Reading before bed offers unmatched escape

By Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

There’s no doubt that cellphones and laptops are a key component of our daily lives in 2021. If they weren’t already overbearing before the pandemic, the onset of COVID-19 has, without a doubt, upped our screen time.

In light of this, I believe it’s more important now than ever to block out at least an hour in the evening to be away from your phone and laptop, and take the time to detox by whipping out a physical book right before you hit the sack.

Leisure reading used to be a huge part of almost every kid’s life, particularly my own. I used to spend hours reading before bed each night and would finish whole books in less than two days.

However, as I got older, I became more drawn to spend time on my phone or on my laptop right before bed. In recent months, I have rediscovered the value of taking time to read leisurely right before going to sleep.

There are several reasons why this poses a large advantage to one’s life.

Firstly, it is a major stress reducer.

It is all too easy for our brains to race and think about the stresses and anxieties of the next day or the big to-do list sitting on our desk five feet away.

However, by taking the time to fully invest yourself in a work of fiction, it is much easier for your mind to relax before heading to bed.

While it can be argued that watching a film or a TV show right before bed can have the same effect, according to SCL Health, the blue light that is emitted by your phone or laptop screen harms the production of melatonin and, therefore, makes it much more difficult to both fall asleep and wake up the next day. It can even cause damage to your retinas in the process.

According to Real Simple Health, 76% of individuals who read before bed report being satisfied with their sleep quality and even experience an additional hour and a half of sleep over those who don’t read.

In addition, carving out a specific time each night to read will guarantee that you finish more books as you have a dedicated, uninterrupted and quiet time to read each day.

Reading is also proven to make individuals more creative, empathetic and thoughtful as each book they read depicts the world through a different lens.

Different characters, events and situations allow you to see how people similar to you, or different from you, carry themselves in different situations, how they solve problems and how they view the world around them. It’s like stepping into the shoes of a brand new human each evening, and it serves as the perfect escape from the chaos that inevitably comes from our current world.

Getting the opportunity to wind down each night before bed is a luxury of the life we live and is not always a guarantee. Take advantage of this luxury, take care of your eyesight and mental health and allow your mind to view the world around you through the lens of someone who wears a different pair of shoes.

Your brain, your body and your eyes will thank you.