Books and Bedtime: How Reading in Bed Improves Sleep

Are bedtime stories simply a way for parents to bond with their children or do they offer real benefits in terms of the quality of sleep our children get? If they do provide benefits, could reading in bed offer adults anything? Research suggests that the answer to these questions is yes. Here is why reading before bed is so great for the body and mind.

Reading Reduces Stress

Bedtime stories, whether for adults or children, offer an escape from stress that is more effective than music, a good meal, or even exercise. In fact, you only need to read for about 5-6 minutes to experience a noticeable reduction in stress. Research suggests that reading before bed reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Lower cortisol levels are associated with faster onset of sleep and more restful sleep.

Of course, what you read is important. Whatever you choose needs to be something you enjoy, something that takes your mind off your day, and something that won’t get you worked up. Novels, short stories, poems, and the like are all good options. Avoid newspapers and, if possible, avoid electronic devices because the blue slight they produce is very disruptive to sleep.

Reading every night before bed is a good way to take your mind off your day and transport you to another world where you can forget about your problems, this reduces stress in and of itself, but is even more effective when it becomes a part of a nightly routine. One reason that many children sleep well is that their days are very structured and so their internal clocks are well synchronized. By creating a ritual, you signal to your body to get ready for sleep at the same time every day. It does this by releasing sleep hormones, reducing heart rate, and changing breathing patterns.

Sermorelin peptide has been shown to improve sleep.

Right now, reading is perhaps that best way to boost levels of sleep-promoting hormones, like melatonin. Scientists, however, are working on isolating hormones and other chemicals in the body that promote sleep so that they might one day offer a pill to do what reading does. One such peptide that is currently being investigated in animal studies is Sermorelin. Scientists have found that Sermorelin can influence levels of substances called orexins in the brain. Orexins are key to the sleep-wake cycle and play an important role in melatonin regulation. You can learn more about Sermorelin here.

Beyond Sleep

Reading before bed isn’t just a great way to reduce stress and improve sleep, though. Research suggests that it can boost creativity, improve concentration, and even make you a nicer person. Reading, as it turns out, enhances our ability to interpret other people’s emotions. This makes us more empathetic and thus more like to be perceived by others as friendly, helpful, and just plain nice.

There is even good reason to believe that reading, in general, is a great way to lower your risk of dementia, improve your relationship, and even boost your income. Reading before bed is a great way to do all of things while boosting the quality of your sleep and you don’t have to do it for long. Just twenty minutes of reading each night before bed is enough to see dramatic benefits.