Many of us remember a bedtime story ritual when we were little nippers and science suggests there’s a good reason why parents employ this strategy worldwide. Indeed, if you read before bed then the science suggests that you’re more likely to unwind and get a restful night’s sleep. Unfortunately, many of us bypass this ritual as we get older as we replace paperbacks with binge worthy Netflix series and mindless scrolling. Well, we’re here to convince you to step away from those electronic devices and become a born-again book worm. Here are our top 4 reasons why you should read before bed.
Stress is sleep thief and is the number one reason why most people don’t get enough of it. Stress raises cortisol levels, that pesky stress hormone and raises adrenaline too. These two things combined can make us feel agitated, alert and not in the right headspace for the land of nod. Therefore, it makes sense to employ as many stress relieving strategies as possible. Whilst a hot bath and a warm non caffeinated drink can help, evidence suggest that reading is a more effective tool. In fact, a 2009 study by Exeter university found that if you read before bed then you can reduce your stress more efficiently than any of the other tried and tested methods.
Furthermore, it doesn’t matter what type of book you like to read before bed as the effects are just as powerful. So, if you like to read high octane thrillers that keep you hanging on a cliff edge you can still indulge in these. The main priority is to get a book engages your imagination and helps you to ‘lose yourself’.
With such much viewing choice available it’s hard to not get sucked into something on that hypnotic box otherwise known as the TV. Let’s be honest, who hasn’t said ‘just one more’ at well past your bedtime when hooked on the latest binge worthy series. Unfortunately, whilst you might feel a sense of accomplishment when finishing a series in a couple of nights, your sleep will pay the price. Besides the suspense of cliff-hangers that make you want to keep going, TV’s emit blue light. This blue light can disrupt the production of melatonin which is responsible for making you feel drowsy. Indeed, reading before bed can help to break your TV habit and consequently you’ll get a better night’s kip.
If you read before bed then you could see a rise in your emotional intelligence, otherwise known as empathy. This can be explained by the fact that reading enables us to understand more of the world than we can in ‘real life’. Furthermore, books encourage the reader to essentially put themselves in the shoes of another person. Indeed, empathy is a valuable life skill that when honed can be beneficial in all areas of life.
You might have the fastest scrolling finger in the West, but modern-day technology is eroding concentration levels at an astonishing rate. So, if you’ve got the attention span of a gnat then reading could be the perfect antidote. This is because reading a book forces you to exercise your concentration levels as you can’t really skim read a book if you want to fully immerse yourself in the story. This is known as deep reading and it’s crucial for rewiring the brain. As the old adage goes you need to use it before you lose it. Oh and congratulations if you managed to concentrate on this full article!