If your head is full of decisions to be made, things to remember and experiences to process, winding down after a long day can be quite the challenge and you can have trouble sleeping. Does that sound familiar? A good, old-fashioned method to relaxing before sleep is to read a book. Here is why:
1. Leave your worries behind
When it’s time for bed and your mind is racing, immersing yourself in a good book can take your mind off the to-do lists for tomorrow and what else is on your mind.
If the story is sufficiently interesting or compelling, you get distracted from whatever is on your mind and you can’t help but relax. As you become absorbed in your book, your troubles will fade off. Worry about them tomorrow, if you must.
2. Fall asleep fast
Children love their bedtime stories and many parents also enjoy this quiet time where they can be close to their kids. Bedtime storytelling is a ritual where you can show affection and where the kids can wind down and prepare themselves for sleep (and chances are that they end up falling asleep faster with it than without). Why not take this up again as an adult?
Many of us have experienced dozing off during reading. It is perfectly normal when you are stationary, comfortable and warm. If you are reading a book that is a little dry or have reached a boring section, you might fall sleep even faster.
3. Allow yourself some peace
In our busy lives with devices that ring or buzz on every hour of the day, allow yourself a quiet and peaceful time where you can concentrate on just one thing. Leave your smartphone, computer or tablet in the room next door and curl up in bed with a great book. Sounds divine, doesn’t it?
4. A book does not emit any light
Your smartphone, TV and tablet all emit a blue light, that tells your brain that it is still daytime. A printed book on the other hand, only requires the warm light from the bedside lamp and for you to enjoy it.
Read more about light’s effect on your sleep quality
5. More benefits from reading
There are several other benefits of reading than just the effect on your sleep.
Some of us might feel that our attention span has decreased during the last few years. When you scroll through emails or social media (maybe even before bedtime), you don’t concentrate like when you let yourself be immersed in a story. When you read a book, you have to focus on a single plot or topic for several minutes. As a result, you become better at concentrating.
During a normal day, your main focus is probably yourself. By engaging with a story, you see the world from someone else’s angle: You feel sorrow, joy, disappointment etc. along with the main character and become more empathic in the process.
Reading provides you with information – in other words, you get smarter. There is no reason to feel obligated to read heavy scientific dissertations. Romantic novels, fantasy, memoirs etc. will expand your vocabulary and exercise your brain.
Great classics to read at bedtime
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This classic takes place in the 1800’s England and is a romantic novel about Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Millionaire Jay Gatsby lives in the 1920’s USA is in love with the beautiful Daisy Buchanan
Out of Africa by Karen Blixen
The author’s memoir of her 17 years on a coffee plantation in Kenya.
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The story of fatherless David Copperfield, who goes through one obstacle after another, but never loses his spirit.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Young Edmond Dantès is unrightfully imprisoned. He makes friends with his neighbour inmate and manages to turn his life around.