I Can't Sleep: Will Reading Before Bed Help?

man reading before bed

The night is silent. The sun is long gone. Everyone in your house, on your block, and probably in the entire world is already asleep. Everybody but you.

You've tried all the conventional methods to fall asleep. You've counted sheep. You've re-fluffed your pillows. You've lowered the A/C. You've drunk a glass of warm milk. You've rolled over approximately one thousand times. You've cleared your mind. You've meditated.

Nothing has helped.

While it might feel natural to reach for the remote or fire up the computer, a little bell ringing in the back of your head reminds you that screens tend to wake you up rather than put you to sleep.

So what do you do instead? You reach for a good old analog choice. You reach for a book.

"Reading always did put me to sleep during high school," you think to yourself, fondly recalling many an afternoon class during which reading time quickly devolved into nap time.

But you're older now. Perhaps things have changed. Will reading before bed really help you sleep, or is that just a rumor circulated by book publishers to increase sales?

We did some independent research. Here is what we found.

How Reading Before Bed Helps You Sleep

Can reading really help you sleep better? The short answer is yes, and there's one very good reason why.

One of the primary reasons it works is because reading has been proven to lower stress levels.

Reading for six minutes eases the tension of stress in the human body. Unlike other methods of stress relief, reading is an active engagement that still allows you to lose yourself within another world, if only for a brief period of time. The faster you can de-stress, the faster you can fall asleep. Rather than carrying around all the stress of the day when you crawl into bed, picking up a book allows you to let go of the things hindering our minds and bodies from relaxing and sleeping well.

Elite Daily

This is great news, especially for those of us with high-pressure jobs or chaotic evening routines (such as putting the kids to bed). While some people may find comfort in a glass of wine or a mug of hot herbal tea in such moments, those techniques don't work for everyone. If you're looking for a non-liquid way to de-stress, keep a good book on your nightstand where it's visible and easily accessible, especially if reading before bed would be a new habit for you.

Speaking of habits, the National Sleep Foundation reports that sticking to a sleeping schedule and including specific nighttime rituals are two of the top ways you can foster healthy sleep. By ensuring that reading is part of your nightly routine, you can boost your chances of a good night's sleep even further.

Added Benefits

In addition to helping you sleep, regular reading comes with tons of other benefits, including increased intelligence and cognitive function, deeper levels of empathy, and lower risk of Alzheimer's Disease. There's even some suggestion that reading right before sleep can trigger more vivid and creative dreams.

One final benefit is not to be overlooked. Regular reading often leads to bragging rights.

When your friends and coworkers mention the latest bestseller and ask who's read it, your hand can be the first to go up. As the reader of your group, you will be the one to whom they turn to settle bets and arguments.

The satisfaction and pride of that alone might have you sleeping better!

Where to Start

Convinced you need a nightly reading regimen? Not sure where to start?

You are in luck. There are plenty of places to get great reading recommendations. We have listed just a few of them below.

  • Family and Friends. Although it's tempting to reach immediately for our phones and type "good books" into the search engine, by now most people are aware enough of algorithms to know that the top pages pulled up by such a search might not necessarily be the best choices. When it comes to picking books, the personal touch is so important. If you have friends and family who are readers, start by asking them for recommendations. Not only do they know books, but they also know you well enough to match their suggestions to your tastes.
  • Librarians. Public libraries are absolute treasures. Not only can you quickly and easily obtain a library card, but you can also gain access to a wealth of experience by chatting with your local librarians. It is literally their job to keep you connected to good books. Don't miss out!
  • Online Reading Groups. If you're going to search online, stay away from massive, web-crawling search engines. Instead, hang around communities like Goodreads. In such forums, you'll have access to popular books as well as honest reviews.
  • Social Media. If all else fails, put out a call on social media. We can't promise all the suggestions will be helpful, but what the medium lacks in quality, it often makes up for in quantity.

We Can Help

Here at Nest Bedding, we believe that nighttime reading can help you reach your optimum sleep levels. Not only does scientific research back it up, but we've also experienced the phenomenon firsthand. We can't wait to hear that it's done the same for you.

In one of the points above, we referenced an article by the National Sleep Foundation. In that same article, they noted that mattresses also play an important role in promoting good sleep.

Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy—about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses.

Believe it or not, some people have had the same mattresses so long that they don't even know how old they are. We're not here to judge, but we are here to tell you that if that's the case, you'll want to come and see us soon.

If you would like more information about our premium mattresses, or if you would like to chat with us about books, please feel free to contact us or stop by one of our stores at any time.

We're friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful in a non-pushy way.

We look forward to serving you!

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