Reading before bed is an age-old tradition, but does it actually help us fall asleep?
TEMPUR® takes a look into whether reading before bed is a good idea and whether or not you should stop watching TV or engaging with social media before you hit the sack…
Our smart phones and other electronic gadgets have become such a huge part of our daily routines that it’s often hard to put them down —even at bedtime.
Whether scrolling through TikTok, Instagram or Twitter feeds, chatting with friends online, playing video games or surfing the web, you’re probably preventing yourself from a peaceful night’s sleep.
The blue light emitted by screens restrain the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your circadian rhythm and helps you get to sleep. This can trick your brain into thinking that it needs to stay awake, keeping you alert and making it difficult to relax.
Keeping a mobile within reach can also disturb sleep, thanks to the chimes of late-night texts, emails, calls, or calendar reminders.
So, is reading in bed any better for you? The short answer, thankfully for many of us, is yes! Reading helps put your consciousness on another plane, which will induce sleep.
It helps you move into a fictional world, easing the tension and helping you relax.
Getting stuck into a page turner before bed can help:
Reading allows you to absorb new information and expand your knowledge. This is not limited to non-fiction books, even fiction can help to expand your vocabulary and exercise your brain.
In a study conducted by the University of Sussex, bedtime reading has been shown to reduce stress levels by up to 68%. This is due to people finding that reading’s ability to transport you to a different world plays a significant part in helping you relax.
Reading before bed will also help you perfect your bedtime routine and get a great night’s sleep.
While cortisol isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it helps us to wake up in the morning and to deal with stress. Unfortunately, cortisol can wreak havoc on the body if it remains at high levels. It can lead to weight gain, gastrointestinal problems, depression, and chronic fatigue. Reading before bed can help lower your cortisol levels, by reducing your stress. A body with lower cortisol levels, is more likely to sleep calmly.
Insomnia is amongst the most unsettling of sleep conditions to have to deal with and can really affect how we feel, both physically and mentally. Studies have shown opening a book before you go to bed can help you cope with insomnia.
Dr. David Lewis, a psychologist who conducted a study into this theory, says a book is “more than merely a distraction, but an active engaging of the imagination,” one that “causes you to enter an altered state of consciousness.”
It doesn’t matter what type of book you’re reading as long as you find it fully absorbing.
Tension will fade out as the words flow in, helping the body relax and paving the way for sleep.
So, while it may be time to ditch the tech, there are still plenty of reasons to get stuck into a good book at bedtime.