Reading Before Bed – 8 Common Benefits for Your Health and Sleep

Reading Before Bed – 8 Common Benefits for Your Health and Sleep

Reading Before Bed – 8 Common Benefits for Your Health and Sleep

Reading a book or a novel shapes your future. Even great minds like Tesla’s CEO Elen Mask admitted reading books helped him learn how to make rockets. Moreover, Warren Buffet reads for 5-6 hours daily to boost his lifestyle and investment. 

The average CEO, investor, or entrepreneur reads nearly 60 books yearly. While they’re busy more than the average man, they still find time to add a couple of reading sessions to their routine, some before they sleep.  

So why not give it a shot and boost your confidence, knowledge, and sleeping habits? Better, you can implement a 20 minutes maximum reading routine before bedtime to set you off nicely for a good night’s sleep.  

However, if you still doubt whether reading books will positively impact your life and sleeping habits, this guide is for you. Besides learning some benefits of reading books before sleeping, you’ll also learn some of the best books you can read. So keep reading to discover more. 

Benefits of Reading Before You Sleep

Sleep is essential to human existence and productivity. However, a study conducted by Sleep Foundation showed that Americans (50%) are often sleep deprived 3-7 days a week. The same study also highlights that 35% of Americans sleep 7 hours or less.  

However, the study also shows that reading books just before bed is an effective way to rest more at night. To help you understand better, here are a couple of reasons why reading guarantees immediate sleep: 

1. Break From Screen Time

Spending a lot of time on your screen or devices is one way to deprive yourself of sleep. That means you need to find another routine where you avoid things like laptops, phones, iPads, and TVs just before bed.  

Being active on your device precisely 1.5 hours before sleep instantly tones down the melatonin surge your system exhibits. While screen time is addictive, it massively affects your night rest, making you unproductive the next day. 

However, you can only counter screen time by implementing a novel reading routine before sleeping. This will make you fall a slope faster and keep you engaged. Moreover, reading novels before sleep will offer a healthy solution to your eyes instead of experiencing the bright light from screens.  

2. Stress Relief

While reading novels and other books is an antidote to breaking away from screen time, it’s also a massively underappreciated way that helps tone down your stress levels. Various studies indicate that it plays a massive role in stress relief, which is 68%. 

Furthermore, it plays a more significant role in stress reduction than traditional de-stressors such as music and drinking tea. Reading has this capability since it teleports you into an unknown world of fantasy, opportunities, and calmness that helps relieve stress. 

Of course, not all books are relaxing. However, you can always have a well-researched collection to help you relax right before bedtime. List wellness books or other topics you find exciting and engaging. 

3. Improved Sleep Quality

Reading a book before you sleep helps you stay calm with less physical stimulation. You can read while lying on your bed so that when you’re tired, you immediately fall asleep. After reading for a few minutes, your energy levels drop as the need for sleep draws closer. 

Ideally, sleeping while exhausted will help you have a better sleeping pattern than trying to sleep when you’re still active or experiencing discomfort. Forcing yourself to sleep will only make you awake before dawn, so you must change your pre-sleeping patterns.  

Another factor that is affecting your sleep patterns is anxiety and stress. Based on medical discoveries, humans are often stimulated through hormones experienced under intense pressure or highly stressed. 

And this is a possible reason why 35% of people sleep less than 7 hours. However, if you find a nice wellness novel or any other interesting topic, you can break this barrier by restoring a healthy and quick sleeping pattern.  

4. Empathy

Another benefit of reading before bed is empathy using mirror neutrons. The mirror neutrons always come to life when we’re actively engaged in an activity or we observer others undertaking an activity.  

While this is enough to explain the neuroscientific correlation to empathy, another study confirmed the statement while explaining the positive effects reading before going to sleep has on empathy.  

Nonetheless, a study also indicated that readers often feel great sympathy for the protagonist based on the book they read.  It went on further to explain how great the connection is. It altered the side of the brain in charge of sensory feelings.  

5. Long-Term Effects on Cognition

Based on research conducted in 2013 about the impact of reading, the results showed that reading before you sleep helps improve the brain’s connectivity. It also enhances humans’ ability to grasp matters more efficiently and offers a critical thinking and observation platform.  

While there is still a need to research the long-term impact of reading on the brain, the current results are great for boosting the human experience.  

Nevertheless, it’s highly recommended always to read books before you sleep as it improves your life balance and level of grasping issues. It also gives you more perspective on matters you knew little about as you read more books and discover more. In the end, it ensures you’re more mentally agile and creative. 

6. Short-Time Investment

Ideally, adults should read for approximately 20 minutes before grasping the real teaching identified in their books. While 20 minutes might seem long, it’s enough time to feel relaxed and stress-free.  

Although most people overlook reading, it’s a far better investment of your time than other relaxing methods like listening to music or playing games. And the best part is that you don’t need much training to read or require any pace. 

7. Boosts Brain Power

If you’re looking to boost your brain power and still get enough sleep in your sleep cycle, then reading a good novel is all you need. That said, the novel you choose to read will matter more than the time you spend reading. 

Suppose you go with an informative and wellness-building book; it will only take 20 minutes or less to learn something new and boost your brain power. Even if you take a less exciting book, you’ll stand a far better chance to improve your brain power than someone who doesn’t read.  

8. Better Sleep:

If you’ve read right before bed (or on your bed), you have found yourself asleep faster. In a real sense, reading makes you fall asleep faster than screen time and has fewer health effects. 

With that, you’re safer reading a book than using your devices to try and get sleep. Using your phone will only lead to eye staring and headaches, affecting your physical and mental health.  

While you should always pick an informative book that can boost your brain power, you can go for a boring book that will send you to sleep quicker. Another evidence that reading helps people sleep faster is taking yourself back to your childhood days when you needed bedtime stories to sleep.  

9. Better Concentration

The main reason we use devices such as laptops, phones, or iPads before bedtime doesn’t work because we often move to different sections without concentrating on one thing. This can be checking status, scrolling through messages, email, etc.  

However, when reading a book before bedtime, you’ll only concentrate and be invested in one activity. While it can be a great way to secure new information, eventually, you’ll be worn out. Nonetheless, to always boost your concentration span and make you more efficient in anything you do.  

10. Experience Peace and Serenity

Ideally, most prefer reading in a quiet place rather than a noisy section for better concentration. However, reading also brings inner peace and serenity you might not experience while trying other relaxing methods like listening to music or watching a film.  It helps you escape all the drama and impact caused by music and movies.  

11. Relaxing

Anytime before you start reading, you often find a quiet spot or somewhere with few people to escape the noise. You then prepare yourself to immerse into a world of storytelling using the novel of your choice. 

This helps breed peace, satisfaction, and relaxation you cannot experience elsewhere. Setting time for yourself and enjoying a good book will help you relax about relevant and less stressful matters.  

12. It Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Based on a study conducted by the University of Sussex, reading has a massive impact on anxiety and stress. These changes are always felt, especially before sleeping, when you tune into your mind to think about things you’ve learned. 

Moreover, the study unveiled that if you read for 6 minutes, your stress levels are reduced by 68%. This is mainly tied to getting lost in an exciting book and its experiences and escaping real-life challenges.   

Additionally, reading before going to bed reduces heart and muscle tension, which helps reduce anxiety. However, you must choose your novels wisely and avoid going for horror or mystery books to promote tension and anxiety.  

13. It Improves Sleep Quality

When you assume a relaxed state while reading the novel of your choice, you’ll fall asleep easily. A great example is children who can’t sleep without a good bedtime story and how they enjoy their sleep. 

Reading offers humans the best calming elements, like music and other distressing methods. So if you find sleep quality hard, it’s time to find interesting novels and add them to your prebedtime routine.  

14. It Makes You More Creative

Reading novels before you go to sleep or anytime may improve your creativity by a significant margin. It improves your passion, judgment, and innovation capabilities which can help you do great things.  

And a great example is there are a lot of politicians,m executives, and entrepreneurs who enjoy reading regularly. While it’s a positive boost that helps them unwind from a long day, it also boosts their creativity as they prepare for the next day. 

15. It Decreases the Time We Are Exposed to Screens

If you’re constantly on your phone before bedtime, it’s time to substitute this habit with reading which helps the brain exhibit melatonin. Less screen time will help you build your sleep patterns and guarantee good sleep.  

That means you must eliminate using laptops, phones, iPads, and TV just before bed.  While it’s a common health practice to protect your eyes from excessive light, it’s also recommended by medical practitioners.  

While reading is a great way to gain information and fall asleep fast, you should avoid ebooks as they pose the same screen time dangers as phones and iPads.  

16. It Acts as an Effective Sleep-Inducing Habit

Picking a habit of reading regularly before sleep is an effective sleep-inducing habit everybody should try. This means you need to start and develop the habit daily, and before you know it, you’ll fall asleep as a baby. 

This will help you find it easier to read a few lines based on the system you implement. And while you might fall asleep faster, you’ll also find it easier to comprehend and understand things faster due to constantly reading. 

17. It Will Improve Your Concentration

With technological advancements and all the gadgets at users’ disposal, concentrating on one task is becoming more impossible. That means you need to find another technique, like reading before bedtime, to help you counter this situation.  

People find concentrating difficult because we always look forward to catching up on activities and news. However, setting up a reading routine will help restore organisation and make it easier for you to concentrate.  

18. It Is Likely To Make You Wake Up Mentally Relaxed.

Your thoughts play a massive role in ensuring you’re mentally strong and relaxed. That means you only need to focus on activities that make you stronger, not things that weaken you.  

While it’s easier said and done, you can do a few things, such as reading, which can boost your confidence and help you relax. This will help you have more motivation in life and accomplish many tasks.  

Moreover, reading also relaxes your mind immediately before you go to bed. This helps generate a good sleep, preparing you for the next day. However, you’ll have to get a good book and not horror novels that will keep you up all night.  

19. It Positively Influences Our Dreams

Generally, the books we read influence our dreams more than we know. If you had a bad day, you might find it tough to go to bed at night, as the negative energy will be transferred into the night.  

However, if you find the right book that excites you, you can manage your moods and have a great night. Reading often makes people relax; however, you should only read positive things, especially when you want to sleep.  

20. It Is More Effective

While reading has many benefits users can enjoy if they implement it in their routine, it is also useful in having a buzzing and positive life.  However, you must find the right place and time to read to ensure you gain something and experience its positive impact.  

That said, focus on reading more in the evening when things are calm or immediately before bed. This will give a better atmosphere to reflect on whatever you’re reading and take something positive out of it.  

21. It Will Make You More Empathic

Empathy is a skill many lacks but is essential to our daily routine. While it’s not overly advised to be empathetic, as it might have negative effects sometimes, it is an essential skill that can be helpful in certain instances.  

One place to reunite with your empathy senses is by reading a book with a great plot story. This way, you can relate to the ending and apply it to real-life situations.  It will also help you get in tune with your subconscious mind and make feeling empathy for yourself and others easier.  

Reading books leads you to the characters of the books and their emotions. It helps you see the world from their perspective and experience life challenges. This can be confirmed by a Canadian psychologist called Raymond Mar, whose study confirms the truth about empathy and reading.  

What Do Successful People Read Before Bed?

While different successful people have different books they ready before their bedtime, the most notable thing is that it has a bigger impact on there, not. Microsoft founder Bill Gates once said he reads for 1 hour before bed.  

Ideally, he mainly focuses on history books and public health, which helps boost his sleep routine. On the other hand, the founder of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, said she appreciates her evening reading routine and enjoys reading old-fashioned books. 

She goes further to warn about the negative impact laptop, tablets and ebook readers experience before going to bed. Moreover, Barack Obama also revealed that he enjoys reading studies, reports, books and intelligence assessments. 

Furthermore, Vera Wang told Fortune how much she enjoys reading and that her bedroom is a refuge. She revealed she reads almost everything that her staff shares. This helps boost her confidence and knowledge.  

Something to Read Before You Sleep

While knowing the benefits of reading before bedtime is important, identifying the right books is important. And not just any other book; you need something that will help you sleep immediately and better.  

Fortunately, this section has all the relevant book suggestions for a great sleeping experience: 

1. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

If you’re looking for a book with heartwarming stories, then R.J. Palacio’s Wonder is the best book to go for. The story mainly covers compassion and empathy, a great way to lead you to sleep and prepare for the next day.  

It’s about a school kid (August Pullman) affected by a facial deformity. Unfortunately, her schooling experience becomes challenging, altering the perspective of society members. And so it teaches the balance between understanding and acceptance, and why it’s recommended to our lives. 

2. The Wangs vs The World by Jade Chang

The Wangs vs The World by Jade Chang is an interesting book that’s charming and hilarious about a wealthy Chinese family that became bankrupt. 

They take a trip to the eldest daughter, who still has hope and some money left.  Of course, there are a few problems, but the main background of the story is exciting to read and learn from.  

3. Luckiest Girl Alive by Steven Levenkron

For those hunting for a novel that excites and captivates, Luckiest Girl Alive by Steven Levenkron is the best book. The story is about Ani FaNelli, a lady who made it despite being publicly humiliated in school. 

While she’s on the right streak to make it, she also has a secret that bites every inch of her bone and threatens to unravel without warning. Although the story is quite short, it’s a great way to awaken your mystery sense and get excited.  

4. A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming by Dylan Tuccillo

Dreamers also have a book that will satisfy their needs, and what better way to do it than reading Dylan Tuccillo’s book A Field Guide To Lucid Dreaming. Ideally, it’s a book you want to read before retiring.  

It perfectly leads you into the dreamland you need for an exciting night as you access and access endless possibilities. Additionally, you need to read it on your bed to retain more information as you sleep. 

5. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Another incredible book you can read at night to boost your sleeping routine is If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Generally, it’s a book you want to read on a duvet day, knowing you don’t have much to do the following day.  

While it’s a book you need for great sleep, it also unleashes empathy and leaves you with a tear. It’s a story about a lady in a dilemma after losing everything she thought she knew and had.  This story ensures readers are engaged throughout the chapters. 

6. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

If you’re a mystery enthusiast, then Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan is the right pick. This mystery story takes place in San Francisco, and the character is Clay Jannon, a bookstore employee.  

The story is tied around customers who don’t intend to buy anything from the bookstore but instead spend most of their time evaluating massive in the store. This is a great book to ignite mystery, witty and funny experiences.  

7. Life on Mars by Jennifer Brown

Life On Mars by Jennifer Brown is another great selection you should add to your novel collection. This is tailor-made for poem and science fiction lovers and offers an exciting opportunity to explore space. It’s exactly what you need after a long day at work.  

8. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is one of the best and most interesting books of the 20th century.  The book documents the journey of a little boy who travels the world as he embarks on multiple adventures.  

The different adventures make it a nice book to enjoy before you sleep. It also makes readers be in tune with their imagination. Besides amazing sleep and imagination, it can also help boost your creativity.  

9. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

If you’re a pet lover or dog enthusiast, the Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein is the best pick. It’s a sad story about a dog that has learned all human endeavours and documents them just minutes before death. 

While reading this book, it’s important to take the essential life lessons documented in every section. Nonetheless, the story is also uplifting and funny and has great vibes. This is a great way to send yourself off to sleep.  

10. Persuasion by Jane Austen

If you’re looking for a book with a romantic setting, then Persuasion by Jane Austen is something you should have a closer look at. It’s about a lady who believes her man shouldn’t be with her. 

As a result, she spends the next  8 years with regret of losing him. The story makes you consider whether they’ll stay apart or give each other a second chance. It’s a great bedtime story you should check out. 

11. Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson

The Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson is n interesting book where the writer expresses his adoration of Great Britain’s tiny Island. He does it in a gentle and heartwarming yet satirical comedy.  

If you’re after a witty and funny story, you should try this book. This book will also help you have an amazing good night’s sleep after an interesting story.  

12. The Young Widower’s Handbook by Tom McAllister

Another romance book you should try is The Young Widower’s Handbook by Tom McAllister. This book speaks about a young gentleman who adores his wife. However, he is immensely griefed when his wife dies. 

Ideally, this book showcases the level the gentleman would go for his dead wife. It also shows the wife’s positive impact on his life and how he misses her. This is a great book to ponder about the happenings before heading to bed.  

13. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Everybody at some point in their life has heard about Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, and you’re not different. Harry Potter is an incredible book with an interesting storyline and close to 7 editions.  

It’s a story about wizardry and witchcraft that excites you. It helps you relieve your childhood story; it’s all you could ever wish for if you’re still in your teens. It’s a great book that will set you up nicely before you switch off the light.  

14. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak offers an incredible experience for readers to explore and evaluate. It’s about breaking the norm and entering the world of questions. It’s about Macy, a young lady who lost her father and is spending the summer far from her boyfriend in Brain Camp.  

She works at a library, a boring job, but her life is about to take an unexpected U-turn. This happens after she meets another guy who turns her world around. Moreover, this story will have you thinking long and hard about the world and its possibilities.  

15. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Another great book you can try is I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson, which has important life lessons you can take. It’s about twins who each hold different personalities, although inseparable.  

While Noah falls in love with a nearby boy, Jude puts on her best lipstick and head for an adventurous cliff diving. However, they never speak for a long time, and the story is divided into two parts when both detail their adventure. 

16. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is an amazing story to read before falling asleep. It’s a post-war story about a boy’s journey in Barcelona searching for an author. Apparently, the author’s book is a threat to anyone who owns it, and the body is determined to end it. 

This historical piece will enlighten you about life’s early events. It will also send you into your creative sense and leave you searching for more answers. This is a book you should try before going to bed.  

17. Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall

The Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall is an impressive piece about loss and love through Cy Park’s childhood until he becomes a tattoo artist. He leaves America in search of new experiences in Coney Island Boardwalk.   

He names it Electric Michelangelo and falls in love with an immigrant from Easter who wants him to cover her body with an eye tattoo. It’s a great book with a lot to discover and adventures to experience before you sleep. 

18. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Another delightful addition to your must-read list, “Ove” introduces us to a seemingly grumpy yet endearing man who lives by strict routines and principles. 

However, beneath his gruff exterior lies a profound sorrow, which gradually unfolds when a cheerful family moves in nearby. With its blend of humour and heartfelt moments, this tale will surely offer the perfect entertainment to accompany your journey into a peaceful slumber.

19. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

With its non-linear structure, seamlessly leaping forward and then circling back to its initial point, the unconventional storytelling will leave you pondering the intricate connections between its diverse narratives and characters.

Immersive and expansive in its imaginative breadth, this captivating tale by David Mitchel (Cloud Atlas) is guaranteed to keep your mind engaged as you wind down at the end of the day.

20. Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd

Don’t miss out on the incredible story delivered by William Boyd in Waiting For Sunrise. The book documents the journey during wartime in Europe, which has numerous plot twists and suspense leaving you excited and longing for more. 

Lysander is the protagonist, and her journey will be all you need before you switch off the light as you ponder how life was during her time. So get this book and add it to your collection while discovering more about Europe’s wartime.  

How to start your bedtime reading routine

Before you take up a reading position on your bed, consider these tips to have an effective evening reading routine: 

  • Consider your location: Rather than reading at a desk or on a wooden chair at the kitchen table, seek out a cozy area where you can fully relax and stretch out. Consider setting up a dedicated reading corner complete with pillows, blankets, and gentle lighting if possible. 
  • Using the right kind of light: For better sleep, turning off bright lights at least 2 hours before bedtime is recommended. Opt for dim or amber lights instead of exposing yourself to bright blue light during the evening. 
  • Create some ambience: Enhance your relaxation further by incorporating aromatherapy and soothing instrumental music into your routine.
  • Get ready for bed beforehand: Consider completing pre-bedtime tasks such as brushing your teeth and washing your face before settling down with your book. By making reading the final step before sleep, you can easily transition to snuggling under the covers as soon as drowsiness sets in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Bad for Your Eyes?

It doesn’t have to be, but it depends on your body position while reading. If you lie completely flat on your back with the book directly above your face, this position can strain your eyes and neck.

We suggest using a wedge pillow to prop yourself up to mitigate any potential strain. This will help maintain a comfortable angle while reading. Additionally, consider bending your knees or placing a pillow beneath them to relax your legs. These adjustments can help prevent unnecessary strain on your body while enjoying your reading time.

Can It Help You Dream?

While there isn’t conclusive data available, some individuals speculate that reading before sleep can stimulate the imagination, potentially resulting in more vivid and memorable dreams.

Suppose you encounter a character from a book you recently read before bed in your dream. In that case, it’s reasonable to assume that your nighttime reading material influenced that vision. 

However, it’s important to note that personal experiences may vary, and the connection between reading and dreaming is still a subject of ongoing exploration.

How Long Should Adults Read?

The ideal duration can vary depending on individual preferences, but a general guideline is to read long enough to induce drowsiness while ensuring an adequate amount of nightly sleep.

A good starting point is 20 minutes of reading. If you feel tired before the 20-minute mark, consider shortening your reading session to 10 to 15 minutes.

On the other hand, if you remain wide awake after 20 minutes. However, to maintain sufficient rest, you might need to adjust your bedtime accordingly, ensuring it doesn’t interfere with your essential beauty sleep.

Is It Bad for Your Back?

The answer to this question depends entirely on your position while reading. You don’t have to worry about your back if you read while relaxed. However, if you take an uncomfortable position, you’ll likely experience back pain in future. 

Here are alternative suggestions to keep yourself comfortably elevated if you don’t have a wedge pillow or find it uncomfortable. Implementing these tips will help prevent waking up feeling completely exhausted: 

  • Create a convenient resting spot for your arms by placing a pillow on your lap or leg area to mitigate any potential strain. This eliminates the need to hold the book up constantly.
  • Ensure proper leg circulation and prevent leg lock-up by positioning a pillow beneath your knees.
  • Protect your lower back by propping your pillow against your lumbar region, providing support and safeguarding sensitive areas. 

To avoid strain on your neck while sitting up or at an angle in bed, consider adding a pillow behind your neck. This will provide the necessary support, helping to prevent discomfort and maintain a relaxed position.

Is It Good for Insomnia Sufferers?

Yes, reading a book before bed can be quite beneficial in speeding up the process of falling asleep. Not only is it a known stress reducer, but it also aids in quicker sleep onset. 

Moreover, diverting your mind with new information or engaging narratives effectively shifts your focus away from personal worries or troubles, further promoting sounder sleep.


Reading a book before bed can aid in promoting better sleep. To maintain the principle of using the bedroom solely for sleep and intimacy, consider extending your reading time to a different room or reading in a chair in the bedroom rather than lying in bed. 

By incorporating these practices, you can enhance your bedtime routine and potentially improve your overall sleep quality.

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