When we asked our audience the time of the day they’re most likely to read at, a lot of you said before bed. But a lot of you didn’t – and that’s a cause for concern.
And I can only assume that those of you who don’t read before bed are looking at a screen. According to YouGov’s sleep study, 87% of Brits use their phone before bed – and it could be harming your sleep.
I’m here to give you three reasons why you should swap Netflix for reading a book before you hit the hay.
1. Looking at screens makes it harder to fall asleep
I’ll give you the bad news first: looking at your phone before bed negatively impacts your sleep.
And I’m not just talking about your phone here, any type of light whether its from your TV, laptop or E-Reader can have a negative impact on sleep.
The blue light emitted from screens is an artificial colour which mimics daylight – the opposite of what your body needs when you’re trying to fall asleep.
Research has shown blue light can have negative effects on your body clock and throw off your circadian rhythm – the process in your body responsible for regulating sleep, making it harder to fall asleep whilst decreasing the quality of your overall sleep too.
And luckily, books come without any of these negative impacts.
2. Reading before bed increases sleep quality
A 2021 study asked 496 participants to read in bed before sleeping and another 496 participants were told not to read. After a week, 42% of readers report improved sleep compared to 28% of the non-readers.
In addition, reading before bed has proven to help increase sleep duration. One study reported that reading for a short time before bed helps you to stay asleep longer.
3. Reading before bed can help to reduce stress
According to research from The University of Sussex, reading for just six minutes can reduce stress by up to 68%. Dr David Lewis, who conducted the study, said: “It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.”
And when 43% of people have reported being kept awake at night by stress, it’s a no brainer to pick up before bed because less stress means a better nights sleep.
If you liked this post then read Mental health representation in books and why it’s important or Is listening the new reading? The pros and cons of audibooks next.
Yasmin is a third year journalism student at The University of Sheffield, specialising in feature writing. She has previously written for the Sheffield Tribune and women’s magazine Pick Me Up! She is particularly interested in how mental health issues are portrayed in fiction.
Favourite genres: Romance, Crime and Thrillers.