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.
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:
- I definitely encourage no pre-bedtime electronics. (And sleep supplements can actually help you phase these out of your nighttime routine.)
- 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.
- 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.