Home Mental Health & Well-Being Reading Before Bed Offers Superior Benefits Compared to Scrolling on TikTok, Says Expert

Reading Before Bed Offers Superior Benefits Compared to Scrolling on TikTok, Says Expert

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Both reading and scrolling on TikTok are popular bedtime activities, but they offer vastly different benefits. Moby Ahmed from Awesome Books gives a detailed comparison of the pros of reading for 15 minutes before bed versus scrolling on TikTok.

GP Sam Jones explained that people with certain health conditions such as insomnia, depression and even high blood pressure, could actually be making their symptoms worse.

Reduces stress

Reading

  • Calming effect. Reading helps your mind to relax and escape from the stressors of the day. it allows you to focus on something pleasant and divert your thoughts from any anxieties or worries.
  • Stress reduction. Studies show that reading can reduce stress levels by up to 68%, making it more effective than many other relaxation techniques.

Scrolling on TikTok

  • Variable effect. While some TikTok videos can be entertaining and light-hearted, the constant exposure to an endless stream of content, including potentially stressful or negative videos, can increase stress and anxiety levels.

Improves sleep quality

Reading

  • Sleep signal. Establishing a reading routine signals to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep, helping to regulate your sleep cycle.
  • Better sleep. Reading before bed can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep by reducing stress and relaxing your mind.

Scrolling on TikTok

  • Disruptive light. The blue light emitted from phone screens can interfere with melatonin production, disrupting your sleep cycle and reducing sleep quality.
  • Engaging content. The engaging nature of TikTok videos can make it difficult to unwind and fall asleep, as the stimulating content can keep your mind active.

Enhances cognitive function

Reading

  • Mental stimulation. Reading stimulates brain activity, improving cognitive function and keeping your mind sharp. It enhances vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking skills.
  • Neural pathways. Engaging with complex narratives and ideas helps build and maintain neural pathways, potentially staving off cognitive decline as you age.

Scrolling on TikTok

  • Short-term content. While TikTok can expose you to new ideas and creativity, the short-form content typically doesn’t provide the same level of cognitive engagement or depth as reading.

Boosts mental health

Reading

  • Emotional relief. Reading provides a break from everyday stressors and allows you to immerse yourself in another world, improving your mood and emotional well-being.
  • Mindfulness and relaxation. Focusing on the words on a page can be a meditative practice, helping you stay present and mindful, which contributes to relaxation and a sense of peace.

Scrolling on TikTok

  • Mixed effects. While some TikTok content can be uplifting, constant exposure to social media can also lead to comparisons with others, fear of missing out (FOMO), and exposure to negative content, which can harm mental health.

Encourages lifelong learning

Reading

  • Knowledge acquisition. Books expose you to new ideas, cultures, and perspectives, fostering continuous personal growth and knowledge acquisition.
  • Intellectual curiosity. Regular reading keeps your curiosity alive and encourages you to learn more about various subjects, contributing to personal development.

Scrolling on TikTok

  • Varied content. TikTok offers a diverse range of content, some of which can be educational. However, the platform is primarily designed for entertainment, and the learning aspect is often secondary.

Physical benefits

Reading

  • Reduced screen time. Choosing to read a physical book or a book on an e-reader designed for nighttime use reduces exposure to blue light from screens, which can interfere with melatonin production and disrupt sleep.
  • Lowered heart rate. The calming effect of reading can lower your heart rate and help you feel more relaxed physically, contributing to overall well-being.

Scrolling on TikTok

  • Increased screen time. Prolonged screen time, especially before bed, can strain your eyes and contribute to digital eye strain. The blue light emitted by screens can also disrupt sleep patterns.

Promotes consistency and routine

Reading

  • Healthy habit. Incorporating 15 minutes of reading into your nightly routine promotes consistency and can help establish a healthy bedtime habit.
  • Structured wind-down. A structured wind-down routine, including reading, can make it easier to transition from the busyness of the day to a restful night’s sleep.

Scrolling on TikTok

  • Irregular usage. The unpredictable nature of social media can make it difficult to establish a consistent bedtime routine, potentially leading to irregular sleep patterns.

Takeaway

Mubin says: “While both reading and scrolling on TikTok have their merits, reading for 15 minutes before bed offers numerous benefits that can enhance your mental and physical well-being, improve sleep quality, and support lifelong learning.

In contrast, while TikTok can provide quick entertainment and social interaction, it may disrupt sleep patterns, increase stress, and offer less cognitive engagement. For a healthier lifestyle and better sleep, consider incorporating more reading into your nightly routine and limiting your screen time before bed. “

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