfulness. Constantly worrying about things beyond your control not only impacts your happiness but also your inner peace. It is important to end each day on a positive note by focussing on the present and regulating your thoughts accordingly. A good way to practice mindfulness is by reading books at night before bedtime. When you read, you are devoting your entire focus to what is in front of you and are no longer thinking about the past or the future.

Induces sleep   

Children love drifting away to sleep by listening to stories before bedtime. So why can’t adults, too? As suggested in the University of Sussex study, reading is the best way to relax as the activity can greatly reduce your stress levels. When you are relaxed and away from the tensions of daily life, you won’t find it hard to fall asleep. So, make reading a part of your bedtime routine. When you follow a reading habit, your body signals the brain that it is time to call it a day, thus, allowing you to fall asleep more easily.

Prepares you for the next day

Your sleep quality is not just about the hours of sleep you get, but also how you feel when you wake up in the morning, and whether or not you feel refreshed. When you read before bed, you switch off from the world around you and enter into a state of relaxation. Once your mind and body are relaxed, your sleep quality is bound to improve and you wake up the next morning feeling rejuvenated and prepared for the day ahead.


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