Bedside tables can be very beneficial, especially when one considers how many unnecessary trips to other rooms they can prevent. The very act of sleeping can cause mouth and throat dryness, so having a glass of water near the bed can be a great benefit. Soft overhead lighting in the bedroom may be soothing, but the light switch may be on the opposite side of the room. A bedside table can accommodate a small reading lamp which can be switched off from the bed itself.
Many people have small items, such as eyeglasses, contact lenses and watches, which may be needed at any moment. Placing these objects on a nightstand or bedside table can keep them safe and accessible.
Another advantage of a bedside table is the storage of medications. Many people need to take medications at bedtime but often forget until they have already retired for the evening. Medicine bottles and a supply of water can be kept on a bedside table to prevent unnecessary trips to the medicine cabinet late at night. Elderly people especially need to limit the number of trips they make in a darkened room late at night. Some bedside table have drawers with locks, so medications can be kept out of the reach of children.
Reading in bed is a popular way to unwind before sleep, so a bedside table can also be used as a personal library. Some people may also want to install an extension phone for late-night chats or emergency calls. If a television or other entertainment system exists in the bedroom, a bedside table is a perfect location for the remote controls. Channel guides and schedules can also be kept on a bedside table for quick reference.
Another advantage of a bedside table is the proverbial midnight snack. Such a table could allow for a coffee cup and breakfast plate, or a variety of munchies for late-night cravings. Some bedside stands may also have an extension which will swing over the bed as a sturdy eating tray. Most hospitals offer both bedside tables and swing-around eating stands for bedridden patients. Patients convalescing at home may also benefit from the flexibility of a bedside table.