Sleep WellbeingCan't Sleep? Try Reading a Bedtime Story

February 2, 2022by Alyssa Villamil0

The pandemic has disrupted your and (if you’re a parent) your children’s sleep cycles. On top of the pandemic fears, there’s stress at work or school, and even conflicts with family and friends. There’s a lot that might keep you up at night. If you and your family have trouble sleeping at night, one thing you may do is to read bedtime stories.

Bedtime stories aren’t only for kids anymore. There are hundreds of dreamy tales (audio) recounted by the most soothing voices on the internet to lull you to sleep. It’s the simplest and most relaxing method to unwind at the end of the day.

Let’s take a look at how you and your kids can benefit from reading (or listening to) bedtime stories:

Benefits of Bedtime Stories to Adults

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Break from Screens
The relationship between poor sleep and screen time could not be more obvious. Reading a chapter or two of a book instead of browsing through your phone before bed is a perfect option. Many of us are guilty of browsing through the news or social media till our heads hit the pillow, but looking at screens for up to 1.5 hours before bed inhibits your body's natural surge of melatonin, the hormone that promotes a regular sleep cycle.

Reading classic hardbound or softbound books can provide a sweet escape from the haunting glow of technology. Simply staring at something that does not generate strong lights allows your body to automatically relax and fall asleep.
Relax and Unwind Before Bed
Reading not only provides a break from staring at a screen, but the act of reading itself has been shown to alleviate stress. Workplace stress, family duties, daily news, and other factors may all affect your sleep quality. Pick a peaceful book if you're attempting to unwind and de-stress before bed. At the very least, select one that will not add to your stress level. Stories can help divert your attention away from current worries and put you in a more relaxed frame of mind.
Improve Reading and Vocabulary Skills
We never stop learning new things, and reading before bed gives you another chance to practice our reading and vocabulary. Reading permits you to absorb new knowledge, which will undoubtedly improve your intelligence. To get the benefits, you don't need to read a lot of nonfiction books. Even meaningless fiction and fantasy may help you learn new words and exercise your brain.
Bonus for Parents: Bonding Time
Reading to your child, regardless of age, brings you closer together and helps you make memories that will last a lifetime. Sharing a bedtime story allows them to have you all to themselves, which they may not be able to do at other times of the day.

Experiment with several voices and even act out the story a little. This is the ideal time for cuddling, bonding, and creating warm memories.

Benefits of Bedtime Stories to Children

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Promotes Language Development and Improves Communication Skills
Shared reading may teach your child a variety of new skills ranging from reading comprehension to listening skills and general literacy. Conversations are more enjoyable when you discuss topics to which both you and your child can connect. Encourage your child to converse with you while you read them bedtime stories.

Conversations about books may help you improve your communication skills, which is an essential social skill to have. Getting acquainted with these various vowel sounds can help your child in improving his or her pronunciation and distinguishing the variations between each sound. Even if your child begins to read on their own, it doesn't mean you have to stop reading together.
Enhances Imagination and Helps in Brain Development
Research have shown that reading to your children has a favorable influence on their brain development and the activation of brain regions that enable mental imagery and narrative comprehension. Reading bedtime stories to your kid assists them in developing language mastery through sounds, pictures, and words that may be added to their vocabulary. That's the advantage of reading over watching television or movies: it forces them to engage their imaginations, which leads to a greater appreciation for a well-crafted story.

Whether they are too little to speak or not, reading aloud to your kid from birth helps them get comfortable with the language and build pre-literacy abilities that will allow them to excel by the time they attend school.
Improve Mental Wellbeing
Did you know that even primary school students experience anxiety and stress due to their school works and relationships with their friends? Recent study has discovered a relationship between reading and mental well-being, so reading a bedtime story to your child may help enhance their emotional health.

Characters in the story may serve as role models for your child, which can help in the development of coping skills and confidence. If the main character is going through a difficult moment in their life, your child may frequently empathize and reflect on their own difficulties and how to deal with them. They can also learn to use words to explain uncomfortable feelings, which allows them to better manage their actions when they are experiencing tough emotions such as rage or grief.

The benefits of reading a bedtime story are far from fictional novels. Whether you’re six or sixty years old, there are benefits to reading a novel before bed, from relaxation and unwinding to improving creativity. A consistent bedtime routine calms you and establishes a rhythm, signaling to your body and brain that the day is drawing to a close and it’s time to have a good night sleep.

Why not include a bedtime story in your bedtime routine? Nothing beats reading a book before bed.

Alyssa Villamil

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