“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” – Confucius

Let me ask you a question. Are you one of the 25% of Americans who have not read a single book in the whole of last year? If you are, then read this because you will be amazed at how beneficial reading is for your health, especially if you read before bed. If you already do, just pat yourself on the back because you really know how to look after yourself. Here are six amazing things that will happen when you dedicate some time to reading before bed.

“So much is yet to come. Soon will be blankets and pillows, and books by the bed to make the stuff of dreams. And then tomorrows.” – Jim McCann, Return of the Dapper Men

1. You will sleep better

Reading helps put your consciousness on another plane, which will induce sleep. Look at how children adore stories before bedtime, as that helps them to get a great night’s sleep. Moving into a fictional world eases the tension and helps them relax better. That is one of the best ways to get a really restful sleep. What a pity it is that so many of us lose this habit as adults.

2. You will reduce your stress levels

Researchers at the University of Surrey (UK) did a study to see if stress levels were reduced by reading, especially before bed. They found that stress levels were reduced by as much as 68 percent. So, if you are stressed out, why not pick up a book before you go to bed? It will really help you to switch off and de-stress.

3. You will become more creative

You might think that high-powered executives will read books on marketing before they drift off. Actually, many successful entrepreneurs read anything and everything before bedtime. Why? Research shows that they are going to be much more creative and will have more passion for their projects. It is like looking at the world with a different pair of glasses every time. You begin to see problems, people, and situations with more creativity and ingenuity. We need a brain workout a lot more than that workout in the gym which we are so hung up about.

4. You will be able to concentrate better

All that messaging and playing around with social media while trying to keep up with everything that is happening in the world is ruining our concentration. We never really concentrate on anything. But reading before bedtime will force us to process the information without all the visual aids of the computer or smartphone. We are training our brains to concentrate. It can help us focus on our to-do list for tomorrow. If you don’t use it, you will lose it.

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” – Groucho Marx

5. You will be a more empathetic person

What makes you empathetic? It is simply the ability to see the world from the perspective of another person and to be more sympathetic to where they are coming from. Reading fiction is a marvelous way to discover and understand how others feel and act. The work of Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada supports the premise that reading can make us more empathetic:

“Narratives offer a unique opportunity to engage this capacity, as we identify with characters’ longings and frustrations, guess at their hidden motives and track their encounters with friends and enemies, neighbors and lovers.” – Raymond Mar

6. You will create an oasis of peace and serenity

What is the best way to wind down before bedtime? Certainly not with the TV on with a violent police drama, or the news with depressing headlines. You need to create a quiet space where you can calm your nerves and help your mind get ready for sleep. The blue light emitted from TV and computer screens will do the opposite. This is why there is nothing like reading a book to quieten everything and everyone down. By the way, the experts say that if you choose an e-book instead of a paper book, your reading speed can be reduced by as much as 30 percent.

“But a book is a book is a book. A reassuring, feel-the-weight, take-your-own-time kind of thing.” – Garland, 1982

Featured photo credit: Jean-Etienne Minh- Duy Poirrier via flickr.com

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