If You Read Before Bed, You Need To Know How It Affects Your Sleep Cycle
by Melissa Ragsdale
Low angle view of a happy woman lying on a bed and reading before going to sleep.
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As the saying goes, book-lovers never go to bed alone... but that's not the only reason to read before bed. Studies have show that reading can help you sleep better. (Of course, the exception being those nights when you stay up all night reading because you just need to know what happens next.)

Reading is a great workout for your brain. And just like how going on a run makes your body feel good, reading makes gives your brain a healthy boost. When you're brain is happy, it's better able to do the things it needs to do to give you a good night's sleep.

Anybody who has tried reading before bed will tell you that it really does work. Even if you're just reading for 10 minutes, it makes a huge difference for your mind. Whether you're reading an action-packed thriller or even just the telephone book, it's an easy (and cheap) way to find better sleep. And no matter how busy you are, you have ten minutes to spare.

From one insomniac to another, here are some reasons why reading is a great way to help you sleep better. And after all, isn't reading just the best?

Reading reduces stress.

Researchers at the University of Sussex found that half an hour of dedicated reading greatly reduces stress levels more than several other methods of relaxation, like listening to music or drinking tea. And since stress is a major factor in insomnia, reading can help you curb some of those negative thoughts swirling around in your brain before bed.

Reading a print book means you're ditching the screens before bed.

Sleep experts advice that you avoid bright light — aka, light from your tablet or computer — in the evening if you want to get a good night's rest. So ditch the tablet, and pick up a print book right before you settle in for some dreams.

Books are dream food.

You've probably had a dream that reflected something that happened throughout the day. Most readers will tell you that they've had dreams about the characters or worlds of the novel they were reading during their waking hours. Seriously: dream food! What could be cooler than dreaming of Hogwarts?

Reading is an excellent part of a bedtime routine.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends setting up a bedtime routine of sleep-promoting activities — like making tea or reading (or both!). A pre-bedtime reading habit is a fabulous way to remind your brain it's time to sleep.

Reading before bed helps your body shut down.

Your body needs to wind down before you can get to sleep, so experts recommend you spend the last hour before sleep doing a calming activity — like reading! Just don't pick up a thriller or horror novel, unless you want to be up all night long.