There are plenty of reasons why parents read bedtime stories to their children as they’re starting to nod off in the evenings. For starters, it helps them build a larger vocabulary, fosters creativity, and helps build strong bonds between the parent and the child. But the routine also—no surprise here—helps the child drift off cozily to sleep. “Bedtime reading also provides a point of focus and distraction, away from the day’s activities and frustrations, allowing the body’s fatigue to take over and bring the child closer to sleep,” write the experts at Read Brightly. “Even in young babies, this point of focus helps them to filter out the stimulating world around them and relax.”
But plenty of leading health experts say that listening to bedtime stories can also work wonders for adults who are struggling to get more Zs. “Bedtime stories may help to stimulate our parasympathetic, decrease our anxiety, decrease our heart rate, and drop our blood pressure—all of which help us sleep,” Puja Uppal, MD, a Michigan-based physician, recently told Mic.
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