Reading Before Bed Encourages Healthy Sleep Habits

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written by: Savannah Johnson

Vladimir Nabokov said, “Knowing you have something good to read before bed is among the most pleasurable of sensations.” Learning how to read is something we are taught from a very young age, but do we ever stop to think about the benefits of it? I know that reading certainly has affected my own life. When I was younger, my mom would read me books before bedtime. As I grew up, I started to read my own books later and later into the night, even when I got in trouble for having my light on well into the wee hours of the morning. I honestly never really cared what the book was about, because I just wanted to read it.

Once I got to high school, however, I got busy and stopped reading almost altogether. I had homework, friends, a job, a boyfriend, and lots of other outside activities. By the time I arrived home in the evenings, I was just too tired to pull out a book. I was stressed and I had trouble sleeping, but I always assumed it was due to my hectic schedule. During my senior year in high school, I had a little extra time on my hands, so one night I decided to pick up a book. It had been years since I had read before I went to bed–and that night I slept like a baby.

We often hear that we should put away any electronic device an hour before we fall asleep because it helps our brains slow down. However, I want to argue the point that reading before bed helps us sleep better. Even picking up a book –a real book– for 10 minutes before bed can help you get a better night sleep… and of course, as college students, we all need ways to help us fall asleep. I know we are all busy and taking the time to read before bed can sound impossible, but there are a few reasons why this could be so helpful for us.

According to dreams.co.uk, reading can reduce stress, even more than calm music or drinking tea. As stated above, books also force you to put down the screens before you sleep. This means that tablet reading won’t help you as much as print books. Another great reason to read before bed is it helps you get into a nighttime routine, which the National Sleep Foundation suggests is a healthy way to regulate your body rhythms. It is a way of reminding your body and your brain that it is time to settle down and soon sleep.

Reading is good for your mind and your body in many different ways, but my personal favorite is that it helps me sleep. My challenge for you: pick up a book and read for at least 10 minutes every night for a week before you go to sleep, and see if it improves your sleeping habits.

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