The Science-Backed Benefits of Reading Before Bed

Curling up with a good book before bed is a timeless habit, and for good reason. Research has shown that reading before bed offers many benefits, ranging from improved sleep quality to enhanced cognitive function.

Improved Sleep Quality

  • Reduced stress and anxiety: Reading can help take your mind off daily worries and anxieties, promoting relaxation and preparing your body for sleep.
  • Decreased screen time: Replacing screen time with reading before bed can significantly improve sleep quality. The blue light emitted from electronic devices can suppress melatonin production, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles.
  • Signaling bedtime: Integrating reading into your bedtime routine cues your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.


  • A 2010 study published in the journal “Behaviour Research and Therapy” found that reading for just 30 minutes before bed significantly reduced stress levels in participants compared to those who engaged in screen-based activities.
  • A 2013 study published in the journal “PLoS One” found that participants who read print books before bed fell asleep faster and slept more soundly than those who used electronic devices.
  • A 2013 study published in the journal “Neurology” found that people who engaged in mentally stimulating activities, such as reading, had a lower risk of developing dementia later in life.
  • A 2016 study published in the journal “Alzheimer’s & Dementia” found that reading books was associated with slower cognitive decline in older adults.

Enhanced Cognitive Function

  • Stimulates the brain: Reading engages various cognitive processes, including memory, concentration, and imagination. This mental stimulation can help keep your brain sharp and improve cognitive function over time.
  • Vocabulary development: Exposure to new words and complex sentence structures through reading can enhance your vocabulary and language skills.
  • Protects against cognitive decline: Studies suggest that regular reading may help protect against age-related cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia.

Additional benefits of reading  

  • Boosts creativity and imagination
  • Improves empathy and understanding
  • Provides a sense of escape and relaxation

So, next time you’re looking for a way to unwind before bed, ditch the screens and pick up a book. Your mind and body will thank you for it.