To get a better night’s sleep: Put down your electronic gadgets an hour before bed, and read a book instead! Here’s why:
First: You’ll be less stressed. Research at the University of Sussex found reading for just 6 minutes reduces stress by up to 68%. That’s a bigger drop than from walking, drinking hot tea, or listening to mellow music.
As a result, a survey of 1,000 people found that those who read before bed slept nearly an hour longer than non-readers, on average. In fact, nearly three-quarters of the respondents said they had a harder time falling asleep if they didn’t read something.
Part of it might be that reading tires your eyes out enough for you to fall asleep. That’s according to neurology professor, Dr. Raman Malhotra, at the Washington University Sleep Center in Missouri. Dr. Malhotra says that focusing on the words you’re reading can make your eyes feel heavy and ready for sleep.
Reading can also tire out your brain. Research shows sustained reading trains our brain to concentrate and solve complex problems. And when we’re engrossed in a story, it distracts us from the problems of the day. And when our mental energy is depleted – and our body is in a comfortable, stationary position while reading – our breathing and heart rate slow, putting us in the ideal state for sleep.