Iowa Specialty Hospital

How Reading Benefits Your Health

August 8, 2018

August 9th is National Book Lover’s Day.  So let’s take a peek at 8 science –backed reasons to get lost in your favorite book.

  • Reading increases intelligence.  Diving into a good book opens up a whole world to knowledge especially starting at a very young age.  It provides exposure to new vocabulary and typically increases reading skills.
  • Reading can boost brain power.  Just like jogging works your cardiovascular system, reading is exercise for the mind.  It improves memory function by giving the brain a good workout.
  • It can make you more empathetic.  Fiction, specifically, has the power to help readers understand what others are thinking by reading others’ emotions due to experience through a story.Flipping pages can help you understand what you’re reading.  The feel of paper pages provides your brain with some context which can lead to deeper understanding and better comprehension.  So while e-books might be handy, the real benefits are found between physical pages.
  • Reading may help fight Alzheimer’s.  Those who engage their brains through reading, chess, or puzzles could be 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.  Inactivity increases the risk of the disease.  So reading provides the exercise the brain needs.
  • It can help you relax.  A 2009 study by Sussex University showed that reading may reduce stress by as much as 68 percent.  It really doesn’t matter the subject as long you can escape from everyday stresses by losing yourself in the storyline.
  • Reading before bed can help you sleep.  Creating a bedtime ritual, like reading before bed, signals your body that it’s time to wind down for the day.  Reading helps you relax more than zoning out in front of a screen before bed.  TV, tablets, and other screens can actually keep you awake longer or even hurt your overall sleep. 
  • It’s contagious.  For parents who wish their children would read more for fun, they should encourage kids to read out loud.  To truly inspire them to become frequent readers, continue the reading out loud practice throughout their elementary school years.

So with all these positive benefits, why not grab your favorite book and take a mental trip?  You might just find yourself happier and healthier with every page you read.

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