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Read to Sleep Survey Results

New insights into the value of reading at bedtime

Read to Sleep Survey Results

If you want to fall asleep faster, reduce stress, and boost your mood, join us as we Read to Sleep! We’re committing to a healthier habit of picking up a book at bedtime instead of staring at a screen. We’ve got recommendations for you here!

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Penguin Random House conducted a survey of 250 US adults in November 2020 to explore the role reading plays in bedtime routines and the possible effects reading may have on sleeping habits.

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The headlines:

  • Reading is often part of a bedtime wellness routine. Bedtime readers are also more likely to listen to soothing sounds, listen to music, and meditate compared to those who do not read before bed.
  • On an average day of the week, bedtime readers reported getting 25 extra minutes of sleep compared to respondents who do not read before bed. Further, they were more likely to give 4 stars or higher out of 5 when asked to rate the quality of their typical night of sleep.
  • People who have tried reading to help them fall asleep consider reading to be an effective sleep aid. Compared to prescription sleep aids, more people say that reading is an effective method to help them sleep (+6%).
  • The top genres people read before bed include romance and history.
  • Physical books are most popular to read before bed, but eBooks and audiobooks also help readers drift off to sleep.

More detail:

  • 67% of people who read to sleep say reading is somewhat or very effective in helping them fall asleep, compared to 61% for prescription sleep aids, 57% for meditation or white noise, and 54% for stretching/yoga.
  • 89% of before-bed readers rate their typical sleep quality 3/5 stars or higher. Only a quarter of those who read before bed say they often have difficulty falling asleep.
  • On a typical day of the week, those who read before bed got an average of 7 hours and 5 minutes of sleep, 25 minutes more than people who do not read before bed.
  • 62% of people who rated their sleep quality 4 stars or higher (out of 5 stars) read before bed. High-quality sleepers spend time on other relaxing habits, too. 28% meditate and many avoid screens: just 42% of 4-5 star sleepers watch TV at bedtime compared to 59% of people who rated their typical sleep quality between 1 and 3 stars.
  • Compared to those who do not read at bedtime, bedtime readers are more likely to participate in other relaxing activities.
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  • Bedtime reading preferences are varied with romance as the most popular genre for before-bed reading, followed by history, fantasy/science fiction, literary fiction, and classics.
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  • Before-bed reading isn’t limited to physical books, either! Readers also enjoy eBooks and audiobooks at bedtime.
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Articles and more research about the benefits of reading and sleep: