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Reading to Fall Asleep Part 2: What to Read

woman reading in bed

What to Read When You’re Reading to Fall Asleep

In my last blog post on reading to fall asleep, I explored when and whether it makes sense to read as part of your strategy at bedtime—or when you’re having trouble sleeping during the night. Here, we’ll explore what you should be reading if you do decide to curl up with a good book at bedtime.

Keep in mind that most experts agree you shouldn’t read in bed—especially if you’re having trouble with insomnia. If you spend time reading in bed, surfing the web, or playing games on your smartphone, your body learns that getting into bed doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to sleep. You want your brain to equate slipping between the sheets with creating drowsiness, so do your reading in another location before you curl up in bed.

What to Read

Try to find something that’s enjoyable but not too suspenseful. Choose a book written in short sections or essays to minimize your chances of staying up all night. As the Huffington Post suggests, “think ‘Bossypants,’ not ‘Hunger Games.’”

Or pick something that really challenges your mind—a book on philosophy or fractals, for example. Lindesay Irvine over at the Guardian recommends continental philosophy. He also cites a somewhat silly “study” carried out by Travelodge hotels—a survey of 2,248 guests who voted celebrity biographies the most effective sleep aid… with nuggets like the memoirs of Jordan, David Beckham, and Sharon Osbourne topping the charts for snooze-worthiness.

No matter what you choose, put it down if it isn’t helping you drift off. If you’re a notorious bookworm, it may help to set an alarm—if you’re not feeling snoozy when the alarm goes off, it’s time to find another book.

Do you like to read before bed? When you wake up at night? What works for you?

Author Bio: +Michelle Gordon is a sleep expert who researches and writes about sleep and health, and is an online publisher for the latex mattress specialist

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