When I was a kid, my parents used to make me read every night before bed. My “bedtime” was technically 8:00pm, but “reading time” would start at 7:30. And when I got older, my bedtime became 9pm and reading time lasted from 8:00pm-9:00pm. I’ve never heard of other parents doing this with their kids, but I loved to read, so it was a great way for my parents to encourage my reading while also effectively having me in bed at an earlier time, so that they could go watch TV or whatever by themselves and not have to deal with me. I’ve always thought that this was a great idea and loved having “reading time” as a kid. I would definitely do it with my own kids if I ever have any.
So reading before going to sleep has been ingrained in my mind as a habit from a very early age. It’s just what I do every night. I put my pajamas on, brush my teeth, turn off the lights, get all cozy in bed and open a book. But I have seriously bad insomnia, so sometimes “reading time” lasts a couple hours, sometimes it lasts all night. But it’s still something I do every single night before bed.
When Do You Read?
I have kind of a weird, flexible work schedule because of my disability, so I often have other chances to read during the day that aren’t necessarily at night. But most people work normal hours, come home, eat dinner, and hang out with their families…so I’m wondering when everybody else gets in their reading time. Is “reading time” before bed something we all participate in? When do you read if it’s not before bed? Do you ever read right when you get up in the morning?
I personally can’t read in the morning. I usually have chores or work that I need to do right when I get up, and I find that my brain doesn’t really function well enough to be able to read until later in the day. So most of my reading does happen at night before I fall asleep (or when I’m supposed to be sleeping!).
The Pros and Cons of Reading Before Bed
But reading before bed is actually really good for you. There are tons of studies out there that tell us that shutting off your computer, phone, and overhead lights at least an hour before you plan to go to bed helps us fall asleep easier and get better rest once we are asleep. So chilling in bed with a book is the perfect before-sleep activity! It’s also relaxing. My brain needs a chance to decompress at the end of the day before being able to transition into “time to go to sleep” mode, and reading is the perfect thing to do to help me calm down.
But other times, this backfires. If the book is too interesting, I find myself wanting to stay up really late in order to read more of it or finish it! And this happens way too often. Maybe I should try reading history books before bed or something 😉 I was so obsessed with Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo that I stayed up all night reading it because I just couldn’t put it down! So reading before bed doesn’t always end up relaxing me or putting me to sleep.
What about you… Have you ever stayed up all night reading a book? Did your parents give you “reading time” before bed as a kid? What time of day do you do the majority of your reading?