Ready for a new ritual?
When people mention ‘sleep hygiene’ they often mean a simple routine your brain can associate with bedtime, like taking some time to read a book before bed – do this enough to create a habit, and you’ll feel sleepy in no time.
An important part of the ritual is putting away your screens: we’re on computers and phones all day, so apart from getting maxxed out on blue light, you’re signalling to your brain that it’s business as usual. If instead, you turn down the lights and immerse yourself in a good book, you’ll find you will be able to sleep more easily and have a much better quality of sleep!
So why does reading make the perfect bedtime routine?
We’ve all fallen foul of Netflix’s autoplay, and the idea that ‘just one more’ episode doesn’t hurt, but an hour of this a night means you lose the equivalent of a whole night’s sleep each week! Since reading is an active process, you’re much less likely to stay up later than you intended: except for the case of a reeeally great book, your eyes will tell you when you’ve had enough, and help you to enforce an official bedtime.
The active element of reading means it’s also a fantastic way to immerse yourself in something – similar to meditation. The absolute focus means you can let go of the stresses of the day, slowing breathing, and reducing heart rate and muscle tension. In fact, a study by the University of Sussex found that just six minutes of reading was a more effective stress reliever than music, drinking tea, and walking! The best part is that it doesn’t matter what kind of book, you read, as long as you can get properly absorbed in it.
A healthy way to escape from reality for a little while, a bedtime book is an easy way to end the day on a positive note and make for happier dreams, and a better mood in the morning.
On top of that, reading can actually make you more intelligent, and improve memory: apart from the natural linguistic benefits from time spent with words, scientists compare reading to mental yoga. Exercising the imagination for a few minutes each day improves mental flexibility, making you better equipped to deal with problems and situations that require fast-thinking.
As if that weren’t enough, reading literally makes you a better person. If you think about it, enjoying a book requires you to immerse yourself totally into someone else’s world, into another person’s point of view. When you watch TV, it’s easy to switch off completely, but whilst reading, your brain is still working critically, forcing you to question your own views, and analyse characters’ motives. This means that people who read frequently tend to have higher empathy levels towards others and be more open to new ideas.
With all of that to gain, what are you waiting for?
[image: instagram.com/knihomolky ]