5-Tips-For-Bed-Time Reading

How Reading at Bedtime Can Help You Sleep

5 Tips For Bed Time Reading

Reading can help you drift into a beautiful, refreshing sleep! And here are 5 tips to get the most of your bedtime reading.

Bedtime reading is scientifically proven to relax you and help you drift off to sleep. It is much more relaxing than watching television or even listening to music.

A study by Dr David Lewis at the University of Sussex in 2009 showed that six minutes of reading reduced stress by 68% – more than music. It takes your mind off the problems and lists of tasks and clears your mind ready for sleep. Dr Lewis said that a good book can be more than just a distraction. By actively engaging your imagination, it causes you “to enter an altered state of consciousness.”

  1. Make time to read and have a book you will enjoy and will help you relax.  If you are calm, relaxed, and peaceful when you go to bed, you are more likely to get off to sleep quickly and stay asleep.
  2. Book or E-Reader? Read a physical book as screens give out blue light, which interferes with melatonin production 2. While all light reduces melatonin (the sleep hormone), blue light is six times stronger and interferes with Circadian Rhythms.
  3. Reading in Bed? It is best to read sitting in a chair rather than in bed. But I know many people who fall asleep reading, and I love to read in bed too. Many insomniacs will go to bed early, read, wake in the night, and read – and their bed becomes a nice place you can just relax and doze and pick up a book and drift in and out of sleep. But you want your bed to be a place to sleep (and sex) – not for relaxing and reading.3 If you are having sleep problems, please give this a go before you reject it – you may find it transforms your sleep.
  4. Add reading into an Evening Routine – see my other videos and blogs. Or just try this:
    • A hot bath or shower 90 minutes before bed
    • A night-time drink like hot milk, chamomile, or a sleep tea.
    • Curl up with your book and your tea and prepare to enter another world.
  5. Be very selective about what you read at bedtime.

    Good: – Feel-good or amusing stories – they can make you feel happy

    Good: Calming stories – if stories have a habit of staying in your mind at night, then look out for calming stories.

    Good: Many people like Golden Age Murder Mysteries – like Agatha Christy. They are not gruesome – just who-dun-its. Many were written as short stories.

    Good: Short stories can make excellent bedtime reading, especially, if like me, you find it hard to put a book down! The story is over. Unless you move onto the next one …

    Good: Prayers, sacred texts, meditative books are often very soothing. Reading just a little a day helps you take in the wisdom.   One example is Mind Calm by Sandy Newbigging. It shows you how to calm your mind and is a book to read a little of each day. It also teaches a simple meditation practice. I recommend it to most of my clients.5

    Good: Non-Fiction such as travel books – something inspiring.

    Good: Business books – a bit boring that aren’t going to keep you awake

    Avoid – sad books, exciting books, and thrillers at bedtime, as they are not designed to be relaxing!

    Avoid – some self-improvement books as they can send you to bed thinking, “Oh my goodness, I’m such a disaster zone!
  6. Search online for book lists and recommendations for books that are right for you – there are many blogs on books and short stories for bedtime reading.

If you want some more help with your sleep issue, do get in touch and I will give you some free advice on what else you can do to improve your sleep.

  1. Dr David Lewis “Galaxy Stress Research,” Mindlab International, Sussex University (2009)
  2. Blue light has a dark side
  3. Insomnia
  4. Mind Calm
  5. Sandy Newbigging

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