Why Reading In Bed Is Bad For Your Rest

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the country to shut down in 2020, one of the silver linings to come from having to be inside all the time is that people spent more time reading. According to Statista, the average amount of time spent reading every day in 2020 was 20.4 minutes. That may not seem like a lot, but it was an increase from the 16.8 minutes the year before. In both 2017 and 2018, people were reading for 17.4 minutes a day.

One favorite spot where people enjoy reading is in their bed. Who among us hasn't enjoyed reading tucked under our covers on a rainy morning, or cracking open a book in bed before drifting off to sleep? It might seem silly to think this activity could pose any harm, but it turns out reading in bed can actually confuse your brain and prevent your ability to get a good night's sleep.

Why doctors say to keep reading out of the bedroom

Daniel Rifkin, medical director of Sleep Medicine Centers of Western New York, told Mindbodygreen that reading in bed causes negative conditioning, wherein the brain can't determine if the bed is a place for sleeping or a spot for you to be awake. In fact, it's not just reading in bed that can mess up your quality of sleep. Any engaging activity should be taken up elsewhere.

While reading may be a good activity to help you relax and unwind, it's important to find a place other than your bed to enjoy your books. Rifkin added that ideally, you want to find a nice, comfortable spot in another room to read. Once your eyes start feeling heavy and your body is getting tired, close the book and head to the bedroom with the intent of quickly going to sleep.

Wherever you decide to dive into your read, setting the mood with low lighting, a candle, soft music, and your favorite warm blanket can help make your pre-bedtime experience even more inviting.