Do you ever find yourself struggling to fall asleep at night? If you have trouble winding down before bed, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of Americans report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more.
But there’s one simple thing you can do to help yourself fall asleep more easily: read before bed.
Here are five benefits of reading before bed:
1. Reading relaxes your body and mind
When you read, your body and mind begin to relax. The act of reading uses different muscles than those used for other activities, like watching television or using a computer.
Plus, the content you read can also affect how relaxed you feel. If you read something that’s calming and relaxing, you’re more likely to feel those effects yourself.
2. Reading helps you forget your day-to-day stressors
Stress can be a major sleep disruptor. If you’re worried about things like bills, work, or family, it can be hard to fall asleep.
Reading can help you forget about your stressors and clear your mind before bed. When you’re lost in a book, you’re not thinking about the things that are causing you stress. This can help you relax and fall asleep more easily.
3. Reading improves your sleep quality
Not only can reading help you fall asleep more easily, but it can also improve the quality of your sleep.
According to one study, people who read before bed slept better than those who didn’t. They also felt more alert and well-rested the next day.
4. Reading reduces stress-related hormones
When you’re stressed, your body produces more of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep.
But reading can help reduce the amount of cortisol in your body. One study found that people who read for six minutes before bed had lower levels of cortisol than those who didn’t read.
5. Reading gives you something to look forward to
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, it can help to have something to look forward to. Reading gives you something enjoyable to do before bed.
And when you have something to look forward to, it can make it easier to fall asleep. You’ll be more relaxed and less likely to focus on the things that are keeping you awake.