These are the books you should read to make you fall asleep

books help fall asleep
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There aren’t many of us who can get through the week without mentioning our sleeping habits.

Most days you’ll find someone walking around bleary-eyed because they ‘couldn’t get to sleep last night’.

And while many resort to all sorts of techniques to try and fall into a slumber – taking a relaxing bath, drinking herbal tea, listening to soothing sounds, even counting sheep – one of the most reliable pre-bedtime rituals has always been to read a book.

More: The best Kindles and best eReaders – for avid and occasional readers alike

Sound advice, sure. But what to read? Something too interesting and you won’t be able to put it down; too boring and you’ll likely fall into an endless social media scrolling session; and too stimulating will keep you up all night with visions you usually prefer to stay inside a TV screen.

Well, one organisation has come up with the perfect answer.

London’s Sheraton Grand Park Lane hotel has teamed up with psychologist and sleep expert Dr David Lewis and the capital’s oldest bookshop Hatchards to come up with the ultimate list of books that will help you to sleep.

books help fall asleep

According to Dr Lewis, you want to look out for books with short sentences and chapters that provide closure for a real snooze-inducer.

He also added that books with a simple structure and no too many intricate details in the plot line help the brain to shut off for sleep.

And a cliff hanger at the end of the chapter? An absolute no-no, as according to Lewis is triggers something called the ‘Zeigarnik Effect’, which stops the brain from switching off as it feels that something has been left unfinished.

books help fall asleep

To help their guests sleep more soundly, the Sheraton Grand hotel has introduced a cohort of appropriate books into their lounge for hotel users to enjoy before bed.

Books to help you fall asleep:

  • 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

Worth a try if you need a way to unwind before getting some quality sleep...

Aleesha Badkar
Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.

Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).

But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.

When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).

Follow her latest shopping & lifestyle advice, beauty insights and social antics on Instagram at @aleeshabadkar.

Twitter: @aleeshabadkar

LinkedIn: aleesha-badkar