11 Feel-Good Books To Read When You've Just Woken Up From A Nightmare & Can't Get Back To Sleep
If a nightmare has got you seriously wigged out, the best cure might just be to turn on all the lights and pull out a feel-good book to read until you feel sleepy again.
I've certainly had moments where I've woken up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding and mind whirring. Those moments after waking from a nightmare can be incredibly surreal. Suddenly, everything in your room feels like a threat. Even the silence seems dangerous. Readers know more than anyone how potent imagination can be.
Fortunately, books have the enormous power to comfort me and they might comfort you, too. Even when you feel absolutely cold and alone, books can warm the room around you. They can put a protective shield up around your imagination, and prevent all the bad visions from getting in.
In fact, science has proven that reading can help you sleep better at night. Reading reduces stress, helps your body understand that it's time to shut down, and provides food for your dreams. That's why experts recommend reading before bed, and many readers will tell you that it absolutely works for them.
So, here are some feel-good books to cheer you up and help you relax after even the scariest dreams:
'The Prince and the Dressmaker' by Jen Wang
This fairy tale tells the story of Prince Sebastian, who secretly crossdresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous fashion icon Lady Crystallia. His secret weapon is his best friend and dressmaker, Frances. This is an adorable story about love and self-expression that will warm your heart right up.
'Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe' by Yumi Sakugawa
'Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine' by Gail Honeyman
This light-hearted novel will have you so wrapped up in Eleanor's world, you'll forget about your nightmare completely. Twenty-nine-year-old Eleanor Oliphant is pretty social awkward, and she somehow always manages to get herself into tricky situations. When she befriends two other social outcasts, the three rescue each other from the isolation in which they've been living.
'Herding Cats' by Sarah Andersen
The newest installment in the Sarah Scribbles series is an absolute must-read and it will put a smile right back onto your face.
'The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry' by Gabrielle Zevin
This is a lovely, heart-warming book about book people. Everything's going wrong for bookstore-owner A.J. Fikry. But when a mysterious package arrives at his doorstep, he has the opportunity to completely change his life.
'Space Opera' by Catherynne M. Valente
American Idol in space — need I say more? The civilizations of the universe compete every year in a massive talent competition show as a substitute for intergalactic war. But this year is the first contest since humans have become aware of life beyond Earth, which means it's the first time they're entering the fray...and boy are they in for some surprises.
'Right Ho, Jeeves!' by P.G. Wodehouse
P.G. Wodehouse's books are classics, and for good reason. This book tells the dastardly funny escapades of the hapless gentleman Bertie Wooster, and his butler, Jeeves. You're sure to be delighted.
'Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows' by Balli Kaur Jaswal
After her father's death, Nikki takes a job teaching creative writing at the the community center. But there was a miscommunication, and the elderly Sikh women who show up were expecting an English literacy class. When one of the women finds a book of sexy stories in English, Nikki realizes that within these modest women are a wealth of fantasies, and embarks on a mission to teach them how to express themselves.
'Odes to Common Things' by Pablo Neruda
Sometimes poetry is just the thing you need to lull you back into a peaceful sleep. In this collection, the legendary Pablo Neruda focuses his exquisite writing on the beauty and wonder of everyday items.
'The Way You Make Me Feel' by Maurene Goo
This summery YA novel is all feel-good vibes and sunshine. When prankster Clara Shin takes a joke too far, her father punishes her by forcing her to work at the family food truck. All. Summer. Long. But she soon bonds with her co-worker, Rosie, and develops a crush on a cute boy named Hamlet, so maybe the summer isn't a bust after all.
'I Capture the Castle' by Dodie Smith
This story is told through journals of 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain, who lives in a ruined castle in Suffolk with her eccentric family. She's also hopelessly in love — with the man who's currently pursuing her older sister. Cassandra is charming and charismatic, and her words will immediately transport you to early 20th century England.