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Does Reading Before Bed Actually Improve Sleep Quality?

benefits of reading before sleep

It is a popular recommendation to read before bed. This practice begins from the nascent stages of our lives when our parents read to us before tucking us in. As adults, we practice the same with our children. However, in the midst of this, we tend to forget the importance of reading before bedtime for ourselves.

One such pioneering study conducted in early 2009 from Sussex highlighted that reading for even six minutes before bed can reduce stress up to 68%. In another research conducted to understand the sleep architecture of adults, it was noted that a majority of sleep-related problems are influenced by stress and anxiety.

In light of this, we focus on how and why reading before bedtime can improve sleep quality. You can also read about other unconventional techniques for improving sleep, how to build a sleep routine, and ideal positions for boosting sleep here.  

Bedtime Reading Alters State of Consciousness

No matter what the topic is or what book you pick up, scientists believe that reading shifts your focus by narrowing the concentration into the world of words. This essentially can alter your state of consciousness. This is because your mind is in an alternate universe leaving your troubles behind. Consequently, reading eases any tension, slows your breathing, and relaxes the muscles, making it easy to fall asleep.

Moreover, reading is a better alternative to watching TV or binging on a show. The blue light emitted from electronic devices sends signals to the brain to stay awake and alert. As a result, using electronics before will always work against your sleep.

Bedtime Reading Makes You Sleepy

Reading a book involves using the eye muscles to move left and right continuously as you read. To keep track of what’s going on, your brain is also exerting focus to keep your concentration high. This is said to induce a state of sleepiness after a long day.

Moreover, location-based reading plays the trick too. Reading on your bed tells your brain that its bedtime, and when paired with overworked muscles, drowsiness gets induced easily.

Tips to Incorporate Reading as Bedtime Habit

If you are not an avid reader, you may not find it as easy to just pick up a book and read with concentration before bed. Therefore, we recommend a few tips to incorporate reading as part of your bedtime habit.

  • Start by picking up a book that is light and that does not increase your anxiety;
  • Don’t try to experiment with books that you wish to learn new subjects from. Keep such books for the day. For the night, the idea is to improve sleep and not get overwhelmed with an unknown topic.
  • Start by reading for 10 minutes every night and gradually increase the time as per your need. Don’t try to overachieve by reading as much as you can. Remember, this exercise is to put you to sleep, and not keep you awake all night.

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