Once Upon a Bedtime: the benefits of a bedtime story

The benefits of a bedtime story are no fairytale. From relaxation and escapism to boosting creativity, there are advantages to a story before bed whether you are five or fifty years old. We’re going to explore some of the biggest benefits for both adults and children when it comes to bedtime story, examining why you should make time for a tale before you tuck yourself in for the night.

Why do children need bedtime stories?

The bedtime story is a hallowed tradition between parents and children, and with good reason. Research by Uber reveals that 60% feel that reading with our children brings us closer together, helping to create memories that could last a lifetime.

Indulging your child in a story before bed also helps to improve their vocabulary, their reading skills, and to spark their imagination, stimulating the mental patterns which are fundamental to creativity. And perhaps even more importantly, reading together can be crucial for a child’s emotional intelligence.

Emily Drabble of BookTrust, the UK’s leading reading charity, says that reading “helps children recognise that they are not alone, and that others have faced the same problems and feelings as them. Sharing books also opens up opportunities to discuss difficult topics.”

Bedtime stories can help young people understand not only the feelings of those around them, but their own feelings, too. A recent study by the National Literacy Trust found a link between reading and mental wellbeing, suggesting that a bedtime story could improve your child’s emotional health.

The benefits of stories for grown-ups

We tend to think of bedtime stories as something reserved for children; something we all grow out of at some point as we get older. But the benefits outlined above don’t simply go away as we make the move from child to adolescent to adult. We never finish learning, and reading before bed still provides an opportunity to improve on our reading skills, vocabulary, creativity and emotional understanding.

What’s more, it’s also a great way to relax and unwind before bed, which is important as we age. The daily stresses of work, family obligations, the news and more can take their toll on our sleep quality. In fact, as many as 16 million UK adults suffer from sleepless nights according to research by Aviva. Stories help to distract our minds from our current stresses and ease us into a more relaxed state.

Reading a chapter or two of a book is a great alternative to sitting in bed scrolling through your phone. Many of us are guilty of scrolling through the news or social media right up until the moment our heads hit the pillow, but this onslaught of information can make it harder to find the right mindset for sleep. Even the lights that our phones emit can disrupt the release of key sleep hormones like melatonin, making sleep more difficult.

So whether it’s a swash-buckling adventure on the high seas or a domestic drama set in times gone by, indulging in a good story before bed can help you leave the stresses of your day behind and put you in a more relaxed frame of mind when it comes to falling asleep.

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