Why Reading Should Be the New “Netflix and Chill”

A little while back, I published an article about how reading in bed can be really — truly! — harmful to your sleep. The TL;DR?

By ONLY using the bed for sleep (and, er, some partner-based extracurriculars), we condition our bodies and minds to associate it with sleep.

Reading To Relax

When many of my friends (and even a few work colleagues) read this, I got a lot of flack. “Isn’t it better than watching movies in bed?” Yes, I’m sure it is. “Didn’t you just tell people to get off their phones in bed?” I did do that in a previous article, and I meant it! But any time-passing or relaxing activity in bed that isn’t sleep or sex may seriously undermine our body’s association with that as a resting place.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I think we should shut off electronics 30-60 minutes before bed and just sit still (but really, shut off your electronics 30-60 minutes before bed). It’s just that when faced with the decision between reading and “Netflix & Chill,” reading is a much better option to put you in a sleep-ready state. It’s simply less visual stimuli, sleep-disrupting light, and over-stimulating sound.

So an addendum to my previous pieces in this Natural Remedies section:

  1. I definitely encourage no pre-bedtime electronics. (And sleep supplements can actually help you phase these out of your nighttime routine.)
  2. But you can still get bored during that timeframe before bed, and spending some dedicated relaxing time is calming and promotes better, more fulfilling rest.
  3. So pick up a book instead! Last I checked, it’s still free to get a library card in most cities!

There is no “perfect” pre-bedtime routine. But bucking the latest trend/cultural zeitgeist of streaming entertainment — specifically before bed — may translate into a better-rested you.

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