Self-Care: Read Before Bed Each Night

This is one of those topics that I’ve seen arguments for and against. Should you read before bed each night? Does it calm you down, or wind you up? What if you’re reading on a device, rather than a nice, old fashioned book? I’m not going to try to unpack the science. All I want to so is tell you about my experiences, and what works for me.

Reading before bed is something that I have always done. It helps me to separate from whatever it was I may have been doing before. When I’m reading, it’s my time and my head space. It’s something that I’m doing for me. Curling up in bed with a book before I go to sleep is as symbolic as locking the front door and turning out the lights in the rest of the house.

The problem with my current situation is how our apartment is set up. We live in a building full of university students, and our bedroom shares a wall with 7 other apartments. Let me clarify that. Our bedroom wall is a giant concrete slab that runs through all 4 stories of the building. That’s 4 apartments on either side of the wall. That’s 7 other bedrooms.

This wall doesn’t block noise, oh no. It resonates with it. We hear whatever is going on in those other bedrooms. Don’t get lurid. The problem is with students who have friends over and drunkenly party until 2 in the morning. Or blast music while they’re studying. Or play video games all night long. This is not the quiet oasis that I need.

Read Before Bed Each Night

Katie sleeps through anything. I’m hypervigilant. That means my anxious mind is always scanning for threats. You can see why our bedroom is actually hell for me. So I sit up in the living room, which is quieter. I put on headphones and listen to white noise, or Tibetan prayer bells, or running water. That’s when I read. I put everything else out of my mind. When I start to nod off, I put ear plugs in and go to bed. If I head things through the ear plugs, I’m generally too wiped out to care, and fall asleep.

I look forward to someday having a bedroom that can serve as the retreat it’s meant to be.

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