13 Books For Insomniacs To Help You Get Through Your Sleepless Nights

It's well past midnight, you have to get up in a few hours for work, but you just can't fall asleep. You tried watching Netflix, and even listening to some soothing nature sounds, but nothing is working. It's time you turned to that thing in your room that holds all the answers (no, not your iPhone): your bookshelf, because these books for insomniacs might actually be able to help.

Researchers have shown that reading can help you de-stress and fall asleep more quickly. Though you may want to think twice about using a tablet or e-reader at bedtime, which studies show keep you awake for longer and results in less REM sleep, reading a physical book can be just what the doctor ordered to assuage your bout of insomnia. Reading by lamplight, curled up in bed, can help to calm you down and send you off to dreamland with visions of wild adventures, untamed romances, and unknown worlds. While some page-turners keep you up all night, sure, there plenty of books filled with beautiful scenery, dreamy language, and calming tone to help carry you off to the land of Nod.

Here are 13 of those books to help you fall asleep at night. Sweet dreams, friends.

Image: markjsebastian/flickr

by Sadie Trombetta

'Einstein's Dream' by Alan Lightman

If the title isn’t enough to convince you Einstein’s Dream is the perfect bedtime book, just skimming page after page of imaginary realms and alternate realities will be. A fictional collage of a young Albert Einstein’s dreams, Alan Lightman’s bestseller mixes dreams with reality and science with creativity in a stunning story of imagination.

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'The Book of Speculation' by Erika Swyler

Mermaids, carny folk, mystery, and magic collide in this breathtaking debut novel. Complete with two-color illustrations, The Book of Speculation is a dazzling, magical journey into the unknown that will carry you off to a (sleeping) fantasy of your own.

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'The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle' Haruki Murakami

When it comes to the line between the waking world and the one of dreams, no one does it better than Murakami. Though most of his inventive and mystical novels will do the trick, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle spends so much time in the realm of dreams and fantasy that it practically holds your hand and carries you off to dreamland.

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His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman

Remember reading the Harry Potter series under your blanket with a flashlight? Who says that has to change! If you’re a YA-lover but you’ve exhausted J.K. Rowling’s series, try Phillip Pullman’s dark, fantastical journey into another time and another world.

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'The Ocean At The End of the Lane' by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman might have been responsible for your nightmares in the past — admit it, Coraline scared your pants off — but The Ocean at the End of the Lane will send you off with sweet dreams, I promise. Filled with fantasy and imagination, and underlined with sweet notes of nostalgia, this short book’s moving story of childhood, family, love and loss, will soothe you to a peaceful sleep.

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'One Hundred Years of Solitude' by Gabriel García Márquez

Lyrical and magical, Gabriel García Márquez’s most beloved novel tells the story of one mythical town’s history through the unforgettable Buendía family. Magical and lyrical, the unparalleled storytelling in One Hundred Years of Solitude makes it a nightstand staple for anyone who needs a bedtime tale.

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'The Manual of Detection' by Jedediah Berry

Although mysteries are the kinds of books that keep you up all night, Jedediah Berry’s detective novel brings you to an unexpected dreamworld filled with fantasy and magic that just might lead you to a dreamworld of your own. Imaginative and intriguing, The Manual of Detection is perfect for mystery-lovers looking for a book to help them find sleep.

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'The Signature of All Things' by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Signature of All Things walks the line between the scientific and the spiritual through the lens of the Whittaker family, specifically the beautiful and brilliant Alma. An expansive novel about knowledge, art, love, and desire, Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling novel will fill your dreams to the brim once you drift off to sleep. You might even wake up with an epiphany.

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'Under the Wide and Starry Sky' by Nancy Horan

Who hasn’t dreamed of epic romance and true love’s kiss? Under the Wide and Starry Sky is the stirring, true love story of legendary author Robert Louis Stevenson and his eventual wife, Fanny Van de Grift. Brimming with passion and intensity (and historical accuracy), this novel about genuine romantic partnership will have you swooning your way to your own romantic dreams.

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'The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared' by Jonas Jonasson

Travel across the time and place with Allan Karlsson, and eccentric 100-year old man who has traveled everywhere and dined with everyone, from Joseph Stalin to Churchill to Mao. Charming and witty, The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is fun and exciting, but it won’t keep you up all night. It’s just the right balance of outlandish action and heartwarming characters that it will carry you off to sleep with visions of foreign worlds and dear old friends.

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'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll

When you can’t sleep, take a journey to the bizarre, absurd world of Wonderland. If you’re having trouble finding dreams of your own, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland will surely give you enough inspiration.

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'A Midsummer Night's Dream' by William Shakespeare

One of Shakespeare’s most celebrated comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a hilarious and lighthearted story guaranteed to put you to sleep with a smile on your face. With its poetic language and dreamy, fantastical plot lines, could you think of a better story to send you off to dreamland? I didn’t think so.

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'The Old Man and the Sea' by Ernest Hemingway

Filled with beautiful imagery and simple but elegant language, The Old Man and the Sea is a short but powerful story of courage and personal triumph. One of Hemingway’s most beloved stories, this classic will lull you to sleep with the sounds of crashing waves and images of the vast, blue ocean.

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