It is a common occurrence in adults to neglect the habit of reading before bed.
In 2018 25% of Americans say they have not read a single book in the past year.
A scary result, considering the amount of time spent every day in scrolling social media and reading articles about celebrities’ lives.
This kind of reading is not beneficial in any way – not physically, nor mentally.
But why and how should we make reading our friends?
I have heard the claim that you should not read before bed because it awakens the imagination and therefore you will fall asleep harder.
It is misleading without being put in a context.
It actually depends on what kind of books you choose to read before calling it a day.
In addition, research tends to prove that reading at that time of the day is the most beneficial.
Here are 10 reasons which will make you adapt to this habit as soon as possible:
Researchers from the University of Sussex conducted a study in order to see if stress levels are being influenced by reading, especially before bed.
It turned out that even six minutes of reading can reduce your stress levels by as high as 68 percent!
It is believed that due to the fact we get lost in the book, focusing completely on the plot, we let go of the real-world problems.
This eventually results in lowering the muscle and heart tension.
Yet you have to be careful what genre you choose – thriller, horror, the mystery should be avoided since the suspense might make you stay awake instead.
So it is better to stick to calming and inspirational books that will have a positive impact on your mood.
If both your body and your mind are relaxed, it is certainly sure that your sleep quality will be better.
Take the children who love good stories before bed as an example – this leads to inducing sleep.
Reading calms the mind and clears or at least minimizes thoughts that may disrupt us.
If you find it hard to deal with them, this might be the solution for you!
According to research reading before bed will make you more creative and passionate about your projects.
It is no coincidence that the majority of executives, investors, and leaders in any area take the time to read before sleep.
It helps them not only unwind from the busy day they have had, but also train their creativity and give them new ideas or career approaches.
Later in the article, you can learn what some famous successful people prefer to read before bed.
The blue light emitted from screens suppresses the brain’s ability to secrete melatonin, the hormone responsible to make us feel sleepy.
Therefore the exposure to any gadgets like smartphones, laptops or even television can worsen the quality of our sleep.
It is recommended to put aside all devices at least an hour before going to bed.
This also includes e-book readers, even though some of them do have a blue light filter.
Grab a physical book instead and feel its magic happening!
Just like in the dog’s experiment of the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, creating the habit of reading before bed can start to act as an effective sleep-inducing habit.
This way you develop a virtual relation between reading and sleeping.
As it will become a signal for the brain that it is time to call it a day, falling asleep will become easier!
With all the new technologies and our hectic daily routines, we have started to lose our ability to concentrate.
We are constantly trying to catch up with everything by “multitasking”.
This approach does not always work though. Instead of helping us to complete all of our tasks, we often end up with almost no work done.
On the other hand, reading can help in such miserable situations.
It will force us to process the information without the visual aids smartphones and computers provide.
Thus we will train our brains to concentrate and again wake up our imagination and creativity.
You may have heard the quote: “The quality of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts”.
But it can be said that it depends upon the quality of your sleep as well.
If we wake up well-rested, we will have more energy and motivation for the day that is ahead of us.
Reading before bed almost ensures that we will get a good sleep.
With an improved sleep pattern, your body is likely to feel re-energized in the morning and your mind – relaxed.
Most often our dreams are a product of the thoughts we have had before bed.
Consequently, if you have had troubles during the day or something else worries you, you might experience a bad dream.
In turn, the right book before sleep will make you concentrate on a pleasant plot and calm your mind.
Afterward, you might dream about your favorite character and what’s better?
Surely, reading is beneficial in general.
But having to read on the bus or in any other noisy place might ruin the whole experience.
Evenings and nights at home are usually quiet.
If you choose to read at that time, you will get into the story much easier because of the lack of distractions.
Therefore reading before bed is considered to be a more effective and focused form of reading.
To be empathic means to have the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.
Every book has characters and a plot to which we connect to a certain extent. As we dive deep into the story, we subconsciously become a part of it.
This way we feel what the characters are supposed to feel, we try to understand their pain.
Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, has a work supporting the claim that reading makes us more empathic.
The author writes: “Narratives offer a unique opportunity to engage this capacity, as we identify with characters’ longings and frustrations, guess at their hidden motives and track their encounters with friends and enemies, neighbors and lovers.”
Furthermore, when being concentrated in what is being said and meant in the book, we also become a good listener. This is another form of empathy and understanding.
Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, says that he reads for an hour every night, even if he gets home late.
His reading topics range from public health to the history of shipping containers.
Arianna Huffington is the founder of The Huffington Post.
She takes sleep very seriously, as well as her evening reading routine.
Huffington always reads “old-fashioned” paper books and recommends banning electronic devices like e-book readers, laptops, tablets.
In 2012 Barack Obama told Rolling Stone he spends a lot of time reading reports, briefing books, studies, and intelligence assessments.
The American fashion designer Vera Wang sees her bedroom as “a refuge” as she told Fortune in 2006.
She uses part of her evenings to read over whatever her staff sends.
Tim Armstrong, CEO of The AOL, gets home around 20:00 and sits down to read a book or two to his daughters, he told The Guardian.
Reading before bed is the most effective form of reading since it is deprived of any distractions.
Ergo we can soothe our minds and transition our body from working mode to shutting it off for sleep.
An inspirational and pleasant book will positively influence our dreams and overall mood, which will lead to improved sleep quality as well.
The combination of all these benefits will make us feel well-rested in the mornings, increase our creativity and concentration levels and decrease our stress and anxiety by up to 68 percent.
So it is time to adopt the habit of reading before bed if you have neglected it for a while.
And if you take it as a ritual, good job – keep doing it this way!
Reading doesn’t have to be harmful to the eyes.
With Iris’s reading mode your eyes won’t get tired when you read from your mobile device.
You can try Iris and see for yourself!
Author: Ilina Stoyanova