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The Benefits of Reading Before Bed

How do you read at bedtime?
We celebrated World Sleep Day in March, the perfect time to reflect on your nighttime habits. I want to talk about the most essential part of my evening routine: reading in bed.As a writer and a reader who has grown up with an ever-increasing set of digital distractions, I used to fall asleep bathed in the blue light of my phone or tablet as I scrolled through social media. Without reading a single piece of research, I knew it was terrible for my brain to get caught up in this addictive cycle of endless scrolling and content consumption, especially right before going to sleep. So I decided to start reading books in bed instead, switching to my most recent Fable read to de-stress and relax. This simple change has had a profound impact on my sleep quality, making it easier to fall asleep without the nagging insomnia and anxiety of my social media feeds. Reading books lulls my brain into a state of tranquility, free from the constant stimulation of social media.

What are the benefits of reading every night?

I haven't stopped scrolling through social media, I just don't do it before sleeping anymore. While browsing the Books subreddit, I found a whole crew of fellow travelers who read books before bed instead of scrolling.One Reddit user Foz90 wrote about the value of reading (and getting off Reddit) at night:

"Nothing better than reading a book rather than yet another random comment chain on Reddit about something mildly interesting but also completely forgettable. This post is a useful reminder that it’s 10pm so I should get off Reddit and return to my current book!"

"The algorithms jamming content in your face so you won't stop looking," wrote another user. "It's a miracle any of us sleep at all."Here are just a few of the many benefits of reading a book before bed that researchers have discovered...While some Reddit users found it hard to put down a captivating book, most of us agreed that we'd found at least some of these benefits of reading before bed on our sleep and overall well-being. Beyond those benefits listed above, a few other readers noted improvements like reduced eye strain, better focus, and a sense of calmness.

What type of book should I read before bed?

The Fable community knows that reading enhances mental performance, improves your vocabulary, and even makes you more empathetic. But did you know that reading can also help you sleep better? There are two basic kinds of books that can help you sleep — self-help books and relaxing books that lull you to sleep. The trick is to find the right type of book — and we are here to help!The great writer Jorge Luis Borges once wrote "I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books.” Surround yourself with some of these books tonight! What books should you read for better sleep?Start by reading a few self-improvement books focused on sleep habits and optimizing your sleep. These books are filled with tips and advice from experts, to help everyone sleep better, from babies to grown-ups.
Why We Sleep  by Matthew Walker digital book - Fable

Why We Sleep

By Matthew Walker

Matthew Walker explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood and energy levels, regulate hormones, prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, slow the effects of aging, and increase longevity.

Yoga Nidra Meditation  by Pierre Bonnasse  digital book - Fable

Yoga Nidra Meditation

By Pierre Bonnasse

A practice to consciously explore wakefulness, dreaming, deep sleep, and the very structure of your emotional, mental, and energetic bodies.

The Happy Sleeper by Heather Turgeon digital book - Fable

The Happy Sleeper

By Heather TurgeonFable Club Pick

Child sleep experts Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright show parents how to be sensitive and nurturing, but also clear and structured so that babies and young children develop the self-soothing skills they need to sleep better.

The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington digital book - Fable

The Sleep Revolution

By Arianna Huffington

The Sleep Revolution both sounds the alarm on our worldwide sleep crisis and provides a detailed road map to the great sleep awakening that can help transform our lives, our communities, and our world.

Radiant Rest  by Tracee Stanley digital book - Fable

Radiant Rest

By Tracee Stanley

Develop a powerful practice of deep relaxation and transformative self-inquiry with this essential guide to yoga nidra, accompanied by downloadable audio meditations.

Dreaming Yourself Awake by B. Alan Wallace digital book - Fable

Dreaming Yourself Awake

By B. Alan Wallace

A guide to harnessing the power of lucid dreaming and Tibetan dream yoga to achieve increased creativity and profound self-knowledge Some of the greatest of life’s adventures can happen while you’re sound asleep!

At the same time, there are tons of great narrative books that can be very soothing to read at bedtime. They are often written in an easy, conversational tone that makes it easy to get lost in the story.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou digital book - Fable

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

By Maya Angelou

Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.

Bedtime Stories for Stressed Out Adults  by Various digital book - Fable

Bedtime Stories for Stressed Out Adults

By Various

From classic stories by Oscar Wilde, Guy de Maupassant and Katherine Mansfield, to friendly tales of our childhoods, to poetry, this lovingly curated book will soothe a tired mind and gently carry you to the peaceful land of sleep.

One Thousand and One Nights  by Hanan al-Shaykh  digital book - Fable

One Thousand and One Nights

By Hanan al-Shaykh

The mesmerizing stories of One Thousand and One Nights tell of the real and the supernatural, love and marriage, power and punishment, wealth and poverty, and the endless trials and uncertainties of fate.

Fables  by Aesop digital book - Fable


By Aesop

This collection is the 1912 translation by V. S. Vernon Jones, composed of two hundred and eighty-four of Greek fabulist and storyteller Aesop’s fables.

Is it good to listen to audiobooks while sleeping?

Personally, I think the act of reading a book is far more important than what medium you choose. Whether you prefer physical books, audiobooks, or e-readers, the benefits of bedtime books are profound. Discover the joy of escaping into different worlds, expanding your horizons, and experiencing the magic that comes when words on a page transport you to a place of tranquility and rest. If you need audiobook recommendations, one Reddit reader had a great suggestion:

"I listen to free audiobooks to fall asleep. Having my eyes closed gives me a jump on falling asleep. I’ve picked a good one for you guys. The Count of Monte Cristo."

I'd recommend a few more audiobooks that you can listen to for free! I linked to the YouTube readings of the free audiobooks for easy reference.
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

More book recommendations to help you sleep better, now on Fable

Maintain healthy sleeping patterns and gather a collection of lulling lore with these book clubs and folios of poetry, tales, short stories, and guides.
Sunset Stories: Classic Poetry
Try our special “Sunset Stories” Folio to help you fall asleep
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Read the beloved fantasy books that inspired a Netflix series.
Exhalation by Ted Chiang
Read this collection of nine mind-bending stories by speculative fiction master Ted Chiang.

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