Reading Before Bed vs. TV Before Bed

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Insomnia is an epidemic affecting parents around the world. This problem prevents people from falling asleep and getting a good night’s rest. For centuries, those who suffer from insomnia have searched for solutions and found a variety of answers, from drinking a glass of water to taking prescription sleep aids. Many parents choose to watch television before going to bed, after their children have gone to sleep. Parents feel that this provides a type of “alone time” to relax after a tiring day of work and running a household.

While watching TV may seem like a positive way to rest your mind and drift to sleep peacefully, studies have shown that doing this before going to bed is not healthy. Reading a book has been found to be a better alternative since the peaceful stimulation helps to truly calm your mind. Many parents have concluded that reading before bed is more soothing than watching their favorite television shows.

Why is TV Before Bed Bad?

Though you may seem very relaxed while you are watching television, your brain is working in overdrive. There are lights, sounds and movements working together that over stimulate your brain and make it very difficult for it to completely “shut off” and rest. Receiving mental rejuvenation during sleep is just as important as physical rest. Insomnia, brought on by watching TV before bed, can have very negative side effects which include depression and obesity. Parents who suffer from insomnia may notice that they are easily irritated and cannot concentrate. These side effects can greatly impact a person’s performance at work or school.

What if you enjoy television before bed or your favorite shows happen to have a late night schedule? It is your “alone time” as a parent, after all. You should be sure to assign yourself a time to turn the television off at night. It is highly recommended that you turn off the TV two hours before you plan to go to sleep and grab a good book instead. Do the same for your children. Rather than letting them stay up watching television until they have fallen asleep, turn it off and read together.

Why a Book?

Reading requires minimal work from the brain. Unlike TV, there are no lights or sounds to overstimulate its function. By removing the excess stimulation, the brain is allowed to relax, preparing you to fall asleep in peace. This brings true rejuvenation. The time before bed should be designated as ‘quiet time,” but some people need a distraction to help their body go to sleep. Reading a book is a good, healthy compromise. Books provide stress relief and are a way to escape to another world, helping you to relax.

Reading is beneficial in ways that counter the negative effects of insomnia. The activity has been proven to help improve a person’s ability to focus, think clearly, improve spelling and vocabulary skills and also promote a better understanding of one’s language. Some studies have even shown that reading can increase a person’s memory. These are great perks for both parents and children.

Before you and your children go to bed at night, turn the television off and take some time to read a good book. The benefits are clear, especially if you are already suffering from insomnia. If you are looking for a book to start reading, consider picking upUnfriendly Feathers” or another of the many online books available through iStoryBooks.