Reading in bed: six keys to getting it right and getting a good night’s sleep

Reading , whether in bed, on public transport, in the living room, in the bathroom or anywhere, will always be a healthy exercise. It does not matter practically what, since the benefits of reading are well known, such as improving our memory, our ability to concentrate, enhancing our creativity and even making us happier .

Now that April is on the rise and that the Day of the Book and Sant Jordi cover covers, signatures and literary news, it is also an ideal time to breathe, review our library -be it digital or physical- and rediscover everything that can be done for us by reading in bed.

Beyond the well-known virtues of reading, always associated with intellectual development, there are some more advantages that our beloved letters can offer us, especially at bedtime. This is stated by the experts from the Sleep Chair of the University of Granada – LOMONACO, which indicates that “reading a good book before going to sleep helps reduce stress and induces relaxation”.

A healthy, healthy and very cheap practice that also serves to correct the habits acquired in recent years with the proliferation of smartphones, an intense source of blue light , which thus becomes the enemy of our rest.

The battle of the blue light

There are few of us who say goodbye to the day by checking social networks, taking a last look at the mail or even sleeping with our favorite actors and actresses -with a series-, but in most cases we will be doing a disservice to our body. This is because the screens of any device (monitors, televisions, phones, tablets …) generate artificial blue light.

By itself, blue light is not bad, especially when it is natural, because it intervenes in the correct circadian rhythms (relation of the sleep-wake cycle of the human being), but to which we are extending for long hours with the screens.

Simplifying it a lot, our body thus loses the natural reference of when it is time to pick up and go to sleep. Something that the doctot Alejandro Guillén-Riquelme, member of the aforementioned chair, tells us about: “All devices that emit blue light will make it difficult to initiate sleep, because they activate the secretion of melatonin , which is a hormone linked so much with awakening, as with circadian rhythms. “

So what about ebooks?

Call them electronic books or ebooks , or Kindle, as Amazon’s device has become popular, but they are basically the same and, fortunately, we do not run the same risk with them as we run with the rest of digital devices for a simple reason: e-ink displays.

Something that Dr. Guillén-Riquelme clarifies so that any techie reader does not alter their pre-sleep routine or be alarmed by it. “This light is designed to promote rest, especially if we regulate it at a very low intensity,” he says.

The keys to reading well in bed

Beyond enjoying the pleasure of reading, our body also extracts certain benefits from this routine, as the doctor explains. “It can be a key element in our nighttime ritual,” he says, since we can ” make it a habit that our body associates with sleep “, thus identifying it with “a moment of relaxation.”

In any case, it is a good tool to disconnect, reduce stress and relax, although we must also know how to do it so as not to harm our body. In fact, reading before bed is a good idea, but it is not so much the act of reading specifically in bed. Something that we can synthesize in six common errors that we are told from the Sleep Chair at the University of Granada-LOMONACO .

It is clear that reading can force us into bad postures, even when transferred to bed, since we do not always know how to position ourselves. For this reason, they recommend resorting to ” an ergonomic chair or armchair that takes care of our posture and, when we finish, we go to bed to sleep.” If you are still not convinced, or you are more of using the bed for something other than sleeping, there are certain guidelines to take into account.

  • No to forced postures. Surely more than once you have seen yourself juggling your neck, shoulders or hips to find the most suitable way. This is a mistake, although we can synthesize it in three key phases: avoiding positions that make us bend our necks, nor is it convenient to read upside down or sideways. The reasons? Avoid overloading the shoulders and neck.
  • Yes to the headboard. Finding a firm backrest will ensure the position of our back, which we can make more comfortable for our head if we put a pillow behind it. Therefore, the best option to read will be sitting and leaning on the headboard.
  • Find the right distance. Let’s not get too attached to the book, or put it at such a distance that it complicates reading. The aforementioned experts recommend having the book about 35-40 centimeters from our eyes, although it will not be the only importance of these, as you will see below.
  • A correct light. Perhaps it is the most complicated thing to have, since it is common for us to use bedside lamps whose light is not projected directly on the reading, but vertically, turning the room into a not very bright place. If we are lucky enough to be able to modulate the light, it is convenient that it comes from behind our head and that it does not fall directly on the eyes. In the end, having bad lighting will cause bad posture – looking for that necessary light – or forcing our eyes.
  • Articulated and reclining bases. It is not usual, but it may be that we spend many, many hours in bed reading, and in this case we can use an articulated bed to always have an ergonomic position, which will allow us to adapt the backrest at will. If it seems ‘too much’, we can always buy a reading base on which to support the book and thus not punish our forearms with reading or make a small ‘mountain’ with cushions to support it there.

Now that we know how to sleep and how to read in bed, have you thought about what your next temptation will be ? If you are looking for ideas, here are a few .

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