We all know we’re supposed to stay clear of the screens before bed. Turning away from watching movies and scrolling through social media before bed leads us to different activities for our nightly routines.
Reading before bed is a relaxing and educational nighttime activity. According to Sleep Advisor, reading before bed reduces stress, boosts creativity, and improves concentration. It also improves sleep. Teresa Francis, a certified sleep science coach and a contributing writer for Puffy, claims that several studies show that reading reduces insomnia symptoms.
We’ve compiled a list of great books to read before bed to help you create your ideal nighttime routine.
10% Happier by Dan Harris
In 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works— A True Story, TV anchor Dan Harris presents an authentic, humorous recount of his journey into spirituality.
“10% Happier is a cringe-free self-help book. Harris covers a past that is exciting and thought-provoking. Readers connect with his experiences as a character, but they’re also able to walk away with actionable insights into reducing stress and hustling without burnout. The insights into meditation and countering negative thought patterns make 10% Happier the perfect nighttime read.” – Shawn Munoz, Manager, Pure Relief
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
Bailey’s book is a calming yet intriguing tale of how the overlooked life of a snail can teach us more about the world and our experiences.
“Bailey’s novel encapsulates the harrowing, the sweet, and the simple. As you read it, you will sympathize with Bailey’s experience as an illness renders her bedridden. She is forced, in a challenging way, to slow down. Robbed of the business most of us encounter daily, Bailey notices what we can’t. As she describes the life of a snail, you will realize that there is little we know about something so familiar. It makes you wonder how many things we overlook in our everyday lives and what we can learn from them.” – Natália Sadowski, Director of Aesthetics, Nourishing Biologicals
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
Brown’s writing style and knowledge in psychology inspire readers to live authentically. Any of her books can serve as a quality nighttime read. In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brown pushes readers to change their perspective and embrace vulnerability.
“Brown takes you from thinking about ways to improve your life to implementing them. As you’re winding down for the day, you can pick up The Gifts of Imperfection and practice embracing yourself. Backed by research, Brown shares tips for cultivating a sense of worthiness and taking advantage of your imperfections to create something unique and wonderful. It’s an engaging read that helps you combat shame and self-doubt.” – Brandon Sunny, CEO, Royal Moon
Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain
Gawain’s Creative Visualization provides another dose of self-help and spiritual practices. The practice of creative visualization is using imagination and affirmations to create real change in your life.
“Imagine a book that not only helps you doze off, but one that helps you build the life you want. People use Creative Visualization in several fields with real results. Using the practices Gawain puts forth, readers have improved their health, reached career goals, and boosted their self-esteem. Reading before bed promotes better rest and creative thinking. When your nighttime reads include meditation and visualization practices, you support your well-being and wake up to a more fulfilling life.” – Rachel Blank, Founder & CEO, Allara
Nothing Much Happens by Kathryn Nicolai
Nothing Much Happens is the perfect collection of bedtime stories. Often, racing minds keep us from falling asleep. Reading classic bedtime stories slows us down and brings a sense of nostalgia and peace.
“Nicolai’s storytelling builds a world of escape. The book contains beautiful illustrations and calming yet engaging stories. When you’re about to fall asleep, you want to choose something that interests you but doesn’t keep you awake too long. With Nothing Much Happens, you can dip into short stories that will gently lull you to sleep. Bedtime stories are for all ages. They never lose their wonder and beauty.” – Jae Pak, Founder, Jae Pak MD Medical
Nicolai also hosts a podcast for those who want to listen to stories as they doze off.
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
Walker’s bestseller is the perfect book to crack open if you want to learn more about the science behind sleep.
“After reading Walker’s research, you won’t be able to downplay the importance of sleep. We need to get the recommended hours of sleep and avoid practices that negatively affect sleep quality, like consuming caffeine and staring at screens before bed. Walker will answer all your sleep-related questions, from whether or not you should be taking sleeping aids to how sleep improves our health and memory. Why We Sleep will give you necessary insights into designing a nighttime routine that winds you down and prepares you for the next day.” – Dr. Payel Gupta, CMO and Co-Founder of Cleared
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Gaiman and Pratchett’s classic collaboration is an excellent option for people looking for a witty and irreverent read.
“Good Omens is the perfect blend of humor and insight. The characters are delightful and more complex than they let on. The narrator makes you feel that you’re in on a joke that the characters have yet to discover. It’s a fun, engaging read, but it’s not over dramatic. You don’t have to read into the early morning hours to find out what happens next (though it may be harder to resist once you get close to the end). The best part is that this book can become a staple in your library. You can return to it again and again, noticing new things and thinking about how it holds up as the world changes.” – Jodi Neuhauser, CEO, Ovaterra
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Readers often describe Coelho’s novel as life-changing and enchanting. It tells the story of Santiago, a shepherd from Andalusia, as he learns how to follow his heart and trust in the path the Creator has laid out for him.
“Many books are a must-read, this one not least of all. Coelho’s writing and Santiago’s journey are full of hope. Reading it gives you an overwhelming sense of peace. Coelho reaches out and soothes the universal fears humankind experiences, like what would happen if we gave up everything to chase our dreams or if misfortune strikes us. The Alchemist reminds us that we all have guides throughout our lives, and if we listen to them, we’ll get to know ourselves and realize that we can never miss out on what’s meant for us.” – Shaun Price, Head of Customer Acquisition, MitoQ
We hope this list has given you enjoyable, calming reads to explore in your nighttime routine. Get cozy. Crack open a book, and read your way to better sleep.
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