Sleep Comfort Month: Rethinking Night Reading

Us bookish people love burning the midnight oil. But maybe it’s time we started going to sleep.

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As bookish people, lots of us probably keep late nights reading. And I’m willing to bet most of us think that’s a positive, enriching thing. Not that we’d be wrong; reading has proven positive effects. But seeing as November is Sleep Comfort Month, I say there’s no harm in stepping back to reevaluate things.

What’s the difference between chronic insomnia and information overload? The first is related to mental health; the second is a result of bad habits. Think about it. We always hear about “blue light saturation”, causing our brains to remain active far past the appropriate time for sleep. If that’s true, then what about reading?

No sane person would argue that reading doesn’t engage the mind. So what if staying up all night filling our brains with tales riveting, heartbreaking, and/or horrifying is causing some of us to exhibit symptoms of insomnia? I think it’s worth considering, at the very least.

As someone who’s life is fraught with sleep complications, I can’t help fearing my greatest pleasure in life is also the worst thorn in my side. It all began with staying up on school nights reading the Eragon series. I read by flashlight for who knows how long. It didn’t matter I had to be up at 6am the next morning. I also may have “borrowed” the books from my older sister, who was bookish long before me, but that’s ancient history.

The seeds of my sleep issues (and need for glasses) were sown early, and I’m still reaping the consequences. How about you? Do you get all eight of your hours? What book or books keep you up at night?

This article is in no way intended to shine a negative light upon reading. That is why we are here; our love of reading books. Of consuming stories. But as November begins, I invite everyone to do just as Sleep Comfort Month suggests: Evaluate your sleeping habits for the sake of your mental and physical well-being.

Let us all move into the holiday season fully rested, and fully prepared to meet any and all challenges that lie ahead.

IMAGE VIA The School of Public Health