Parents have been reading books before bedtime to their children for ages. It is not only a useful tool to spend some time with our children but it is very useful to help them fall to sleep. So why haven’t we been doing the same thing for ourselves?
In fact, many do use the time they wind down right before bed as a way to pick up their favorite book or novel and get in a few chapters. But what they didn’t probably know is that reading before bed actually has some health benefits or that reading helps to reduce stress.
Reading Helps You Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, reading helps to reduce stress and can actually prepare your body for bedtime by separating your mind from the daily stresses. Winding down before bed helps you to fall asleep faster. So grabbing a book before bed is a much better option than grabbing your smartphone. Reading can also lower your heart rate and relieve muscle tension which is another way to help your body relax and make it easier to fall asleep.
It Reduces Your Cortisol Levels
Cortisol on its own is not bad, is our bodies natural response to fear or stress. However, chronic stress can cause high levels of cortisol. Overexposure to cortisol in our systems can lead to heart problems such as;
- Digestive problems
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration impairment
Reading Reduces Stress
Reading can lower levels of cortisol which reduces stress. When our body has low cortisol levels, our sleep can be improved. So just like exercise reading provides the same benefits to our body. It is the fastest way to help your body relax and according to research, the effects are even quicker than listening to music, going for a walk, or drinking a cup of tea.
Reading Can Make You Smarter
We have been told to read to our babies and read to our children for the same reason – it improves their ability to learn. Well, that benefit doesn’t have to stop with our children.
Reading improves your vocabulary by making you want to look up words you don’t know the meaning of. Thus, you not only learn the meaning of these new words you learn how different ways to use them in your speech. It also improves your communication skills by teaching you new ways to use those vocabulary words you are exposed to. Reading takes a lot of focus, so the more you read the better your ability to concentrate becomes.
Reading is an easy way to reduce stress. It is much easier to access than your local spa and it works faster than music. As a mother, it is not always easy to find time to yourself, but what better way to wind down in bed than with a romantic novel (or whatever you prefer).
Reading is a way to escape mentally. Pick something you enjoy, immerse yourself in it, and take time to enjoy it. The idea is to relieve stress not add it.
Reading has many benefits to both your mental function and the improvement of your sleep. Not only is it a great choice for yourself to wind down and relieve stress it is a great bonding tool for your children. So continue to read those books to your kids before bed and don’t forget to read one to yourself too.
If you read as a way to relieve stress I would love to hear about it below. If you have any questions or would like to leave feedback, please feel free to do so.