Any book lover will tell you books are the greatest thing in the world and an endless source of history, humor, humanity, and more but, can reading actually reduce stress? Let's find out!
Reading books, particularly fiction, fully engages the mind and imagination. Any activity that possesses meditative qualities in which the brain is fully focused on a single task is proven to reduce stress and enhance relaxation.
A 2009 study found that reading for as little as six minutes can reduce stress by up to 68 percent. It worked better and faster than some other relaxation methods, such as listening to music or having a hot cup of tea. This may be because your mind is distracted by the story and not focusing on the daily stresses in your life.
The benefits of reading expand beyond reduced anxiety and stress. Studies have linked reading to good brain health in old age.
Research has also found that frequent lifelong participation in “cognitively stimulating activities” like reading can lead to a slower rate of cognitive decline as we age. It might even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. So, it really couldn’t hurt to pick up a book.
It's proven that reading can improve your sleep.
Smartphones have become our regular bedtime buddy. Where's the harm in having a quick check of Facebook before lights out? According to research, it could wreak havoc on your sleep.
A study published earlier this year in the journal Social Science & Medicine found that using a smartphone just before bedtime is linked to shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality.
This is primarily because the light emitted from the devices reduces the production of melatonin in the brain - a hormone that tells us when to sleep.
So, what happens if you read from your tablet?
Screens emit a pulsing, blue light that is stimulating to your brain. So while you still get the escapist benefits of reading, you may not receive the same calming effect that comes from your eyes moving across a page, and you may have more trouble sleeping afterward if you read on a screen at night.
With all of these benefits, there is no doubt that reading is truly a great activity not only if you are looking to reduce your stress but also to keep your brain in a good shape.
We encourage you to go to your near bookshop, buy any book that interests you and start reading at least a few minutes a day.
You will see the difference in your life!