Why reading to sleep is good for you ... Are you read–y for bed?
In today’s fast paced world, where we have Netflix in our pocket and an increasing addiction to social media scrolling, it is refreshing to hear that 49% of Brits still prefer to read a book before bed rather than watch T.V.
But why does reading in bed help us nod off? Are all the books we choose that boring!? It’s actually quite simple if you think about it; we are in a comfortable location, our body is in a resting position, our brain is getting a workout, and our eyes are getting tired…it’s the perfect snooze scenario! But besides the positive result of inducing sleep, there are 6 additional benefits that come from reading before bed, and they just might get you to put down your device and pick up a book! Well, when you have finished reading this of course
1. Let’s start with a biggie – STRESS. It’s on the rise in today’s society and it certainly affects our ability to get a good night’s rest. But a 2009 study by researchers at the University of Sussex discovered that just 6 minutes of reading can reduce stress by 68%. A good story can transport your mind somewhere else for a while distracting your thoughts and clearing away worries.
2. BEDTIME ROUTINE. We often associate bedtime routines with children, all the good parenting books say it’s a must-do for an easy evening for everyone! And certainly, reading a bedtime story to your child has many benefits, such as exposing them to 50% more words than watching TV. But a routine for you is just as important. It helps your brain separate sleep-time from the activity-time part of our day which we relate with stress and excitement etc. It depends on the individual, but the general recommendation is to introduce 20 minutes of reading before bed when all your other jobs are done for the night. If you are not sleepy after this time, try going to bed slightly earlier to read longer rather than just extending your reading and cutting into your beauty sleep.
3. LIGHT REDUCTION. So, you are probably reading this on a device, but I hope it’s not your bedtime. We have all heard (many times by now but we seem to constantly ignore the warnings) about those dreaded blue light emissions! Our electronic devices are exposing us to shortwave blue lights which have been proven to suppress the production of melatonin in our body. This is the hormone which is essential for regulating our sleep wake cycle. Picking up a good, old-fashioned paperback is a great way to block those lights which confuse our body clock!
4. DREAM FOOD. Did you know we all dream on average six time a night? We usually dream about things recently affecting us and, not surprisingly, the most common emotion in our dreams is anxiety! Reading a good book before bed is delicious food for better dreams. Books increase our creative thoughts, draw fantastical worlds in our minds, introduce us to wonderful characters, help us see things from other peoples’ perspectives and encourage empathy. Now who wouldn’t want to dream like that?
5. SHUTDOWN. As mentioned earlier, falling asleep with a book in your hand is a natural body response! Muscles are relaxing, you’re not exposed to blue lights, breathing is slowing, your brain is getting tired from exercising, and all the while your eyes are getting heavyyyyyyy. Can you feel it? Reading something boring may speed up the process but don’t think you can just pick up any old instruction manual to nod off. If it’s too dull you mind is unfortunately likely to wander…and that rebellious hand of yours will reach for the nearest device!
6. SUPERPOWERS. Okay you might not be able to leap over the Burj Khalifa or fire laser beams from your eyes (except in those dreams we fed) but reading before bed definitely has superpower benefits for our brain. Reading a book means you focus on a single plot or topic for a reasonable length of time. It’s the complete opposite of scrolling through snippets of information and images on your social media. This results in better concentration and improved attention span in our daily activities. Reading is more neurologically challenging than speaking or processing images (yes, that’s TV again) and literally increases our brains power and health and reduces the likelihood of common brain diseases such as Alzheimers. Now that’s truly the power of reading!
So… are you convinced? Will you pick up your book tonight? Let us know if it works for you! If you need some inspiration check out the following links for great reads this summer or comment below with your fave book recommendations for us! https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/summer-2019 https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/entertainment/g3585/summer-reading/ https://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/2019/books
READ TO SLEEP WARNING – Some books are an absolute page turner and you actually don’t want to fall asleep! May we recommend in these situations you read that instruction manual in your comfy Helmii bed and in the morning check out our new Helmii sofa range - perfect for putting your feet up with some can’t-put-it-down daytime reading – and get a large cup of caffeine to accompany you!