Read Yourself to Sleep: 6 Books Every Nightstand Needs

To me, there’s no better way to end the day than with a good book in bed. Because I’m a huge bookworm, I always have one to three books I’m reading at any given time. This also means that if I’m in the middle of a great read (like the suspenseful fiction book, “The Girl on the Train”), there’s a good chance I’ll stay up too late turning the pages, and not get enough sleep. 

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So, there are a few reads I like to keep near my nightstand, ones I return to over and over again, that are great to pick up before falling asleep. They help me see the bright side of life and end the day in a relaxing way. With so much going on in the world, I tend to worry at night — so anything that puts me in a soothed state of mind is a welcome addition to the end of my day.

Here are my favorite books to read before bed:

“The Sun and Her Flowers” by Rupi Kaur

I’ve loved Rupi’s poetry for years — and this book is by far my favorite. Her poems touch on deep and relatable topics, like grief, the longing to belong, and wanting to uncover our life’s purpose — and I love reading her work before bed. The poems are divided into the different stages of a flower: the journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming — and they all demonstrate a common theme: being comfortable in your own skin without looking for external validation. 

“Care of the Soul” by Thomas Moore

This book changed my life because it helped me think about my daily activities, from healthy habits to my chores, in a new way. Thomas Moore shares a revolutionary approach to thinking about everyday activities and problems — and he urges the reader to learn how to find a sacredness in ordinary things. His approach is to treat everything as an extension of our spirituality. Making the bed isn’t just a chore to cross off the list mindlessly, but a ritual to make the place where I rest clean and comfortable. 

“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz

Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best. These are the four agreements derived from ancient Toltec Wisdom that Don Miguel Ruiz outlines in his book. I go back to this book over and over again, and every time I do, I find a new piece of life advice that seems to apply to whatever my current circumstances are. The last time I read it, I finally understood what not taking anything personally means — and it has been a game-changer for me in how I approach my relationships.

“Rise Sister Rise” by Rebecca Campbell

Filled with poems, essays, and prayers, this book always leaves me feeling grounded and centered. Rebecca Campbell’s writing is ethereal and inspiring — and all about female empowerment. This book teaches women to be powerful, to trust their intuition, and to take leaps of faith. The biggest takeaway for me has been how powerful it is to share my voice — and understanding how women have been trained to “stay quiet” for centuries. Now, what I write in my journal before bed is also something I revisit the next day, to see if there’s anything I want to share with others, either on social media or in my writing.

“Anam Cara” by John O’Donohue

Based on Celtic wisdom, John O’Donohue explores the nature of an anam cara, which translates to “soul friend.” He explores the different cycles of life and the ways a “soul friend” can help us to find more meaning in both life and death. He offers a unique perspective that is very soothing and helps to calm any fears of mortality or any craziness that might be going on in the world. His way of outlining the cyclical nature of life, the fact that life has always been a series of births and deaths, helps me to let go of my fear of dying and to be focused on the life I’m lucky enough to live.

“Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much” by Anne Wilson Schaef

I inherited this book from my grandmother. Every day there is a quote, a theme, and food for thought. I love that this book doesn’t give blatant self-help advice. Instead, it invites the reader to contemplate different areas of life, and leaves off with a prompt or statement that I sometimes even journal about. This book has helped me to embrace rest and to slow down, which is why I love to read it right before bed.

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