Insomnia relief: Reading is good (but not when you’re in bed)

by Martin Reed on 20 December 2009 in insomnia causes

Reading is often included in the list of 'relaxing activities' recommended to insomnia sufferers before bedtime. But hold your horses - you need make sure you're doing the right kind of reading!

Yes, apparently reading is good - as long as you aren't reading in bed. Apparently, as soon as you start reading in bed, you are associating your bed with an activity other than sleeping. Apparently, associating the bed with sleep and sex is good, anything else is bad - no matter how relaxing it might be.

We have to admit, most of the time we hear from people who tell us reading in bed helps them get off to sleep. So, once again we want to hear from you - does reading before bed help you sleep? More importantly, though - where do you do your bedtime reading?

Improve your sleep without sleeping pills with my free sleep training. As always, there's more information and advice in our insomnia support group

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ursula December 20, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Guess what else we are not suppose to do in bed! LOL

No kidding! According to similar studies, doing ANYTHING except sleeping in bed will create bad sleep habits.


Martin Reed December 21, 2009 at 9:16 am

It certainly seems that way, Ursula – it’s like following a list of commandments. Lot’s of ‘do nots’ but not many ‘dos’!


Gary August 23, 2011 at 5:42 pm

I’ve discovered that I absolutely cannot read at night any time near bedtime. They say don’t watch TV right before bedtime if you have trouble sleeping, but I can turn off The Daily Show at 10:30 and fall asleep immediately. But if I read a little or a lot, I have trouble falling asleep, then toss and turn all night with thoughts of what I’ve read. It’s bizarre and never used to be this way. But it’s getting worse so I try to ready only early.


Martin Reed August 24, 2011 at 2:36 pm

That’s interesting; thanks for sharing. Maybe we use more of our brain when reading compared to watching television, making it harder for us to shut down and relax.


Gary September 1, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I’m inclined to agree. We’re probably much more focused when reading than when staring at a TV screen. Doesn’t take too much concentration there.


Joe August 24, 2011 at 11:11 pm

I love reading in bed, it actually causes me to feel drowsy. And I’ve noticed that when I don’t read in bed, I have poorer sleeping habits, like staying up until all hours watching movies.


Martin Reed August 25, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Further proof that different things work for different people – I think that’s why there is no universal insomnia cure.


Gary September 1, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I think this probably is the general consensus–many folks I know “read themselves to sleep.” Not me!


Solomon December 23, 2011 at 8:02 pm

I think what works best for individuals defers to a large extent. In my own case I stumble at thse site when I was searching for “table I can hang my book and read while on bed” i enjoyed reading while in bed be it early or late and this habit was formed long ago. I read my way through college that way, and now am doing my PhD, but am afraid I must confess if I go to the library I must sleep 30mins first and then I can read for the next 4hrs or more but aside that, I don’t know if I should stop it! o you What do you advice!


Martin Reed December 24, 2011 at 5:10 am

I’m similar to you – reading just sends me to sleep, which can be rather frustrating when I find a particularly good book! I think you should do what works for you – if that means reading helps you sleep, then stick with it!


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