Do You Read Before Bed? 5 Shocking Reasons Why It's Great For You

I used to read a lot of books. Now, not so much. That’s because I got distracted by a few things, namely:

  • The Internet
  • Cable TV
  • Game apps
  • Facebook

As a result, I’ve become uber-distracted. I find that, rather than devoting my complete attention to one book, I can watch an episode of Girls, play a round of WordBrain on my Android, and message with friends on Facebook. All at the same time.

Ah, the good life!

But is it really? Sure, I’m keeping busy, but I’m also feeling culturally depleted and scattered. I miss the old days when I could sink my teeth into a mouth-watering novel and become so entranced, I’d lose all track of time.

I miss the days of bonding with all the characters and protagonists. I miss the way my heart would sink when I was done reading, pining for the novel to continue and never end.

I kind of miss books. And now I hear that reading before bed is a really good thing to do. Here’s why.

1. Reading before bed makes you smarter and better

Reading consistently before bed will significantly enhance your memory and mental abilities in all stages in life. They say that exercising the brain this way can actually reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. What’s more, people who read before bed also tend to be better public speakers, thinkers and overall humans.

2. Reading before bed helps you sleep

A thoroughly engrossing book opens up the imagination and helps you enter an altered state of consciousness. When your mind is engaged in a world of literary escape, tension melts away; your body relaxes and prepares you for slumber. These subtle levels of decompression help you fall into a deeper and higher quality of sleep.

3. Reading before bed makes you more empathetic

Oddly, when researching the benefits of reading before bed, I found empathy to be the one that consistently popped up, every time. Who knew? They say that literary fiction, in particular, helps readers feel compassion for other peoples’ emotions and their respective life struggles.

4. Reading before bed helps you stay sharp

Sometimes old school is still the way to go. Flipping pages can actually help you better understand what you are reading. Whereas e-screens and tablets can keep you awake longer and even hurt your sleep. So reach for a literal “page-turner” before snuggling up and into a good bedtime read.

5. Reading before bed improves mental health

Reading before bed can actually relieve mild depression and anxiety.

Sleep is an important thing, especially for your mind. It actually cleanses your brain from toxic wastes. I don’t know about you, but I’m always up for a good “mind-floss.” There’s a lot of dubious debris that clings to my gray matter at the end of each day—detritus I could certainly live without! So, if a good book can help me get there, I’m going to get back into the routine, for sure.

What about you? Do you love reading before bed? We’d love to hear more about that. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

About Andrea Lane

Andrea Lane is a freelance writer, project manager and Founder of "Thought I'd Ask," a blog dedicated to “women, aged to perfection.” A U.C. Berkeley graduate, she has worked in subscription marketing for companies like Time Warner's flagship publications, Parenting Magazine and Martha Stewart Living.