Even after we get into our pajamas and climb into bed. It can take a little while for our minds and bodies to be fully ready to go to sleep. Which is why it is nice to have a low energy activity to do before bed. A lot of people like to watch a little TV, scroll through social media, play a few games on their phone and so on. Before all of this technology was readily available a lot more people used to read in bed. As our lives become more complicated and filled with attention grabbing technology, many are turning to simplicity in order to find more peace. Which means many are saying that reading should be your preferred entertainment of choice before bed. Should you be reading before bed?
To answer this question, we are going to work through the different pros and cons to reading before bed and how it can either help or hinder your sleep quality. Stick around to find out whether or not you should be reading before bed.
Pros to Reading Before Bed
Reading Is Relaxing
Reading is a very relaxing activity. It is often paired with snuggling by a fire, in your favorite chair, or cuddled up with a fluffy blanket. It is a soothing activity. Your body is doing little more than it would be if you were in fact asleep. Making it a great activity to do while lying in bed.
Many find the ritual of opening a book and reading to be a relaxing one. No matter what the book may be, turning off the stimulating TV or what have you and instead resting your eyes on the pages of a book is much more relaxing than other forms of entertainment.
Click the link to learn how to have a Stress Free Nightly Routine
Reading Is A Low Energy Activity
Reading is an activity that requires very little physical energy. Even though your mind is still actively working in order to read, comprehend, and flexing your imagination. Your body is nice and relaxed, all that is needed from your body to expel energy is to move your eyes and flip the pages. That is about as low energy as it gets.
You can easily get comfortable in bed and enjoy a good book before bed and all you will need to do before shutting your eyes is to close your book and shut off the lights.
Feeling low on energy? It might be due to having a high carb diet. Learn more about how carbs affect your energy in our post: How Carbohydrates Affect Your Sleep & Energy
Reading Requires Focus
Remember all of those times you fell asleep while reading your textbook? That is because it requires focus and attention to read. While reading for fun is often much easier and less challenging than reading something more challenging. It is the focus that can make it difficult to remain awake when reading.
The focus required to read can help tired out your mind. Unlike other forms of entertainment like binge watching a sitcom or scrolling through social media, reading takes some effort. Which for anyone trying to read before going to sleep is a great benefit.
Top Tip: Reading more challenging or less attention-grabbing material at night will help to tire you out. We suggest leav9ng the light and entertaining reading for the weekends.
Reading At Night Is Great For Retaining Information
If you are reading something that you are hoping to really hold onto the information from. Then reading at night is a great option for you. When we go to sleep our brains process information from the day and put it into long term memory.
When you read something right before going to sleep, your mind is more likely to retain the information and store it into your memory. Which is yet another reason why reading in the evenings is a great option.
Books Do No Emit Blue Light
Unless you are choosing to read off of a smartphone or tablet, reading is a great option for entertainment that does not involve blue light. If you are unfamiliar, blue light refers to the light emitted by most screens. Televisions, smartphones, tablets, even some e-readers emit this blue light.
The trouble with blue light is that it affects your brain the same way morning sunlight does. Which can confuse the signals in your brain. Making your circadian rhythm believe it is morning and time to stay awake. Instead of being in the dark and ready for sleep. Thankfully most e-readers and all paper books do not emit this light.
If you prefer to use a smartphone or tablet blue light blocking glasses can help to limit the affects of blue light. Can Blue Light Blocking Glasses Help You Sleep?
Reading Is Good For Your Mind
Outside of school as adults, we begin to read less and less. With so much of the information we need to get being readily available through video and audio. We just do not need to read nearly as often anymore.
This is unfortunate, especially because reading is a skill that requires regular exercise. When you do not read often it just like skipping the gym for an extended period of time. When you are not flexing those muscles and working on those specific skills, you loose strength in those areas.
Even though you know how to read it becomes more difficult to do and will take you much longer than it used to. Nightly reading is a great way to exercise those muscles and keep your reading quick and sharp.
Reading is also helpful for delaying dementia. The more you stretch and use your memory, the stronger it will be. Reading before bed has been proven to help prevent and delay the effects of dementia.
Bedtime Stories = Good Bonding Time With Children
Does your nightly read consist of more Dr. Seuss? Reading with your children before bed from very young to preteens can be a great family activity. When your child is very young it is a calming activity to get your little one to slowly fall asleep. When your child gets older it is great practice for helping them learn how to read.
No matter what age your children are, reading together is fantastic bonding time. Even when you grow out of reading together, having nightly reading time can be a relaxing nightly activity to do as a family.
You May Also Enjoy: Reading To Your Kids Before Bed: Benefits & Top 10 Stories
Cons to Reading Before Bed
Reading Can Be Too Stimulating
Sometimes reading can be too stimulating. Whether you are reading the news, a Stephen King novel, or just a very entertaining book. Different reading materials can greatly change whether or not reading before bed is a good idea.
Horror Novels, mysteries, dramas, and many other book genres can be overly stimulating and make it difficult to fall asleep. This is especially true if a book heightens anxiety or fear. When what you are reading makes you feel overly excited or scared, you are pumped with hormones that are designed to keep you safe. This also means it is going to keep you awake.
While you may love these types of genres, we definitely suggest not reading them right before bed. It has the capability to ruin your sleep and even cause nightmares.
Click the link to learn how to get rid of your nightmares: Putting Nightmares To Rest. If you love horror books and films then you may also be interested in our post: How To Sleep After Watching Horror Movies
Good Books Are Hard To Put Down
If you are a reader, then you have experienced the inability to put down a book. You get to an exciting part of a story and you just have to know what is coming next. Making it impossible to simply just stop at the end of the next chapter.
Before you know it, you have devoured the book and stayed up to the wee hours of the morning. It is a joy to find a book that is this enthralling. However, it is not the best if your goal is to get a great night’s sleep.
Reading Can Be A Secluding Activity
With our busy lifestyles, evenings are often some of the only quality time couples get to really enjoy each other’s company. This is especially true for parents. When you choose to read in the evenings before bed, unless you are reading outload as a couple. This can be a very secluding activity.
When you are watching a movie or tv show together you are experiencing a something simultaneously. Which means you could laugh together, and even discuss something from what you are watching.
When you are reading separately, this is a very secluding activity that cuts out having a bonding experience. It also cuts out the possibility for conversation and enjoying each other’s company. Which can be a huge downside to reading at night for couples.
Need help compromising on a mattress? Then you will love our list of Best Mattresses for Couples
Reading Tablets – Blue Light Downfalls
Not at forms of reading are made equally. Gone are the days when reading materials only consist of paper or hardback. E-readers, tablets, and smartphones are now filled with reading materials. You can get the latest novel on your phone in a matter of moments. Making access to books and other reading materials easier than ever!
However, the downside to this is that tablets, smartphones, and even some e-readers emit blue light. Which is very similar to the light from the sun, this keeps our brains alert and awake. This is a big downside of using smartphones and tablets to read.
If you prefer a tablet over a paper book, we suggest investing in an e-reader that does not emit blue light. Or at the very least using blue light blocking glasses to limit the negative effects.
Learn more about the downsides of tech and sleep in our post: Technology and Sleep: The Blatant Hypocrisy
Should You Be Reading Before Bed? – The Final Verdict:
Back to the main question at hand here… Is reading a good activity to do before bed? The verdict is in and we say YES! While you may get caught up in a book every now and then that makes it difficult to put down. Or perhaps your spouse would rather talk and cuddle instead of reading some nights.
For the most part, reading is a great activity to do before bed. It is a relaxing, low energy activity that you can do comfortably in bed. Allowing you to snuggle up and enjoy a bit of reading before you are ready to drift off to sleep. Keep in mind that different books may be better reads before bed than others. Don’t be surprised if it takes you a bit of time to find what types of books work best for you.