Tamara Rose
23 November, 2023

The Power of Evening Reading: A Journey Beyond Scrolling

When TV screens and social media take up hours of our time every day, finding solace in the pages of a good book might just seem like a quaint pastime.  However, scientific evidence suggests that opting for a good read over endless scrolling or binge-watching can bring a myriad of benefits to your mental, emotional, and even physical well-being.  

Improved Sleep Quality

A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology examined the impact of different leisure activities before bedtime on sleep quality.  The researchers found that reading a physical book for 30 minutes before bedtime resulted in significantly better sleep compared to using electronic devices or watching television.  The participants who read experienced increased melatonin levels and reported feeling more alert the following morning.   

Reduced Stress Levels

The University of Minnesota conducted a study that explored the stress-relieving benefits of various leisure activities.  Participants who engaged in nighttime reading showed a significant decrease in cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress.  This suggests that reading before bedtime not only provides a mental escape but also has a tangible impact on reducing physiological stress markers.

Enhanced Cognitive Function

In a groundbreaking study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to analyze the brain activity of individuals engaged in different leisure activities before bedtime.  Reading at night was associated with increased connectivity in the left temporal cortex, a region linked to language and comprehension skills.  This suggests that reading before sleep may have a positive effect on cognitive function.  

Not to mention, reading at night can have a significant impact on your emotional intelligence.  A study conducted by York University in Canada explored the impact of reading fiction at night on empathy levels.  Participants who read a fictional narrative before bedtime demonstrated higher levels of empathy the following day compared to those who engaged in other leisure activities. 

Mindfulness and Mental Stimulation

Research published in the journal Brain and Cognition investigated the cognitive benefits of engaging in mentally stimulating activities before bedtime.  Participants who read at night showed increased connectivity in the prefrontal cortex, a region associated with higher-order cognitive functions such as problem-solving and decision-making.  This suggests that reading before sleep not only relaxes the mind but also provides valuable mental stimulation.


Choosing to read at night over scrolling on social media or watching TV can be a transformative decision for your well-being.  The evidence behind nighttime reading is extensive, point toward improved sleep quality, stress reduction, enhanced cognitive function, increased empathy, and mindfulness.  So, the next time you find yourself reaching for your phone or remote, consider picking up a book instead—you might be surprised at the impact it can have on your life.

Created with