Reading Before Bed: Everything You Need to Know
You might have heard of many great personalities who read books to acquire knowledge. Swami Vivekananda read books to assimilate the knowledge that lies within. APJ Abdul Kalam started his life by selling and reading newspapers. He continued reading books all his life. But why is reading books important after all? Is it only to acquire knowledge?
Imagine a spick and span room with a comfortable couch beside a beautiful indoor plant. You’re seated on the couch with your comfort pillow and window half open. Stars are gazing at you while you gaze at your book. Isn’t this aesthetically beautiful? But how reading (specifically reading before bed) can bring a lot of benefits for you? Let’s find out.
The Benefits Of Reading Before Bed
Below are some ways reading before bed benefits your body and mind.
As per one study, reading before bed can mitigate your stress by 68%. This is because when you go to bed at night, not one but many things constantly run on your mind. Reading books diverts your thoughts which lowers the run on other things. In other words, it reduces stress.
Boosts Brain Power
An empty mind is a devil’s workshop. Reading books before bed puts a stop to overthinking. It puts your mind at work. Even when you read fiction, your mind keeps itself busy reading the plot. Hence, it acts as an exercise for your brain that helps develop it.
Undeniably reading books can boost innovative thinking and nudge your creativity. Reading before bed can plant creative thoughts in your subconscious mind and shapes your dreams well.
Does reading before bed help you sleep? Indeed it does. If you suffer from insomnia or experience a lack of sound sleep, start reading books before bed as it can help de-stimulate your brain. However, reading e-books on a mobile or laptop can affect your sleep duration and quality due to blue light exposure. Also, if you have serious issues falling asleep, you can take melatonin supplements. But how long until melatonin kicks in? Typically 30 mins.
Reading just before you go to bed develops focus. Focus reading leads to better concentration. It has been observed that after reading for just 20 mins or less, one starts feeling sleepy. You can ripe this benefit with paperback books only.
Although this isn’t proven yet, we can establish a postulate that reading books before bed increases empathy. Does it ever happen to you that you are following a story and getting involved with the character’s life? Sometimes that involvement brings in the nuances of empathy inside you.
Experience Peace and Serenity
While television shows and movies can be violent, dramatic, and noisy, reading books doesn’t make your experience as much daunting. Imagine yourself reading a large book while curled up in bed with a steaming cup of herbal tea. Sounds peaceful, isn’t it? But also make sure you choose books that are calming in nature.
Increasing Your Vocabulary
Reading helps you boost your vocabulary as you come across several words and get to learn their meanings. And since reading before bed boosts your focus, you are able to grasp new words better. To get the benefits, you don’t necessarily need to read a lot of nonfiction. Even fiction and fantasy can aid in vocabulary growth and mental activity.
Promote Longer Sleep Duration
You may not have difficulties falling asleep, but you hardly ever sleep through the night. Reading just before bed may help you stay asleep longer, whereas reading late into the night may prevent you from receiving the amount of sleep you need.
What Should I Read
A beginner should read books that contain easy-peasy language and do not involve a lot of brain effort or focus, as is the case with suspense-filled thrillers. So, what books to read? Some of the top suggestions to start with are ‘The Blue Umbrella’ by Ruskin Bond, ‘What I Know For Sure’ by Oprah, and ‘Attitude is Everything by Jeff Keller’. These books are easy to digest and written in a conversational language that hooks any reader until the end. Try to buy paperbacks to avoid much screen time.
Necessary Don’ts For Any Bedtime Reader
Read before bed or not; one’s health is the most important. So, here are some things to avoid when reading before bed.
Completely avoid reading in a position that strains your neck and back. Use a pillow for the lumbar region in addition to a neck pillow. If you can, put a pillow below your knees and a bed table to keep the book so you’re reading at your eye level. It is extremely important to achieve a healthy posture.
According to research, blue light from screens can interfere with the generation of melatonin, a hormone important for maintaining our circadian rhythm, as well as reducing the amount of time we spend sleeping overall. We are likely to have disturbed sleep when melatonin production is disrupted.
Go for hand copies. They are particularly helpful in improving your focus and peace of mind.
Fortunately, some phone settings allow this blue light to affect the sleep cycle less. Yet, you should try to turn off your phone for at least 30 mins before dozing off.
Violence or Unpeaceful Stories
Avoid reading books that are about violence, fear, crime or anything unpeaceful or disturbing as that can affect your sleep. Reading such genres can also lead to nightmares or scary dreams that disturb your sleep. It is best to read romance, comedy or self-help books.
Meditation Helps In Manifesting Bedtime Reading, A Reality
Reading a book is not enough for many people to escape their problems and stress. Immersing oneself in a story may seem difficult if we cannot control our hyperactive minds. However, if we can lessen the mind-wandering, we can increase our capacity for sustained attention.
Similar to reading, meditation is a discipline that can help develop the mind. Similar to how doing push-ups repeatedly over time can make us stronger, doing mindfulness exercises repeatedly can enhance cognitive function, the capacity for concentration, and productivity.
The decision to immerse into a good book before bed may become simpler with time and repetition in a less distracted and more aware state. The capacity to settle the mind is essential to getting better sleep, whether we use a tale or meditation. And if we can relax the mind, the body will follow, enabling us to wake up feeling rejuvenated and renewed.
Do you remember when your grandmother or mother used to read stories to help you have a sound sleep? You might feel nostalgic as this certainly happened with most of the folks. But have you ever wondered, Why did they use to do this?
One explicit reason is to make us fall asleep, but it also shapes our dreams. Dreaming about the same character you heard about last night is a commonly observed phenomenon. Great parables also implicitly help to improve creativity and enhance empathy.
E-Readers Versus Paper Books
Numerous studies have shown that physical books are preferable over eBooks for improving reading comprehension. Although young people might read more rapidly on an eReader, tangible books are typically superior at helping readers remember and retain what they have read because of the pace and potential distractions of links, scrolling, and adverts.
Furthermore, reading eBooks can disrupt sleep due to the blue light effects of using phones or other devices. Hence, it is way better to read paperbacks before sleeping to ensure a timely and quality sleep.
Audiobooks – Gen Z’s Favorite
Besides a tangible option of paperbacks and an intangible option of e-books, there’s a third category of books which is a popular category for new workaholic generations. This third category is audiobooks. Audiobooks help you to listen to reading books while driving, working, bathing, etc. This category also helps you to enhance your listening skills and improve your ability to focus.
Actions speak louder than words, and your bedtime reading benefits can be manifested only when you start making changes in your habits. But, is reading before bed good? Reading before bed can improve overall mental health by keeping overthinking at a distance. So, when are you going to grab your first audiobook or paperback now?
What should you not do before bed?
You should not use your mobile or laptop, consume sleeping pills without prescriptions, intake alcohol or caffeine, and engage in workouts just before bed. These can prevent you from falling asleep.
Is it better to read or watch TV before bed?
Better to engage yourself in a calming activity like reading. But go for an actual/physical copy and not an eBook for the best results.
Is it OK to read books at night?
Reading books at night has several benefits. It makes your mind calm after a stressful day and makes it easier for you to fall asleep and get quality sleep.
How long should I read a day?
As an adult, you can consider reading for two hours a day. You can do so in two sittings of one hour each.
Is it good to read every day?
Indeed. Book readers master this skill with time. In fact, reading books improve your focus, memory and analytical skills. Reading before bed can also improve your sleep quality by relaxing your mind.
Is reading at night healthy?
Yes, reading at night before going to sleep can reduce your stress levels and thereby relax your mind. This can help you fall asleep timely.
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