5 Ways Reading Before Bed Helps You Fall Asleep

Sonia Akavan
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How Reading Before Bed Helps You Fall Asleep

Reading is commonly used to help people fall asleep and stay asleep. It is one of the best ways to quiet an overly-active mind.

When we allow our mind to wander, our thoughts begin to take us to other places. This is where our imagination flourishes.

If you enjoy watching television before bed, pay attention to what happens when the show is over.

It’s common for people to have vivid images of the story they just watched. They may even picture the characters in their own lives. That’s your imagination working.

What if you read a book instead? Compared with TV, the book may feel dull and boring. However, awareness research suggests that this is the process that helps your mind relax. Conscious awareness of your thoughts holds them in your mind and prolongs the shift from a wakeful state to a dreaming state.

Reading Books Lowers your Stress Level

If you have a particularly stressful day, the last thing you’d want to do is read a book as it can increase your stress level.

However, when you have read for at least a few minutes each night before going to bed, it actually helps you fall asleep. The mechanism that helps you fall asleep is that your brain has to focus on the book, which is a distraction from your problems.

You also get your body to calm down when you read in bed as it’s a time to unwind for the rest of the day.

There are a handful of examples where reading before bed can be counter-productive. These are if you read material that’s too stimulating, like a horror story. It can give you scary ideas, which make your body tense up, and it can be difficult to fall asleep. For this reason, I suggest that you read material that is sleep-inducing like a love story or a detective novel, and the one that’s most likely to make you fall asleep is a self-help book.

Reading is an Excellent Bedtime Routine

If falling asleep is a problem for you, you should encourage a bedtime routine to help you wind down each night. Reading is a great habit to get into, as it has been shown to have some benefits both before and after sleep time.

Reading before bed helps you settle down and relax, which allows your mind to stop racing from your day and focus on the enjoyable activity that’s taking place. This is an excellent way to get your mind off of whatever is making it difficult to fall asleep.

If you only have time to read a little bit before bed, that’s okay. Spending a few minutes here and there can make a big difference if you keep that up over the course of a week or two.

If you read for 30 minutes each night, you will have invested just over 4 hours of reading time. That’s almost as much time as you spend sleeping!

Reading before bed also sends messages to your mind and body that it’s time to unwind and relax. You can think of it as priming your mind for sleep.

A bedtime routine is a great way to establish the habits that help you fall asleep at night. These habits may also help you sleep better during the day on days that don’t end with a book in your hand.

Your Body Feels Relaxed

Reading before bedtime is a great way to relax your body and mind. It helps you to disconnect from the world and can help you to fall asleep faster and sleep better.

Studies have shown that reading can relax and calm you. And what’s more it can reduce the level of any stress you may be facing before you go to sleep.

Many people that have sleeping problems also have restless minds. Reading eliminates both and helps you to feel relaxed and ready for bed.

You Move Towards a Healthier Lifestyle

According to a study, reading can help you move toward a healthier lifestyle by boosting your energy and your focus.

The world tends to move faster by the day. It encourages you to push yourself harder to get more done and eat on the run in the process.

It’s commonly said that energy follows action. With an abundance of productivity-lite books out there, find the time to read books that can help you feel more energized to achieve real, tangible life goals.

Books can make your day less stressful. So take a break from Facebook, Reddit and other time-killers. Put down the phone before going to bed and reach for a good book instead.

Reading Offers You Dreamland

Many people, after an exhausting day, often think, “I’ve had a hard day. The best thing I could think of doing is sleeping.” But tonight, you may have a different idea. You may want to pick up a book. The interesting thing is, this activity, which you may have thought of as a great way to fall asleep, can actually give you the opposite result.

If you fall asleep immediately after reading a book, you are not reading in the right way. Rather, you should read a book that’s engaging and that keeps you from getting drowsy. Reading an interesting book can be a perfect way to keep your brain active and ready for sleep. Reading in bed can also be problematic for some people, as the light from the book at the same time the light from the streetlights or the lights from the room itself can make it difficult to sleep.

But by shielding yourself with blankets or an eye mask and allowing yourself to focus on the story can be quite relaxing.

Benefits of Reading Before Bed

Reading before bed promotes a higher quality of sleep. When you read, your brain reaches a relaxed state that allows you to more quickly fall asleep, according to a 2012 study published by American Academy: Sleep and Neuroscience. Reading is a low-intensity activity, which means it allows your brain to relax and slow down, helping you fall asleep.

Reading before bed keeps you away from melatonin “ a hormone that may decrease jet lag or regulate your sleep. The hormone is released in darkness and helps you fall asleep, but exposure to light at night can fool your body into thinking that it’s actually daytime.

Reading before bed helps you focus your mind. When you read before bed, your mind is focused on the story instead of your worries and stress.

Reading before bed promotes a positive outlook. Reading a book with a positive message promotes positive thoughts, while reading a book with a negative message can help you calm down before bed.

Reading before bed may help you develop empathy and understanding of others. When you read novels, you experience the characters’ emotions along with their joys, fears, and other experiences. You connect with the characters in the story, essentially acting out their feelings in your head in an interactive way, which can promote empathy and understanding.