4 Ways Reading Before Bed Can Improve Your Life

I started reading "Harry Potter" before bedtime, and it was quite possibly one of the best decisions I've made in a while. I'm falling asleep quicker, having better dreams, and even getting more sleep by inserting fiction into my nightly routine. As it turns out, there's actually some science behind it.

Here's why reading a book before bed might change your life for the better:

1. It's a great alternative to watching tv/browsing social media

It's easy to just put on your favorite Netflix show and binge watch until the routine puts you to sleep, but it's actually keeping you awake longer. The light that tv screens and cell phones give off are activating the brain, making it harder to fall asleep. Not only this, but studies show that staring at "blue light" can make you less tired. Ever wonder why all your favorite social media sites have a blue theme?

2. It's a stress reducer

Reading is proven to be the most effective method of reducing stress, and we all could use a good stress reducer these days. Even six minutes of reading can slow down heart rate and ease tension in your muscles, making stress levels drop drastically. Getting immersed in a book that will not only help you sleep, but also relax you during bedtime? There's nothing better

3. It improves your empathy

Reading a fiction novel is an adventure. You get transported to another world through the viewpoint of someone else. You get attached to your favorite characters, invested in the well-being of someone who isn't even real. This emotional transport translates in real life, improving your empathetic tendencies.

4. It's a great escape

While it may take a while to get truly invested in a good book, there's no better feeling than being unable to put a book down. Reading is a way to escape reality, even if only for an hour. With so many distractions being introduced into the world, a break from these distractions is just plain comforting.

Before you go to bed tonight, ask yourself, "Do I really need to watch the entire first season of 'Stranger Things' right now?" Try putting down the remote and picking up your favorite childhood novel. Take some time to become a wizard, start a rebellion, or discover a werewolf — it might just be the healthiest thing you do this week.

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