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Does Reading Help You Sleep?

March 3, 2021


It’s a routine that’s been around for decades: hop into bed and grab a book to wind down before lights out. But, as a company obsessed with getting the best night’s rest, we wondered: Will Reading Help You Sleep?

According to Sleepjunkie.com: “Compared to only 64 percent of non-bedtime readers, 76 percent of bedtime readers report being satisfied with their sleep quality. Not only that, but over a week, bedtime readers clock an extra hour and 37 minutes than non-bedtime readers—that’s a lot of precious Zs.” The only issue with these stats – which came from a survey of 1,000 – is that they are based on personal responses, so let’s see if science backs up these findings.

A study done in the UK by cognitive neurologist Dr. David Lewis of the University of Sussex found that reading a good book before sleeping can reduce stress by 68%. The study also found that reading is a better stress buster than listening to music, sipping a warm drink, or going for a walk.

According to Dr. Lewis, “This is more than merely a distraction but an active engaging of the imagination, as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.”

Do You Have To Be A Strong Reader To Get Benefits?

No! It only took 6 minutes to see the stress reduction results. And there are several other benefits from trying out a good book before bed, such as improving your brain health. In studies hoping to find cures to Alzheimer’s, reading was found to strengthen the brain and slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s. This is excellent news for Sleep Apnea patients as a new study link Alzheimer’s with Sleep Apnea.

Does It Matter What I Read?

It doesn’t matter whether you prefer mystery or sci-fi, fact or fiction, but there is an interesting benefit to reading fiction: it appears to make you more empathetic! Readers of fiction tested higher than non-fiction readers in a study conducted by Medical News Today. While that is interesting, I’d argue that reading something you don’t enjoy might make it harder to sleep, so stick with topics you love!

Can I Read From My Laptop?

Reading from a regular screen, such as a laptop, a phone, an iPad, or even a Kindle Fire, can negatively affect your sleep because of the blue light it emits. A regular book is a better choice, or a Kindle Paperwhite without glare or blue light will help you sleep after reading.

Is Reading Better Left Outside The Bedroom?

We hear that the bed should only be used for sleep and sex, but many people don’t have the luxury of a quiet spot away from distractions and close enough to the bed to read. If you do, use it. Otherwise, don’t let this concept take away from the focus: reading before bed is good for you, no matter where it takes place.

If you consistently have trouble sleeping, it might be time for a sleep study. Get in touch using our form, and we can get you set up!

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