21 Relaxing Books to Read Before Bed

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Here are 21+ relaxing books to read before bed. These books will inspire, motivate, and entertain you as well as help you fall asleep and wake up feeling better.

So many of my clients are looking for direction, motivation, and for that elusive thing that is missing from their lives. Many of these books address all of that!

Books really can help you not just sleep better but live better too!

I love reading in bed before I fall asleep. Reading a relaxing book before bed calms my mind and lets me drift gently to sleep. I’m always on the look out for good books to read before bed.

While writing another post, How to Wake Up Happier Every Day, I realized that I had a big list of books that I have read over the past two years.

Updated: 12/18/2020 I’ve been reading some good books before sleep the past few months, so have added them to the list.

I realized that a certain kind of book were the best books to read before bed. Good books to read before bed are interesting, but not so interesting that they keep you awake or that stimulate your mind too much.

Calming Books to Help You Sleep Better

As I said, the best books to read before bed are books that are interesting enough that I look forward to them but not so exciting that they rev up my nervous system or keep me awake for hours.

As you can tell from the list, I really like self-help books and memoirs. These seem to be the best for helping me fall asleep. A good novel is often hard to put down! So, at night I stick to good-for-me books.

Here are 20 relaxing books to read before bed. These books will inspire, motivate, and entertain you as well as help you fall asleep and wake up feeling better.

For your convenience to read more about these books or to purchase, Ive included links to Amazon. Read my disclosure policy here.

The Best Books to Read Before Bed to Help You Feel Better

10% Happier

I thought this was just a meditation book. My boyfriend was reading it and I wanted to learn more about meditating.

Before the writer of the book gets into meditation, you get an inside look at network news and the men and women that you see on TV. I found that part so interesting.

The Lemonade Life How to Fuel Success, Create Happiness, and Conquer Anything

Here are guidelines for improving your life from right where you are. The author keeps his formula to five simple steps.

Friedman shows us happiness isn’t something to be deferred but should be at the center of our life now. And that is what will help fuel our success and greatness today. He teaches that we have more power than we give ourselves credit for and how to take more control of what we want in our life. 

Your Blue Flame Drop the Guilt and Do What Makes You Come Alive

From Amazon:

Every one of us has a blue flame–a special skill, a personal passion, a gift or talent. But when caught up in life’s busyness, it’s too easy to make a habit of suppressing our most joyful contributions to the world.

As Jennifer learned, the secret to a life you love isn’t necessarily jumping the track, quitting your job, or hustling to make your dream your full-time reality. Rather, it’s about doing more of what makes you come alive in your actual life. Your Blue Flame is your upbeat playbook to rekindling your energy, sparking those meaningful “first loves” back to life again, and discovering the unique way each one of us can make the world a better, brighter place.

The Story of the Human Body Evolution, Health, and Disease

This book starts 3 million years ago or so and takes you on a journey of where humans came from, how we evolved, and the human-like beings that didn’t make it to the modern world.

This is one of my favorite books of 2020. It’s a fascinating look into what our ancient ancestors were like and how they lived, moved, and changed through the centuries.

Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

My boyfriend is fascinated that I read a book about a woman who had a pet snail and that a whole book was written about it.

Not only that, but I really enjoyed the book!

The author, had an illness and was confined to bed. A friend gave her a plant that turned out to have a snail living on it.

Because the author was in bed, she began watching the snail. Most of us live way to0 fast to see snails move, much less how they live and what they do through out the day.

This is a gentle peaceful story, yet interesting. Snails have lives and do stuff!

Confessions of a Middle-Aged Runaway An RV Travel Adventure

I have dreams of traveling and seeing more of the country. One summer, I even did a couple of weeks in an RV exploring from Texas, through New Mexico, to Colorado and back again.

This is a story about a woman who bought an RV and by herself, travelled. I know this, RV travel is not easy. RV’s are not just homes on wheels. There are so many systems and things to do.

It was fun to go with the author on her journey of learning a new way of life, connecting with other travelers, and learning more about life in the process.

I Will Always Write Back– Martin Ganda

This book was so so so AMAZING. I give it my own award as Best Book I Read During Stay at Home.

It’s the story between a young girl in the US, who becomes penpals with a young boy in Africa. While she is growing up, living a the life of a teenage girl in the US, her penpal and his family battle not just for education but survival.

Eventually, it begins to dawn on her that her friend, does not have the same kind of life. She begins to help him and his family by sending gifts and babysitting money.

Eventually her parents find out and together they find ways to keep Martin in school. On his side, he works just as hard to earn an education and to help his family.

Untamed–Glennon Doyle

This is the first book I have read by Glennon Doyle. It’s a unique love story. One of the things that is so interesting about Glennon, is the dramatic twists her life has taken. As they happen publicly because she is a popular writer, you go on that humbling journey with her. But there is love, always love.

Solve for Happy – Mo Gawdat

This inspiring story is about a man whose beloved son died unexpectedly. The family decided to honor his memory but also strive to be happy. The book is part their story and part what creates happiness.

Happier at Home – Gretchen Rubin

This is my favorite of the Gretchen Rubin books. She divides the book into 9 months, each month devoted to a way of finding more happiness in her home.

“So, starting in September (the new January), Rubin dedicated a school year—September through May—to making her home a place of greater simplicity, comfort, and love.” (Amazon)

Braving the Wilderness – Brene Brown

I think you can pick any Brene Brown book and have a great before bed read.

An Invisible Thread –Laura Shroff

This is the story of a woman with a busy professional life in NYC who befriends a young boy on the street. This story covers their 25-year story. I have to admit, this is one I read through in a weekend. So good!

Jump and Your Life Will Appear – Nancy Levin

How to make change with small steps.

Dying to Be Me – Anita Moorjani

A great book about a near-death experience.

Marrow – Elizabeth Lesser

This is the story between two sisters. One who needed a marrow transplant and the other who was the perfect match.

Elizabeth Lesser is a beautiful writer. I feel like a better person just reading her words!

Brave Enough – Cheryl Strayed

This is a book of quotes from Cheryl Strayed’s books and writings. So read a little, feel inspired, and go to sleep.

Wild: From Lost to Found – Cheryl Strayed

I’ve read this book three time! The last time I read it was right before I went on my first hike. I love books about people doing these long hikes. For the most part they are simply plodding along day after day, yet her inner struggle to complete this walk was engaging.

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail – William Monk

One of my favorite hiking books. I was constantly highlighting things that inspired me.

The Big Leap – Gay Hendricks

This book is a helpful if you find yourself approaching success or happiness and you sabotage yourself. Here’s how to move past that.

Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

The magic of creation. If you are a creative, this is a must-read!

Friendships Don’t Just Happen – Shasta Nelson

The importance of different kinds of friendships and how they fit into our lives.

Change Me Prayers – Tosha Silver

So often, we want others to change before we will change how we feel. Short stories accompanied by a prayer asking for help changing ourselves.

The Rainbow Comes and Goes – Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt

Anderson Cooper and his mother write to each other in this loving story between a famous mother and her famous son.

Gloria Vanderbilt lived the first part of her life in the news. While her story has faded from people’s memories, her son has become famous in his own right.

Between them, they have survived the death of Gloria’s husband/Anderson’s dad and the suicide of his older brother.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Maire Kondo

I read this a few years before you began hearing about Marie Kondo everywhere. I actually still use many of her ideas to this day.

Her gentle writing makes you actually want to tidy things up a bit.

Simplify – Joshua Becker

More on a minimalist lifestyle

It Was Always Meant to Happen this Way – Brooke Castillo

Lots of bite-size bits of wisdom from Brooke. She’s gone on to be a major Life Coach.

A Little Princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett

This in hands-down my favorite kid’s lit book. It’s by the author of the Secret Garden. It’s a good fairy tale with lots of good lessons.

A Walk in the Woods
Bill Bryson

The book is WAY better than the movie! This is my favorite Bill Bryson book–just an ordinary guy walking the Appalachian Trail, with lots of funny moments.

For five more books, check out my post, How to Wake Up Happier Every Day.

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Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! Big changes can happen with a shift in thinking. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life and weight loss coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.