Reading is good for you. It can help to decrease blood pressure and lower heart rate. In fact, studies have shown that reading for as little as six minutes before bedtime reduces stress by 68 percent.
Here are 10 relaxing reads out now – and a bonus list of the top audiobooks – that will beat a sleep-disrupting news doom scroll any night.
Quiet by Fearn Cotton
Do you think you could do with a more positive mindset? Sunday Times bestselling author Fearn Cotton provides expert advice for those who feel overwhelmed by the demands of modern society.
Mental health affects one in four people, but through reading, you can bring down stress levels, sleep better and improve productivity. Fearn creates a well-rounded experience for readers, providing techniques to quiet the mind, relax the body, help you to let go of everyday stress and ‘tame the bad inner voice.’
Be Calm: Proven Techniques to Stop Anxiety Now by Jill Weber
If you’re someone who struggles with anxiety at bedtime, then Be Calm: Proven Techniques to Stop Anxiety Now is a hugely popular read that reduces panic symptoms, avoidance behaviour and worried thoughts.
In a tone that’s both educational and deeply personal, Psychologist Jill Weber implements useful and practical strategies to help readers control anxiety symptoms through evidence-based techniques and studies.
Ikigai by Hector Garcia, Francesc Miralles
For those with insomnia, getting out of bed in the morning is always a challenge, especially on a cold, groggy winter day.
‘Ikigai’ is the Japanese phrase for a reason to jump out of bed in the morning, something we have all struggled to find during the coronavirus lockdown. This book helps readers discover their own ‘ikigai,’ providing a path for to finding joy and meaning in every single day.
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
If you prefer relaxing with fantasy fiction, this book is the perfect pick. Author Imogen Hermes Gowar takes you on a journey back to London 1785, where readers come up against engaging characters filled with obsession and passion.
The story follows merchant Jonah Hancock and high society member Angelica Nealas as they move in opposite social circles, until the arrival of a mythical creature pushes them both on to the same path.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
If you want to silence the mind and reduce anxiety before bedtime, then you need to pick up the Sunday Times bestseller The Beekeeper. The story explores the broken lives of a family separated by war and confronted by pain, loss and danger in a journey to find each other again.
Grown Ups by Marian Keyes
We’ve had almost a year of lockdown. That’s almost 365 days of uncertainty, staying home and life-altering changes to society. If you’re seeking escapism, reading is a handy tool in maintaining a sense of calm.
The Sunday Times No 1 Bestseller Grown Ups provides readers with an adventure into another life, through Johnny Casey’s journey, his brothers Ed and Liam and their talented wives and children, who all spend lots of time together.
The family’s lives unravel as Ed’s wife Cara gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts and feelings to herself, prompting a lot of drama.
No Such Thing as Normal by Bryony Gordon
If you feel you have physical and mental symptoms caused by lockdown fatigue, the infuriating news cycle, the uncertainty of the pandemic and being stuck at home, you are not alone. Many all our the world are experiencing loneliness and the health and well-being of children and adults alike has been affected.
Author Bryony Gordon released No Such Thing as Normal to provide readers with practical advice on coping with mental health effects. The book targets subjects such as sleep, addiction, worry, medication, self-image, boundary-setting, therapy, learned behaviour, mindfulness, walking and talking.
The Psychopath by Mary Turner Thomson
Based on a true story, The Psychopath uncovers the shattered life of Mary Turner Thomson, who who discovered her husband was a bigamist, con man and sex offender. Although it doesn’t sound relaxing, the story follows Mary as she begins a new chapter in her life, helping others stay clear of her ex-husband’s devastating ways.
10 of the best audiobooks on Spotify In 2021
If reading isn’t your thing and you prefer winding down to an audiobook, take a look at the latest audiobook releases on Spotify.
With professional and celebrity narrators, easy accessibility and new collections available, there is no better time to get into audiobooks, which can be a real solution to sleepless nights.
- The Invisible Man by G.K Chesterton, read by Bart Wolffe
- Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville, read by Laurence Olivier
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, read by Michael J Shannon
- A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka, read by Lotte Lenya
- A Scandal in Bohemia by Arthur Conan Doyle, read by Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce
- The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, read by Ralph Fiennes.
- Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, read by Celia Johnson
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- These two lists were compiled by the research team at OTTY Sleep.
This article is part of Livehealthy’s first Sleep Week. Starting on March 13 and running up to and including World Sleep Day on March 19, we have seven full days of coverage on everything to do with the one-third of our lives we spend in – or trying to get to – slumber.