Is reading before bed a good idea? Does reading help you sleep?

Reading before bed is an age old tradition – but does it actually help us nod off?

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…

Should you ditch technology before bed time?

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.

We scan, we skim, we browse, but how often do we read?

Whether looking at Facebook posts, chatting online, playing video games or surfing the web, you’re probably keeping yourself from a restful night.

Some ways technology affects your sleep includes:

  • The blue light emitted by screens restrain the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your circadian rhythm and helps you get to sleep.
  • Technology 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.

The benefits of reading before bedtime

So, is reading a book 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 in a page turner before bed can help:

  • Improve cognitive function
  • Reduce stress levels
  • Reduce cortisol levels (a hormone released in response to stress)

Reading before bed will also help you perfect your bedtime routine and get a great night’s sleep.

Can reading combat insomnia?

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.

According to a study conducted in 2009 by researchers at the University of Sussex, opening a book before you go to bed can help you cope with insomnia.

The study showed that six minutes of reading reduces stress by 68%, clearing the mind and preparing the body for sleep.

Dr. David Lewis, a psychologist and author of the study, 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.

Do you read before bed? Does this help you get a good night’s sleep? Let us know in the comments below. 

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