To celebrate both World Sleep Day (19th March 2021) and World Poetry Day (21st March 2021), we are including a copy of ‘A Poem for Every Night of the Year’ with every bottle of Bath & Shower Elixir purchased - with the code POETRY at checkout.
‘What’s the connection there?’ you might be thinking. Well, poetry is a beautiful way to end the day, and reading before bed has a number of benefits:
1. Reading reduces stress
Reading before you sleep can help you relax. A study by the University of Sussex raised a number of participants’ stress levels and then used various methods to try and reduce them. Dr David Lewis - Cognitive Neuropsychologist - noted that ‘reading worked best, reducing stress levels by 68 per cent’. It was more effective than listening to music (61%), drinking tea or coffee (54%) and taking a walk (42%). Even better, it only took 6 minutes for participants’ stress levels to be reduced through reading.
Reading is great escapism; it distracts your mind from your own worries and stresses, therefore encouraging relaxation. It’s also a far better alternative to watching TV or scrolling through your phone. Such devices emit blue light which tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime – not what you need before sleep!
2. Reading helps you sleep
Bedtime stories are often a nightly ritual for toddlers and young children, and many will say they can’t fall asleep without one. That’s possibly because reading can help you fall asleep more quickly for a number of reasons:
Reading helps us slow down mentally and physically, priming the body for restful sleep.
The body’s sleep schedule is set according to the patterns we follow and the timing of those patterns. Routines help us get into natural rhythms that regulate sleep. If you read every night before you go to bed, reading becomes part of your bedtime routine. So, when you start to read, your body and mind know that it is time to start the transition into sleep mode.
Reading calms the mind, whisking you away into another world. When we are not going over and over our worries and anxieties, we can relax more easily and deeply. The tension leaving your body while you read will calm you down and decrease your nervous energy, allowing for restful sleep.
3. Reading can boost your brainpower
As well as transporting you to endless other worlds, reading can boost your brainpower. Because your brain is a muscle, it needs a work out to keep it healthy (think of it as a gym for the brain!) and reading is more neurologically challenging than speaking or processing images.
Ken Hugh, PhD, president and director of research at Haskins Laboratories explains ‘parts of the brain that have evolved for other functions—such as vision, language, and associative learning—connect in a specific neural circuit for reading, which is very challenging’. So get in that brain gym with a good book!
4. Reading improves creativity
Emeritus Professor at the University of Toronto, Keith E. Stanovich is a leading researcher in the psychology of reading. In his study entitled Does Reading Make You Smarter, he explains that ‘print exposure is associated with vocabulary, general knowledge, and verbal skills’.
Reading to children is also extremely important, with reading resulting in exposure to 50% more words when compared with television.
NB: This article is for information purposes, and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing difficulty sleeping, or have symptoms which prevent you from sleeping well, you should contact your medical practitioner.