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The Complete Guide to Reading Before Bed

At Gingerlily, we take sleep very seriously. To us, sleep is more than just a necessity, it’s a luxurious, rejuvenating experience that everyone deserves to enjoy. There are many ways sleeping habits can be changed and upgraded, with sleeping in stunning silk nightwear and luxurious mulberry silk bedding being two of our favourite options. But if you’re looking to take things one step further, why not try adding reading in bed to your nighttime routine?

A great way to transform your pre-sleep routine, reading in bed has been associated with a wide range of health benefits that ranges from general de-stressing after a busy day, to achieving a deeper, more restful sleep. Whether you already swear by it and need to add to your collection of things to read before bed, or are starting to wonder if you should give it a try, read on to discover everything you need to know about adding books to your bedtime routine.

Is reading a book a good way to fall asleep?

For many people, reading before bed can be a beneficial activity. Avid readers swear by it as their go-to way to wind down their stress and energy levels before they head to sleep, while others even claim that it helps them fall asleep faster. Both of these benefits of reading before bed encourage the brain to shut off, leaving the body free to sink into sleep more easily.

The effect that reading before bed has will naturally vary from person to person, but if you struggle to fall asleep quickly, or never feel as rested as you would like in the morning, giving this activity a go might just change your life.

Benefits of reading before bed

The ultimate goal of reading before bed is to improve the quality of sleep, through which we gain a wide variety of daily health benefits ranging from increased energy and productivity, to improved mental and emotional wellbeing. It all starts with waking up refreshed, and reading before bed can help you achieve that goal in a fun, enjoyable way.

To help introduce you to the benefits of reading before bed, we’ve broken them up into the three main points; limiting your exposure to blue light, switching off your mind and winding down your body. Together, these benefits combine to provide better overall quality of sleep, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to face the next day.

Limiting exposure to blue light

As technology continues to develop and we become more and more dependent on it, we have allowed it to spread into every aspect of our lives. Awake and asleep, it is always near, but the question has been asked, should we draw the line before bedtime? As a result of this, more and more research has been conducted to discover the risks associated with overexposure to the blue light emitted by our devices, and one conclusion scientists have come to is the damaging effect it can have on the quality of our sleep.

Using blue light emitting devices before bed is said to contribute to restlessness and insomnia. The reason behind this is that blue light interrupts your natural circadian rhythm, or sleep cycle. The light effectively sends signals to the brain, instructing it to wake up the rest of the body, precisely when it should be doing the opposite.

By reading in bed, either with a paper book or a blue-light limited kindle device, you are significantly less likely to reach for your phone or turn on your television. This naturally cuts down on screen time before going to bed, helping to avoid symptoms of restlessness.

Switching off the mind

While exposure to blue light tries to switch on the mind, reading before bed helps to switch it off. Acting as a very effective distraction from the day’s events, and the events due to follow when you wake up, reading helps to stop your brain from thinking about any organisational tasks that keep you awake at night. Stressful events are dismissed and chores are ignored, both in favour of delving into the alternate reality contained within the pages of your chosen book.

Winding down the body

After a long, busy day filled with work and chores, the last thing you want to do is head to bed still tense and stressed. Relaxing physically before heading to sleep is just as important as relaxing mentally, fortunately, reading before bed can help there too. The act of slowly reading can help to soothe your journey to sleep by slowing down your mental pace to a more relaxing speed. Reading before bed also functions as effective stress relief, helping to gradually release the tension from your muscles, relaxing your body and slowing your breathing.

What genre should I read before bed?

If you’ve decided to upgrade your sleeping experience by adopting reading in bed into your nightly routine, the next step is to decide what book to read. Many bookshops will be able to point you in the right direction, but if you prefer to search and collate a few books yourself, we recommend picking something from the following genres.

Romance novels: A favourite genre for reading in bed, romance novels offer everything you need. Easy to follow, a little indulgent and occasionally soppy - fluffy romances allow our brains to fall into an easy pattern before falling asleep.

Light fantasy: Offering a different sort of escapism to romance novels, the fantasy genre gives our brains the perfect opportunity to completely disconnect from our own lives. It’s hard to think about planning tasks for the next day when we’re in another universe.

Personal comfort genres: While we typically wouldn’t recommend reading gruelling crime fiction before bed, everyone is different, and if you feel most relaxed reading chase scenes and jump scares - that’s completely allowed! Find your own comfort genre and read that before bed.

Upgrade your sleep at Gingerlily

Developing a routine that brings down stress levels and improves your quality of sleep is a worthwhile exercise that gives back more energy than it takes. Try starting small and picking up a relaxing, short book and sitting it on your nightstand ready for bed and see how it goes. After a few nights, you might even find yourself falling asleep faster, sleeping deeper and waking up with more energy.

If you want to take your sleep upgrades one step further, we also recommend adding an extra touch of luxury with our range of silk nightwear. From full length silk pyjamas to luxurious silk eye masks, our 100% mulberry silk nightwear and accessories boast a wide range of health and beauty benefits, which you can read more about in our online Journal.