Most people rush through their days, moving from meetings to social engagements and other obligations. But long days filled with lots of activity can begin to wear us down and even make us less healthy.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have just one pre-bedtime activity that unlocked a range of benefits, helping us to refresh and recharge while boosting our overall wellness?
Well, there’s good news on that front: Reading is the one pre-bedtime activity that unleashes a wave of benefits. How exactly does reading before bed help us? There are plenty of other ways to enhance sleep naturally, but reading should be right at the top of the list, right up with buying a reading pillow for back support.
Here’s a look at 7 benefits you can access when you pick up a book or magazine before bedtime.
1. Better ZZZs
There’s a reason why story time is a staple of a child’s bedtime routine. Reading actually helps shift the human consciousness and prepare our bodies for rest. The National Sleep Foundation even recommends adding reading to a relaxing bedtime routine — no matter your age.
And there’s a keyword buried in there: routine. If you can create a routine that includes reading, the day-after-day effect of reading before bed will help you get consistently better sleep and helps you be at your best for the day ahead.
2. Relax and Unwind
Have you ever gotten into bed and closed your eyes … only to find that your mind can’t stop thinking about the worries and stresses of your day? If so, you’re not alone.
But here’s the thing: Simply reading for a little bit before bed can actually help you relax and unwind. In fact, a study indicates that reading helps reduce stress levels by 68%. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
If you’ve ever had an issue with shutting off your brain and forgetting about the stresses of the day at bedtime, it sounds like reading could be a magical elixir that can help you relax and unwind.
3. Sharpen Your Thinking
If you want bigger biceps, you’ll need to work them out by lifting weights, and then give them time for rest and recovery. The brain is the same way: You need to work it out and then give it time to rest.
And reading is the best workout you can give your brain. Reading is more challenging than processing images and sounds, which makes it a much better workout than watching TV. Also, reading is the ideal workout for the brain right before bedtime. When you read right before bedtime, you give your brain the perfect workout and then the perfect amount of rest overnight — and the result is that you sharpen your thinking for the next day.
4. Boost Creativity
Reading is one of the best ways to encounter new ideas and new approaches to problem-solving. That’s why reading is an activity that can help boost creativity. No matter what type of work you do or what activities you like to engage in, you can develop a more creative approach when you choose to read before bed.
5. Improve Your Mental Wellness
Studies indicate that reading is helpful for anyone suffering from anxiety or mild-to-moderate depression. In England, some mental health professionals are even including pre-bedtime reading as part of thorough treatment plans.
Don’t rely on reading alone to help you if you are suffering from depression. But consider adding reading before bed to any medication or other recommendations mental health professionals have made.
6. Concentration Enhancement
Do you have a hard time concentrating? If so, you might want to try reading before bed. Concentration is a skill to be developed — not a talent that humans are born with. And reading is a much better activity for developing concentration than more passive activities like watching television or even listening to music.
7. Learn to Empathize
Empathy is when you develop an understanding of what someone else is thinking, feeling and experiencing. It can be hard to empathize with people who are much different than us, but reading is the single best activity for developing that empathy.
It’s been said that people who don’t read to get to experience just one life. But, people who do read get to experience a vast array of different lives. Try reading before bed, and you’ll find that you are far more empathetic.
You may want to invest in bedding that’s just right for reading, like find the best reading pillow for your needs. But, most importantly, just start reading before bed, and begin to develop that healthy routine that unlocks a world of benefits.
Julie is a Professional health writer, experienced blogger, and a coach. She is a writer by day and a reader by night. She also loves to write about beauty, education, technology etc.
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