At the end of a hard days’work, I always find it hard to unwind and more importantly switch my brain off from the torrent of thoughts flowing through it. All it takes is one stressful day of work to have my brain firing on all cylinders late into the night. Rather than tossing and turning in bed while cursing your hyperactive brain, it is a super idea to get into the habit of reading at bedtime. Reading as you might intuitively know is an excellent activity that will improve your life in many ways.
What you read however is almost as important as reading on a daily basis. I find that reading non-fiction books usually do not work as well as reading fiction. I tried reading economics books, self-help books and books on psychology but they seemed to engage the judgmental part of my brain and all the activity related to synthesizing ideas kicked in making it very hard to sleep.
Fiction, on the other hand, seemed to calm me down and I even noticed story lines from the novels I was reading turn into vivid dreams as I drifted into a deep slumber. Within fiction, I have noticed choosing the right books really help. I tried reading the excellent book by Michael Lewis – Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt for instance. Flash Boys has an excellent story about High-Frequency Financial Trading but despite it being fiction, would engage my mind in a similar fashion to a non-fiction book. Still highly recommend that book for its excellent storytelling. I switched to reading a sci-fi novel by Richard K. Morgan – Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs). The surreal story line and style of writing was perfect for making me drowsy. I’m still on the search for the perfect bedtime genre. Fear and loathing in Las Vegas is another book that has worked for me to go to sleep.
I’ve been recently getting pretty good results with comic books. It’s been many years since I read comic books but I channeled the inner geek in me to start reading classics like Superman and Batman. They are surprisingly great at putting me to sleep. I should report that I am also getting vivid, surreal dreams due to the storylines I encounter in these comics but I don’t mind them at all.