We all know that sleep is important. But what you do before bedtime is just as crucial! Your habits can make a huge impact on your sleep and health.
Many people like to read before bed. If this sounds like you, you’re in luck. There are so many advantages of reading before going to sleep. Some might even surprise you.
If not, you might want to start. You’ll get these 5 awesome benefits if you read before bed.
5 Benefits Of Reading Before Bed
1. Relieves Stress
Reading before bed benefits your stress levels. It’s actually considered to be a form of therapy. The American Heart Association even pegs it as one of the best ways to relax.1
Otherwise, chronic stress can have a negative effect. It raises your levels of cortisol, an adrenal hormone nicknamed the ‘stress hormone’. Having too much can lead to poor immune function, menstrual problems, anxiety, abnormal heart beats, and acne.2 High levels are also linked to weight gain and an increased risk of central obesity.3
However, reading for pleasure will keep your cortisol in check. You’ll be able to ward off countless diseases and even stay in shape.
2. Promotes Better Sleep
If you want to sleep better, adopt the ritual of reading before bed. It’ll relax your body and prepare it for a good night’s rest. And when it becomes a routine, you’ll develop a regular sleep schedule. It’s one of the best things you can do for your health.4
When possible, read a physical book. Tablets and e-readers emit blue light, which can mess with your circadian rhythm. These electronics can actually decrease the quality of sleep.5
Obviously, tablets and e-readers are more convenient. But try to use them during the day. Come nighttime, actual books are the better choice.
3. Improves Cognitive Function
It’s possible to enhance your mental function. Start by reading books before bed, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. It will increase your brain’s activity and encourage healthier connections between cells. Better yet, reading can encourage the generation of new brain cells.6
Because reading leads to better sleep, your memory will also improve. This is due to the strong relationship between sleep and memory. According to the Asian Journal of Psychiatry, sleep is crucial for normal functioning and memory making. It’s even more important for people with depression and schizophrenia.7
4. Prevents Dementia
Reading before sleep gives you another chance to fight dementia. It’s all thanks to the strengthening of cognitive function. Specifically, reading also slows down the mental decline, so dementia is less likely.8
Even if you develop dementia, symptoms will show up later in life. Reading has a protective effect that significantly slows down the onset.9
The best part is that it’s never too late to start. Reading later in life has been shown to have great effects, too. So no matter your age, reading before going to bed will benefit you.10
5. Boosts Social Skills
According to a study published in Science, reading helps you understand the mental states of others. It enhances your empathy, so, it’ll be easier to relate to people. Reading before bed provides an opportunity to flex these social skills – all without leaving home!
These benefits are stronger if you read fiction. However, any genre will do. It helps you learn about a situation through someone else’s eyes. As a result, you’ll have a healthier theory of mind or the ability to comprehend that others have different feelings.11
Don’t limit yourself to books. Reading magazines, newspapers, and comic books will have similar benefits. It’ll do your mind – and body – a world of good.
|↑1||Four Ways to Deal with Stress. American Heart Association.|
|↑2||Stress and your health fact sheet. Women’s Health.|
|↑3||Barrington, Wendy E. “Perceived stress, behavior, and body mass index among adults participating in a worksite obesity prevention program, Seattle, 2005–2007.” Preventing chronic disease 9 (2012).|
|↑4||Healthy Sleep Tips. National Sleep Foundation.|
|↑5||Grønli, Janne, Ida Kristiansen Byrkjedal, Bjørn Bjorvatn, Øystein Nødtvedt, Børge Hamre, and Ståle Pallesen. “Reading from an iPad or from a book in bed: the impact on human sleep. a randomized controlled crossover trial.” Sleep Medicine 21 (2016): 86-92.|
|↑6, ↑9||Stay Mentally Active. Alzheimer’s Association.|
|↑7||van den Noort, Maurits, Esli Struys, Benoît Perriard, Heike Staudte, Sujung Yeo, Sabina Lim, and Peggy Bosch. “Schizophrenia and depression: The relation between sleep quality and working memory.” Asian Journal of Psychiatry 24 (2016): 73-78.|
|↑8, ↑10||Could lifelong reading protect against dementia? NHS Choices.|
|↑11||Kidd, David Comer, and Emanuele Castano. “Reading litedrary fiction improves theory of mind.” Science 342, no. 6156 (2013): 377-380.|