One of the many habits we have, before we sleep, is reading books. Often it is a habit we pick up as children, or as we grow older. Whichever, the habit of reading books before a long and rested sleep has many scientific benefits. With modern age and technology, reading a printed copy of a book is being replaced by e-books and laptops, in forms of pdfs, etc.
Looking at computer screens, as we know, has its own harmful effects on the brain and the eyes. In much recent times, surfing through the internet, especially social media ‘home-feeds’, late at night has caused a serious problem of a disrupted sleep-cycle. This in turn has affected mental health of a huge number of young people, but older people may be harmed by it too. Reading books before bedtime has an old charm to it, but it definitely has numerous other benefits to take from it!
1.Habit of reading books reduces stress
The Telegraph has published an article about the psychological benefits of reading before bedtime. The chief benefit would be the reduced mental stress it allows. Especially comfort books that are unlikely to make the reader anxious or worried, can decrease stress levels, ensuring a better sleep.
Instead of the “doomscroll” that we usually begin on our social media sites before we try to sleep, reading for even 20 minutes can be extremely helpful! It has been proved that reading anchors us to the present, while lowering blood pressure and cortisol levels. A study undertaken by the University of Sussex in 2009 proved that reading was more effective than listening to music, drinking tea or coffee or taking a walk!
2. Ensures better sleep
At an age where most youths have a destructive sleep-pattern, reading a book before falling asleep can definitely help recover the widespread problem. This struggle will include trying not to be distracted by text message alerts or notification. Our generation definitely has a whole new set of technologies that keep us busy, with no real benefit for either health or our daily lives.
This can be related with the great universal tradition of “bedtime stories” for children. We must remember that a bed-time read can comfort our minds, help us release stress, and fall asleep better. More importantly, it helps us remove ourselves from a mental state of discomfort, and allows us to reach a world of more positivity, if one wishes to.
Reading before you sleep can reduce insomnia, engaging you in imagination and productive thought. This will pave an eased out and relaxed way into sleep. This also increases brainpower and thinking capabilities!
3. Better brainpower and mental health!
The brain, being a muscle, needs to be kept working in order to stay fit. As we know, children with the habit of reading books grow up with a larger stock of vocabulary. They also have a greater emotional intelligence, and understanding capacity. So, reading books just before bedtime will boost your brain alongside relaxing your stress.
Apart from a daily intake of new information and knowledge, reading as a habit could be an exercise for your brain’s imaginative function.
“Reading puts your brain to work, and that’s a very good thing. Those who who engage their brains through activities such as reading, chess, or puzzles could be 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who spend their down time on less stimulating activities.”realsimple.com
As already stated, reading a book can be both fun and healthy! It is much safer a way to have a productive, knowledgable activity before calling it a day. Most importantly, it can save you from the various kinds of depressions and anxieties created by the constant increase of screen-time, on social media sites, laptops, Netflix, etc.
Reading as a habit should be encouraged from childhood. So, even when the child is older and faces stress and busy schedules, they can turn back on the habit of reading before sleep!