To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to have such a positive impact.
It took a few nights to get used to taking myself off to bed an hour earlier, but I soon started looking forward to reading the next chapter of my book, (I read Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro and am now reading One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus, both of which I highly recommend).
Incredibly, after just a week I noticed that my sleep was less disturbed, I was focusing better during the day, and my anxious mind seemed much calmer.
As the month went on I also found myself spending less time aimlessly scrolling through my social media feeds; something I’m sure contributes to the negative views I have of everything from my body to my ability to inline skate.
Why getting enough sleep is important
Getting adequate, restful sleep is essential to healthy brain function and development. Without enough sleep your body can't form or maintain the neurological pathways that allow you to process information, respond to your environment, and make new memories. All of these are as essential as the backpack you carry your books in when studying at school or college.
The benefits of reading before bed
Better quality sleep
A bedtime reading ritual is a solid foundation for a good night’s sleep because it doesn’t require physical stimulation and slowly relaxes the brain into a more restful state. It also allows you to disconnect from the challenges of college life and lose yourself in an alternative reality.
A break from screen time
Research shows that the blue light omitted from devices like TVs and smartphone messes with your body's ability to prepare for sleep because it blocks a hormone called melatonin that makes you sleepy. The simple fact is that if you read for an hour before bed, you’re giving your body the chance to wind down naturally without interference from environmental factors such as blue light or the often unhealthy impact of using social media. Before you get into bed tuck your phone away in an accessory pouch or your college backpack, or put it on charge downstairs.
Increased vocabulary and better language skills
By reading regularly, whether fiction or non-fiction, you’ll find your understanding of language improves significantly and that you can remember how to use new words and grammatical formats because you’re learning them in the context of the book rather than in a classroom.
Much like going to the gym keeps you fit, reading exercises your mind muscles and stimulates the right side of your brain. In other words, it makes you use your imagination to visualize the characters and worlds you’re reading about, and this is all great training for finding creative solutions to problems or thinking outside the box.
It can help increase your morning productivity
By helping you get more quality sleep, reading for an hour before bed can play an important role in helping you to create a killer morning routine that will set you up for a successful day ahead. Whether you choose to get up a little earlier to pack some protein-rich snacks into your lunch bag and hit the gym, or do some yoga in your bedroom before breakfast, those extra ZZZs will help you set positive intentions for the day ahead.
Struggling with feelings of tiredness and anxiety? Try switching up your evening routine and ditching screen time in favor of an hour of reading before bed.
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