Some of us will lose hours of sleep from getting too wrapped up in a good book, and some of us can read no more than a page or two before our eyes get heavy with sleep. But no matter what your relationship with reading, there are benefits for everyone who reads before bed. Here are five benefits of bedtime reading that will make you excited for the moment when you can get home and curl up with a good story.
1. You’ll get smarter. Research shows that regular readers perform far better on cognitive functioning tests than their non-literary peers. Studies have also shown that bookworms generally have a bigger vocabulary and general knowledge base, better analytical skills, and stronger focus and concentration.
2. You’ll protect yourself from mental illness. In the U.K., psychiatrists have begun prescribing book reading to clients who report depression or anxiety, and have seen symptom alleviation in the vast majority of cases. Turns out reading can also help fend off Alzheimer’s to a certain extent by helping to keep mental functioning strong.
3. You’ll sleep better. According to studies from the National Sleep Foundation, reading before bed can help relax your body and help your mind quiet down and prepare for sleep. Performing a bedtime ritual like reading can help you differentiate bedtime from daytime, which results in faster and better quality sleep. Reading has also been shown to reduce cortisol levels, which can result in weight gain, fatigue, and digestion issues if too high.
4. You’ll be a better friend and citizen. Research has proven that reading fiction helps us to develop empathy by placing us in the shoes of different characters whose needs and desires differ from our own. Immerse yourself in a few good books and you may start feeling more compassion the people you meet throughout your day.
5. You’ll be more successful. Many of the best and brightest minds out there belong to people who report a bit of reading time before bed. Instead of watching TV or tossing and turning in bed, use your pre-sleep time efficiently by reading and learning while you relax. Even if you aren’t reading something educational, you’ll likely be more able to tap into your creativity and drive if you are regularly stimulating and inspiring your mind.