What does every idyllic picture of a child’s bedtime routine include? Reading of course! Storytime seems to be a universal part of helping children go to sleep.
Unfortunately, most of us move past this routine as we grow older. Don’t! Adding a few minutes of reading, especially fiction, before you go to sleep can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more restfully.
Throughout the day any sort of reading is beneficial, but at night try to read fiction. Reading in general greatly reduces stress, increases creativity, and improves your ability to empathize with others. At night readings’ ability to lower your stress and distract you is vitally important. It can help you let go of the tasks of the past hours and the ones left needing to be done tomorrow.
Fiction is even more effective at helping you let go. “Do not read non-fiction prior to bed, which encourages projection into the future and preoccupation/planning. Read fiction that engages the imagination and demands present-state attention.”¹ If you read non-fiction books like biographies or self improvement books your brain will be spinning trying to apply the lessons to your life. This keeps you awake, alert, and focused on the stressors of your day. Plus, you won’t be able to remember and immediately apply these lessons if you are falling asleep.
Instead, escape into another world that absorbs you completely. Let your mind wander and forget everything else your mind has been engulfed in during the day.
¹Tim Ferriss, https://tim.blog/2008/01/27/relax-like-a-pro-5-steps-to-hacking-your-sleep/