To Read or Not To Read?
Should You Read Before Bed?
Ever had one of those nights where you’ve laid in bed exhausted and desperate to get to sleep, but the harder you try, the more sleep eludes you? I seem to be having more and more of them these days. Sometimes I pick up a book and read a chapter or two and I’m asleep straight away, other times it has the opposite effect and I feel even more awake. Why is that?
To read before bed, or not to read? That is the question.
If you read on an electronic device, then my conclusion from the studies I have read is that you should not read immediately before going to bed. Electronic devices emit blue light which restricts the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls our circadian rhythm that helps us sleep. Lower melatonin leads to a restless night, so if you want a good nights’ sleep then banish the tech from the bedroom.
What about the old-fashioned paper book? The short answer for many of us is yes, it can help put us into a slumber. According to a study conducted in 2009 by researchers at the University of Sussex, England, six minutes of reading can reduce stress by 68%, clearing the mind and preparing the body for sleep. Reading can take us to a deeper state and help put our consciousness on another plane, which will help to induce sleep.
So why does reading help sometimes and not others?
The answer to this is to do with how well-engaged we are with the content of the book; the content needs to be more than just a distraction, we need to be able to actively engage our brain and totally immerse ourselves in the pages. It doesn’t matter what type of book you are reading, as long as you find it fully-absorbing you can enter an altered state of consciousness where tension diminishes and the body relaxes to make way for sleep.
It’s time to ditch the tech and get stuck into a real page-turner before bedtime. In need of some new page-turners, head over to our Brookstore to see what’s available!
After 30 years in the global insurance market and living in 3 countries, Jacqui Hodges headed to Barbados where she now pursues writing and her passion for food, travel and books.
A huge animal advocate, her home isn’t complete without a foster kitten or three. In addition to volunteer work she writes media content for animal charities.
Favourite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Favourite brunch dish: avocado toast with tomato and chilli