There must be a good reason why children slip into a peaceful slumber after you read them a book. And no, it's not because the story is probably boring.
Experts believe that reading before bedtime can help you sleep well - primarily because, as a study shows, it reduces stress by 68%. That's a whopping number. Back in 2009, a group of researchers from the University of Essex founded this discovery. An experiment led by neuropsychologist Dr Lewis involved participants who were tested with various traditional means of relaxation. This included listening to music – which reduced stress levels by 61%, drinking tea – resulting to less stress by 54%; and taking a walk, which resulted to reduced stress by 42%.
"Losing yourself in a book," Dr Lewis notes, "Is the ultimate relaxation."
Following this well-proven fact, we have gathered a handful of reads which might help you get that necessary rest. Switch off your smartphones and put on your reading glasses; whether you’re into children’s stories, romance or serious narratives, you’re off into one marvellous adventure with these books:
The Young Widower's Handbook
This sweeping story from Tom McAllister follows Hunter and his crazy journey. He and his wife Kait always wanted to travel, but when she died unexpectedly, the grief-stricken widower takes her ashes with him and sets out on a road trip towards the west. Touching and funny at times, enjoy this relaxing read before you peacefully doze off.
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
Robin Sharma's spiritually-laced narrative will help you gain a new perspective. Drizzled with life lessons in life's mundane things, it tells the story of a former lawyer who, after surviving a heart attack, sells his every possession and dives into a journey in India. Here, he encountered monks in the Himalayas and taught him life's best pleasures are in the simplest things.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Kate DiCamillo's tender story about Eduard, a china rabbit who was separated from his owner, Abilene, will surely strike the heart of a child in you. This warm-hearted prose tells the rabbit's misadventures – and a path to realizing love – in the hands of his new owners who discovered him in many places. You say it: under the water, by the garbage dump, hanging on the pole, or left lying on the ground. Whether you'd read this to your little one, or to yourself, you'll find a valuable lesson, plus a teary little tale that will leave a good impression in your memory.
The Book Thief
Markus Suzak's imaginative fiction tells the story of a young girl who live during the World War II in Germany. It was told in the perspective of a fun, snarky Death, who followed Liesel's journey after stealing "The Grave Digger's Handbook" during her brother's funeral. Left by her mother to the Hubermanns, her new adoptive parents, Liesel learns how to read, make friends, steal new books, and then, ultimately, write her own story down the basement of her house, which saved her life.
Claire-Louise Bennet has the same metaphorical musings as Virginia Woolf. In this prose, you will submerge into the story of a young woman living alone in an Irish coastal village. There's not much action going on; the light-hearted plot won't exhaust your imagination but will tickle your fancy as you turn the next pages.
Rainbow Rowell has been known for writing endearing contemporary love stories, and this one is no exception. This funny rom-com tells the story about Beth and Jennifer, who send emails to each other over their work accounts. Lincoln, charged of monitoring those emails, finds himself peeking through their messages and starts falling for Beth. Will this love story end in serendipity or will this be a one-way street? Read this fiction during your downtime and enjoy these heart-fluttering moments by Rowell.
This classic from Louisa May Alcott narrates the lives of four sisters growing up in the late 1860s. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy were four of a kind; each one unique in their own talents. Meg works as a governess for a wealthy family and longed to enter a higher society. Jo, the tomboy, loves writing stories. Beth, the third sister, is shy and musically talented. And finally, Amy, who is already a young lady ahead of her time. Through Alcott's lens, you'd follow the girls unravel into women – as wives, mothers, sisters and friend.
The Nocturnal Journal
Lee Crutchley explores what's on one's mind during late nights through this creative journal. Made especially for those who find it difficult to sleep, this illustrated manual is meant to draw out thoughts, anxieties and questions that keep you up at night. It doesn't end there; this book comes with helpful chunks of advice that will bring you peace of mind and lure you to a restful sleep.
When you’re in need of slowing down before bedtime, grab a book. These page turners won’t only keep your stress levels low; they will also inspire you in many aspects of life: as an individual, as a friend, as a sibling, and as a member of the society.