A London hotel has found out exactly which books you should be reading before bed, and has stocked its library full of them.
We’ll do almost anything to get a good night’s kip. From religiously tracking our unconscious hours (although there’s a reason you might want to give that a rest), confiscating phones from the bedroom, splurging on sleep-inducing Lush products and even sleeping underneath a weighted blanket.
But according to Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, the secret may be in the pages of some very relaxing books in the hotel’s library.
Aware of the nation’s problem with getting a proper rest, the Sheraton Grand has partnered with London’s oldest bookshop Hatchards to come up with a list of the books that are most likely to help you fall asleep.
Working with sleep expert and chartered psychologist Dr David Lewis, the hotel has done some research on what exactly makes a book the perfect bedtime aid, looking at everything from sentence structures to plot twists.
Lewis found that the most important factors are short sentences and concluding chapters that meet the brain’s desire for completeness.
He also noted that books that avoid lots of detail and follow a simple narrative structure make it easy to fall asleep, as the more complicated the story structure, the greater the cognitive effort needed to make sense of it. Similarly, the reader will find it hard to drift off if the book they are reading has a lot of chapters that end in a cliff hanger. This triggers something known as the ‘Zeigarnik Effect,’ which makes the brain think that something isn’t finished and therefore can’t switch off.
For these reasons the books that the Sheraton Grand is adding to its shelves include the Penguin Book of English Short Stories thanks to its simplistic structure, One Fine Day and Still Me because of their rounded off chapters and Conversations With Friends because of the lengthy sentences used by the author, which cause the brain to slow down and go into a relaxed state.
Here’s the full list below:
Tangerine by Christine Mangan
Penguin Book of English Short Stories by Christopher Dolley
Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak
The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gower
Still Me by Jojo Moyes
Don’t point that thing at me by Kyrii Bonfiglioi
Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
Circe by Madeline Miller
Story of Mr Sommer by Patrick Suskind
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Expurey
Last Orders by Graham Switft
Collected Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M.Dellafield
The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh
What I talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
This is What Happened by Mick Herron
The Young Hornblower Omnibus by C.S. Forester
Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach
The Complete Hercule Poirot Short Stories by Agatha Christie
Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany’s
The Lemon Table by Julian Barnes
One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes
Violins of St Jacques by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Century Girls by Tessa Dunlop
The Sheraton Grand London Park Lane’s ZZZ-list of sleepy books is now open in the Club Lounge and available for Lounge members and those staying in a Club Room or Suite to use, but you can of course buy these relaxing tomes for yourself and read them at home.
If you’re still struggling to fall asleep though, check out our Sleep Diaries series, which details how different women organise their evenings to give them the best night’s sleep.