On Saturday the 2nd of March I finished reading my first book of the year. It might not sound like much to some, but for me that's a big deal. I used to be a total bookworm before ME, but in the last 5 years I've not really touched books. I read a bit more if I'm on holiday, because I find if all I'm doing is lying in the sun all day then I have some spare energy for reading. I maybe read a book or two on my kindle over summer, but the rest of the year - nada. Up until this year there is no way I would read as part of my everyday life.
I got a few books for my Christmas, but couldn't start reading right away as the Christmas period is manic and I was exhausted. A few weeks into the new year I started the book my boyfriend got me - "Stargazing: Memoirs of a Young Lighthouse Keeper" by Peter Hill. We like to visit the odd lighthouse on our adventures around Scotland so he thought I'd enjoy this one, and he was right. I tend to find I avoid "light reads" because in my head that just means chick flicks. I'm not one for romance. This however was a light read I liked. It was lighthearted, honest, realistic and insightful. No judgement if you like the previously mentioned light reads by the way, not at all. They're just not for me.
This blog post isn't necessarily a book review, more so discussing what it means to me that I can even digest the words on the page. I'm not one for audio books, I find it quite hard to keep track of information if it's purely audio. It's for this same reason I've never got into podcasts either, my brain struggles to keep up. So I've missed the stories that are kept inside pages, I haven't had them for a while.
Throughout February I was reading as part of my daily routine, something which I didn't think I'd be saying. I discovered a new routine where I go to bed at about 9pm and by half 9 I've got my book out. I read until I can't anymore. Sometimes it's after a single page, sometimes it's after an hour. I've never pushed it longer than that, an hour is my max. I would fall asleep before midnight, which is crazy for me. My usual time to drift off before this new routine was somewhere between 3 and 4am. No matter what time I went to my bed. This new routine means I was waking up earlier than usual, normally between 9 and 10am. Crazy!
All thanks to a little book about a lighthouse keeper, and the people he met along the way. I like that. This book and the new routine that went with it genuinely changed my day to day life. I had always steered clear of reading before bed because I figured I didn't have the energy to spare that late in the day. By bedtime the last thing I wanted to do was engage my brain in something, I was knackered. But the thing is I still wasn't sleeping.
If you feel the same way about bedtime reading as I did, maybe consider giving it a try. I didn't set myself targets, I didn't try to read a certain number of pages/chapters or read until a certain time. I listened to my body and if it was telling me after half a page that it's had enough then I put the book down. That isn't a failure or a defeat. Reading a few lines is still reading. It counts.
I really enjoyed my new routine, learning about the eccentrics he met, how a manned lighthouse worked and how sea mist is created. It might sound a bit dull to some of you and that's okay, but it's right up my street. I really enjoyed my time sitting quietly in bed reading his stories. My boyfriend said this new routine made him happy because it sounded nice and wholesome. And I guess he's right. Whatever way you'd describe it, it definitely worked.
I've fallen out of the habit in the last few weeks because I wasn't enjoying my new book as much. But I'm determined to get back into it because it definitely made a difference to my sleep pattern. Since I've stopped, I'm back to falling asleep about 2am, however my body is still determined to wake up somewhere between 8 and 9. That isn't enough sleep for me and I've noticed the negative effects. Back to the books I go!
If you have any recommendations please let me know. Preferably non-fiction about peoples lives, since I enjoyed Stargazing so much. I'm not setting myself targets for the year, I don't have a number of books I want to get through. I'm just going to continue with my little sleep schedule, and see how we get on.
Do you read before bed?