Becca Rose
May 04, 2015 6:00 am

What’s your normal bedtime routine? Brush teeth, wash face (or, if you’re on the tired side, swish a makeup remover wipe around), and nod off to the soothing sounds of whatever Netflix series you’re obsessed with lately? Perhaps you stare at your phone until the bright little screen becomes overwhelming and/or there’s nothing good on your Tumblr dash.

Well, scientists have recently conducted a study about a very simple trick to help us sleep better: reading before bed. If you’ve been a book junkie your whole life, you may already know this, but even just six minutes of reading can help your whole body de-stress and mentally prime you for better sleep. Cosmopolitan UK broke the news to us, and we’re stoked to know that “the distraction of entering another, fictional world can ease the pressure in the muscles while also helping to slow your heart rate down.”

The ability to get sucked into an excellent story has always been comforting, but the fact that our escapism might actually help us be well-rested is great news. When you’re absorbed in a book (hey, even non-fiction might work here), you’re not worrying about the issues of tomorrow, or the things you might have messed up today. You’re fully present and active in following your tale of choice, and it seems pretty easy to assume your body can be clued into that and relax with you. But luckily, we don’t have to assume — science has proved it for us. So put your phone down and pick up a book, any book, and let the entertainment value sweep you away to a land of better sleep.

Need more tips for a good night’s shut eye? We’ve got you covered. According to the Mayo Clinic, the number one best thing you can do to sleep easy is having a set sleep schedule. Sounds super boring, but it’s totally true. Going to bed around the same time every night will allow your body to get into a natural rhythm and before you know it, you’ll be sleeping right on time. 

The Mayo Clinic also recommends that you, alas, limit your daytime naps. Sleeping for long periods of time during the day definitely interferes with your ability to fall asleep at night, no matter how desperately you needed that 3pm crash. Sadly, science does not have our back on this one (raise your hand if you’re guilty of an over fondness for the nap…’cause we know we are).

Ever heard of the National Sleep Foundation? Yeah, it’s a thing, and they’re dedicated to helping us sleep soundly. They recommend daily exercise as a tool to help combat sleep woes, and once again, science backs that up. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a crossfit pro to make this happen. Even just a walk on your lunch hour can help.

How do you like your room’s environment when it comes time to turn out the lights? Is it noisy, hot, or filled with lights and distractions? Turns out, keeping a comfortable environment is key to sleep patterns. Your preferred temperature, darkness level, and even the softness of your sheets can contribute to your rest. There’s the excuse you needed to get to redecorating!

Now that you’re armed with all this new info, don’t you already feel like you’ll sleep better tonight?

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