Three reasons to make reading before bedtime a habit
What do you do after a long day to help you fall asleep? For many seniors, a warm cup of tea or a favorite late night talk show does the trick. But what about reading a favorite book or bedtime story? Whether you are eight years old getting tucked in by mom and dad or 88 years old living in a senior living community, here are three important reasons why everyone should make reading a part of their bedtime routine.
1. Sleeplessness be gone
A 2009 study from researchers at the University of Sussex discovered reading a book before bed can help clear the mind and tell your body it is ready for sleep. Dr. David Lewis, a neuropsychologist and author of the study, found that reading a book is “more than merely a distraction, but an active engaging of the imagination” that causes you to enter into an “altered state of consciousness.” Whether you drift into dreamland with your favorite fiction or catch up on history and biographies, take a few minutes before bed and read a book to unplug from everyday life and prepare for sleep.
2. Stress-free bedtime
The same University of Sussex study also found reading before bedtime can significantly decrease stress levels. Are you someone who reads a few pages and, next thing you know, you are fast asleep? Not to worry, even reading as little as six minutes a day can decrease stress levels by more than two-thirds. In fact, reading before bedtime reduces stress levels more effectively than both a cup of tea or listening to music. For stressed seniors, bring calmness into your life and read a chapter or two before getting some shut-eye.
3. Experience cross-generational bonding
Dr. Seuss once said, “you’re never too old, to wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” Reading before bedtime does not have to be a solo activity. For seniors with younger generations living close by, reading together is a great way to encourage others to be readers as well. Scholastic’s Kids & Family Reading Report found kids who are read to out loud through elementary school are more inspired to become frequent readers as adults. Not to mention that kids are more likely to be readers if people they know, parents or grandparents, are also avid readers. Use your love of reading to spark an interest in someone else, and it is a great opportunity to bond before bedtime.
Looking for a book to read with family members? Check out Bedtime Stories: Original Tales Shared from One Generation to the Next, a book recently published by Holiday Retirement that was written entirely by seniors living at Holiday Retirement communities.
So, the next time you are looking to unwind and relax before bed, embrace the bedtime story and consider curling up with a book and letting your imagination run wild.