I think we all can agree that finding the time to relax from our busy lives and just read a book is nearly impossible. Of course, we all read daily, it is a part of our jobs, of driving, of cooking and just using our phones. In fact, we are constantly surrounded by words and sorting through them to find the meaningful ones is quite a challenge, albeit a necessary one. Studies have found that reading real books (with characters and plots and lots of pages) has a plethora of health benefits. So if you can spare as little as 10 minutes a day, the length and quality of your life will vastly improve.
- It Reduces Stress levels: A study by the University of Sussex found that reading is the most efficient way of reducing stress quickly when tested against listening to music, talking a walk, drinking a cup of coffee or tea, or playing a video game. Reading blew them all out of the water, reducing stress by a whooping 68%. Losing yourself in a book can help to distract you from the stress of everyday life while still keeping your brain engaged.
2. Lowers risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease: The brain, like any body part, needs to be used regularly to avoid atrophy. People who participate in mentally stimulating activities throughout their lives had a slower decline in memory. There is no cure for dementia presently, so the best advice is to keep your mind active throughout your life.
3. Alleviate Stress and Anxiety: Reading can be used as a form of therapy. “Books on Prescription is a highly effective way of helping people with common mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, phobias and eating disorders” says Jan Richards, Central West libraries manager in Orange (Smith). Reading a book can be entertaining but also helpful when overcoming mental health disorders by reminding the reader they are not alone, certain books offer hope with their positive conclusions and others offer relatable characters so we feel we have a friend.
4. Helps you fall asleep: Because reading is a de-stressor and adding it into your nightly routine can help ease insomnia. Of course this depends on the type of book you are reading. If you are looking for a book to help you sleep, steer clear of any Stephen King novels. Spending 30 minutes before bed can help you unwind and tire out your eyes so you want to go to sleep, avoiding using your cell phone as it emits blue light that will destroy all your hard work.
-“Reading ‘Can Help Reduce Stress’.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 30 Mar. 2009, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/5070874/Reading-can-help-reduce-stress.html.
-“Keep Reading to Keep Alzheimer’s at Bay.” Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, 12 Nov. 2014, http://www.alzinfo.org/articles/reading-alzheimers-bay/.
-Smith, Sandy. “Don’t Pop a Pill, Read a Book.” The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 Feb. 2013, http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/dont-pop-a-pill-read-a-book-20130226-2f2ph.html.
-Truong, Kimberly, et al. “Why Does Reading Make You So Sleepy?” Marijuana Legalization State Vs Federal Law, Scheduling, Refinery29, 2018, http://www.refinery29.com/en-us/reading-before-bed-sleep-trick.