Reading Before Bed {Discussion}

Discussion Post

“Reading Time”

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? 

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39 responses to “Reading Before Bed {Discussion}

  1. I love your parents’ idea of reading time before bed – it’s adorable! I wonder if it would help a kid who doesn’t like reading become more into reading – if that makes sense.
    I am like you. I seriously cannot go to sleep unless I have read at least a few pages of a book (unless I have come home after being out and it’s like 12am and I am dead tired). It helps me relax, and it helps my brain shut down. And, it’s also habit. I have been reading before bed for as long as I can remember. It’s just something that I have always done. I try to get in at least an hour before sleep during uni semester, but over the holidays there is no limit. I read pretty much all day, every day. As much as I can. A few weeks back, I was reading a book a day. A day! I was uber proud, and uber happy.
    Now that uni is back in term, though, I won’t be able to read during the day. Which I love. During the uni semester, I usually limit my reading time to before bed (like always), and then if I have a break at uni between classes, or before the bus comes.
    I really do like reading during the day, and I must say that I really miss it when I go back to uni. 😦
    But yes to your comment about sometimes wanting to stay up to read! It doesn’t happen TOO often, but when it does, I look at the clock and it’s suddenly 12, but I still don’t want to go to sleep, haha. But I love that feeling, and am always excited when I find a book that makes me want to stay up late! 😀

    • Wow haha long comment! I love it 🙂 I can’t decide whether or not reading time would help a kid who wasn’t already interested in reading. I feel like it might be like required reading in high school…it just makes kids hate reading even more because they have to do it. But maybe if you started it from a REALLY young age like my parents did? At that point, the kid wouldn’t even have time to figure out that they don’t like reading haha. And what 4-year-old actively doesn’t like books?

      Yeah I had a lot of trouble reading when I was in college, too. Mostly I think because I was an English major, so basically all day every day I was reading stuff for my classes, so it was hard for me to want to read during my free time, too. But now that I’ve graduated (back last Winter), I’ve been reading SO much more and I love it! Even though I liked the stuff I was reading for school (most of the time), it’s still nice to read stuff that isn’t required.

      Wow, a book a day is amazing! I’m trying to average about a book every two days right now. That’s my goal at least. It’s usually more about a book every three days or something.

      • I hope you don’t mind, haha! I get carried away with comments sometimes 😛

        Yeah, I know what you mean. In high school, I had one or two friends that read for fun. Everyone else hated it, which I seriously cannot understand. And then when we got books in English class, they all complained about it. I just hope that my kid loves reading like I do! And you’re right, not many four year olds don’t like reading.

        Yeah, I know a few people who aren’t so keen on pleasure reading when they’re studying English. I guess that’s a plus for me studying Science, haha! Yeah, it’s always nice to read a book that you WANT to read. Makes it much more fun 😀

        Haha, I know, right! I never thought of myself as a fast reader, but when I have the time to do it, I guess I am. Yeah, I don’t really have goals, except for my year-long Goodreads one. Like I said, with uni there’s not enough time 😦

  2. I am the same as you. My parents also made me read before bed, or just before I go, as I had to read a book to my parents for school. So as i grew older I just read and read before bed. Then when I couldn’t sleep I would pick up a book.

    With school and all, I only have time to read at night. because when I come home from school I do my homework have dinner then read. I also have the same problem as you, I just keep on reading through the night and early morning. and then getting up at 7.00 to go to school and being able to function properly is not the best thing. But I just cannot help it haha.
    Last Post on Angel Reads Discussion Post on Pysical Books Vs ebooks

    • Haha yeah sometimes it gets really hard to put those books down! I can’t even count how many times I’ve stayed up extra late on purpose just to keep reading a book. It seriously feels like it happens almost every night haha.

      That’s cool that your parents made you read before bed, too! It definitely became more of a choice for me as I got older, too. And it was just a habit at that point. Time for bed = time to read for me haha. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  3. I always read before bed too! Getting in bed with my dogs and my book every night is the best part of the day:) I was actually the kid who stayed up late with a flashlight reading way past my bedtime. I WISH I could stay up all night and read now, I would get so much more reading done, but I get sleepy:)

    • Haha I was totally that kid, too. I always wished that my parents would let me stay up reading forever, but they never did! Not until I was older, anyway. And they’d catch me with the flashlight every single time. Such sticklers!

  4. I always read before bed. Sometimes there are accidents (I’m falling asleep and drop the book on my face, sometimes repeatedly before I give it up). Sometimes I do get too immersed and wake my brain up and keep reading for hours. I can’t imagine not reading anything before bed (or at least trying) unless I’m extremely tired.

    • Oh my gosh haha you’ve dropped a book on your face? I’ve definitely done that before, just not because I was tired! Maybe that makes mine worse…haha. It takes me a long time to fall asleep, even after I’ve put my book down for the night, so that never happens to me. But it happens to my boyfriend all of the time and it’s hilarious. He’s constantly falling asleep while playing video games late at night and accidentally killing himself in the game!

  5. My parents used to do the same thing with me! Actually, when I was younger, I had a ton of warts on my feet so I would soak them in the tub every night for half an hour. During that time I would read and then read for another 30 mins in bed before mom turned off the lights. I loved having that routine and definitely plan on doing it with my own children in the future.
    However, now I find myself so busy. I’m finding it hard finding a set time to read. I’d love to read before bed but I when I get myself under the covers and turn my lamp on, I’m fast asleep within minutes of opening my book! I’m just SO tired nowadays that makes night reading difficult. So I try to read here and there during the day, whenever I possibly can. When I worked in an office over last summer, I spent my lunch hours reading so I think when I get my “big girl” job soon lunch will probably be my reading time.

    • I have trouble reading while I eat! I don’t know what it is…I just can’t multitask like that or something. At my “big girl job” (haha) I always watch Hulu on my computer during my lunch break. But I work a lot with words and editing and stuff, so my brain needs a break from all that stuff while I’m eating. Otherwise I probably would at least try to get a couple pages in during that time.

  6. I’m definitely a reader before bed. I can’t even fall asleep without reading. I usually plan to read for about a half hour, but sometimes it’s less if I’m really sleepy or more if the book is just too good! That’s my main reading time, but I will read also on my lunch break at work, sometimes in the evening or in the afternoon on my days off. (I can’t really read in the morning either). I’d like to get into audio books so I could listen on my commute to work (about 25 minutes in the car).

    • A couple of months ago, I started getting super into audiobooks and would listen to them during my commute to work (45 minutes each way). But I’m also really into music, so lately I’ve been listening to music in the car on the way there instead. But I’m sure I’ll start another audiobook at some point. I just haven’t been interested in it recently for some reason. I usually try to read for at least an hour before bed…but it usually ends up being more haha. Although sometimes if I’m really tired, it ends up being less.

  7. I love this post! 😀 I love reading before bed and yes, I also get carried away and end up reading for hours and hours. I end up going to bed at horrible times. 😛

    I also started reading before bed as a kid and I agree that it made me develop the habit of reading before bed. 🙂

    • Thank you!! 🙂 Haha yeah I think I went to be at like 2am last night because I was finishing up a really good book…whoops. And that’s definitely not an uncommon occasion! I just can’t help myself!

  8. I love reading before bed! I actually start to get really grumpy/depressed if I haven’t read for a few days, so I always make sure to set aside some time. I have to be careful about what I read though, because like you I get all swept away by it! Siege and Storm kept me up till 3am 😉

    • Haha I think I win…Siege and Storm kept me up until 6am!!! That’s probably my worst one ever. But 3am is pretty bad, too 😉 The Grisha series is just SO GOOD. I’m seriously so so so excited for Ruin and Rising. Wow you actually get grumpy if you don’t read? Haha that’s so weird and upsetting 😦 There’s never a day that goes by without me reading at least something. So maybe I’d get depressed if I didn’t read for a few days, too!

  9. I always read before bed too – even if I am away from home. It seems to calm me down. i normally read till I start to fall asleep and miss the words on the page. But sometimes it is not good because I stay up until the book is finished. I also love reading in the mornings before anyone else has gotten up

    • Ooh you’re the first one to say that they like reading in the mornings! I seriously don’t know how you can do that…I always feel so groggy. I wouldn’t be able to pay attention to the story. And, also, I usually don’t have time, because I’m going to work or whatever. The only time I ever read in the morning is when I stay up all night to finish a book haha 😉

  10. Somewhere an article on sleep said not to read something interesting right before bed because it’ll wake up your brain. While to a point that makes sense, it seemed like stupid advice to me because all I could think was “If it’s boring why I am I reading it at all?”

  11. I wish I could read “in bed” before bed. My husband has to go to bed really early so I don’t get to do that. But I do sit downstairs and read before bed. I used to play a lot of video games before bed but my group and I kind of quit playing. Which is actually OK because that was taking away from my reading time. Reading before bed does not help me sleep though. I’ll still go to bed and lay there for an hour before falling asleep. If anything it makes me think… man I need to finish that book!!

    • Sometimes books help me relax, but other times they don’t. I think it depends on the book, and also just what kind of mood I’m in. Sometimes I just can’t fall asleep no matter what! Other times, my eyes are drooping while flipping the pages. My boyfriend likes to play video games before bed, too. He always falls asleep while playing!

  12. I love that your parents had this appointed reading time before your bed time. I really love this idea and if I ever have kids I would probably do something like this too. IF my would-be future kids love reading. What if they don’t? That would be heartbreaking for a book lover like me (probably all bookworms).

    Anyway, I never had this like you had. I do loved reading and would almost always be reading before bed, but it was very unofficial.

    Even though reading before bed has not been ingrained in my brain like for you, I still make it a habit of doing so. 9 times out of 10 I’ll be reading before going to sleep. Only if I really don’t feel like reading, I don’t. There have been times that I stayed up way late too finish, yeah.

    On days when I don’t have to go to uni, I’m able to sleep when I wake up. It’s not something I do often, but once in a while it’s great. Although I then too have the problem of not wanting to stop reading and then suddenly it’s noon (the morning reading equivalent of staying up until 3 am).

    • I feel like it’s an inevitability that bookish parents will have bookish kids. Not only is it (possibly?) hereditary, they’re probably going to pick up the habit from you! I know that that is definitely a huge part of why I was a big reader as a kid…my parents were doing it all the time, so I do too. And also because of the reading time.

      That’s cool that you get to read in the morning sometimes. Apparently a few other people who commented like to, too. I just can’t imagine ever being that person, haha. It takes me a while to fully wake up in the morning, I guess. But, of course, I have no problem staying up until 2am reading! 😉

  13. “Reading time” is such a great idea! I will definitely be using that one of I ever become a parent. (;

    I always read in the mornings! It’s my favourite time to read. But I’m a major morning person. I wake up at like 5 am – so I read to pass the couple of hours between when I wake up to breakfast time. 😛
    But, like you I also read at night to relax – which can back fire as it did last night when I couldn’t put down Angel Fire until the intensity stopped (which happened to be the end) >.<

    I really enjoyed reading this post Miranda! I'd never actually thought or considered of reading times before.

    • Thanks for the comment 🙂 That’s so interesting that a bunch of people who commented like reading in the morning. I really didn’t think that anybody would! Haha yeah I ended up staying up until 3:30am last night reading! And you were probably just about to wake up 😛

  14. I just read whenever I can find the time to do so. I usually always read over my lunch break while I eat. Then, I just try to find as much time to read in the evenings as I can. I don’t have kids yet and my husband also likes to read, so I can usually find time in the evening. One of my favourite times to read, though, is Saturday mornings. I love curling up on the couch with a coffee and reading alongside my husband!

    • Ooh that actually sounds nice 🙂 Maybe I should get in the habit of reading in the morning…because, according to you and everybody else, it’s awesome haha.

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  17. I didn’t have mandatory reading time when I was little but I did get read to, or read myself, pretty often before bedtime. I loved books and was always sticking my face in one, so I don’t think I had a specific time of day/night I was reading back then. it was just whenever I felt like it.

    I think now whether I read before bed depends on which book I’m reading. If it’s something super exciting, I try to not read it before I need to get sleep since I’m on a pretty strict sleeping schedule. (I have minor insomnia, too.) If it’s just okay, or I don’t have a busy day the next day then I might let myself read before bed. But I never ever read in the bedroom (see insomnia again).

    I do get some reading time in most mornings, either while I’m having my tea/waking up, or waiting for work to open and let me get in there. I work in a restaurant downtown where free parking is super limited, so I just get there a little earlier than I need to (which, luckily, is earlier than everyone else needs to as well) and bring a book with me. I get audiobook time in commuting to/from work also.

    Oh! If I’m home gaming and the game doesn’t require sound for my in-game survival, I’ll listen to an audiobook on the computer while smashing things.

    Then usually – as long as I don’t have 16-hour work days – I’ll have random times throughout the afternoon and evening when I can sit and read for a bit. So my reading is pretty sporadic, but there’s rarely a day where I don’t pick up a book for at least a little while.

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  20. I read before bed near enough every night, dedicating about 2 hours to it. I used to secretly read in bed without my parents knowing because I thought they’d shout at me, after all, I was meant to be sleeping, but it was too fun not to. I will read in the day on the bus and such, but I mainly deal with nighttime. Nighttime is my friend 🙂

    • I probably spend about 2 hours reading before bed, too. Sometimes it’s less, sometimes it’s A LOT more, haha. I used to secretly read in bed, too…even AFTER having “reading time.” But my parents would pretty much always catch me :/

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  22. My parents allowed me to read a book before bedtime but as I got older I couldn’t sleep simply after reading a chapter or two. I still stay up late sometimes.

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