Do This One Thing Before Bed to Sleep Better All Night


Do you find yourself restlessly lying awake in bed, counting down the hours until your alarm clock goes off?

We’ve all been there and know all-too-well the way that a restless night can impact you for days to come.

Not only does a poor night of sleep leave you feeling like the world is ending the next day, but it can also impact your sleeping schedule for days after. 

Especially when you’ve done all the “right” things like cutting caffeine in the afternoon and putting your phone aside, there is nothing more frustrating than feeling wide awake as the hours roll past; And sometimes, no matter how hard you try to relax and unwind, this prospect seems next to impossible. 

If you’ve tried everything in the books and are still struggling to sleep, there is one small trick that may help you — and it’s so much more simple than you might think: Reading.

Studies have shown that a book before bed might have a serious impact on your ability to sleep and the quality of shut-eye you get. 

Below, we’ve compiled the benefits of reading before bed.

Why Reading Before Bed Helps You Sleep

The nighttime ritual of reading to children before bed actually has some solid reasoning behind it. In fact, reading has been proven to reduce cortisol levels: A.K.A., the stress hormone. According to She Knows,“a body with lower levels of cortisol is more likely to sleep soundly, and thus cope with the following day’s stressors more calmly.” By getting into a good book before drifting off, you can reduce your cortisol levels — thus falling asleep more easily and sleeping more soundly throughout the night. 

Additionally, reading before bed can help take you away from other distractions that might seem tempting when you’re lying awake restlessly. Unlike turning on your phone or pulling up Netflix on your laptop, reading won’t expose you to blue light like your tech devices would. You’ve likely heard that it’s bad to use your phone before bed, but scientific studies have shown that it’s worse than just the brightness. 

Blue light in particular can suppress melatonin, thus throwing off your circadian rhythm. If that sounds bad, it’s because it is; without natural cues from your body telling you when to sleep, it can make it nearly impossible to drift off at night. 

How Long Should You Read Before You Go to Bed

So it sounds great in theory; but do you really have time to put aside for reading before bed? Good news, if you’ve got six minutes to spare, you definitely have enough time to garner the benefits. According to a study conducted at the University of Sussex, the Cognitive Psychologist,  Dr David Lewis, concluded that just six minutes of reading before bed is enough to “significantly relax” and reduce stress levels by 68%.

Sleep Advisor shares some tips to find out the perfect amount of time to set aside for you and your sleep needs. The idea is to read long enough for your brain to wind down, but not so long that you cut into your sleep time. “Try reading for 20 minutes to start. If you find that you’re tired before the twenty minutes are over, then consider reducing the time to ten to fifteen minutes.” It’s different for everyone, so experiment a little to figure out what works best for you and your lifestyle. 

Other Benefits of Reading Before Bed

In addition to helping you sleep better, reading before bed has a plethora of other benefits that extend into your waking hours. Reading in general improves creativity and concentration, so adding a few minutes every night will have an impact here as well. Along the same line, GQ reports that those who read before bed earn an average of $4,000 more per year. Likely due to reduced stress and improved memory function, reading before bed might just make you a more productive worker, and add more cash to your wallet

Much like reading new words improves your vocabulary, reading stories about lives different from your own can also teach you about empathy — in turn making you a better friend, partner, and colleague. Better yet, studies have shown that reading books can even prevent you from getting dementia in old age. If better sleep wasn’t enough to convince you alone, all of these added benefits make a few minutes of reading sounds like a pretty great deal, all in all. 

What Should You Read Before Bed

While everyone has their preferences, it’s generally best to choose something that is engaging and that you actually enjoy. “While a boring book could put you to sleep faster, you won’t find the experience to be as pleasurable,” Sleep Advisor shares. “Which will make you less likely to develop a reading habit before your bedtime.”