It has repeatedly been said that reading is good for us – but why? In honour of World Book Day’s 20th Anniversary, we have delved into the Science behind how reading affects us and some of the benefits we receive as a result.
1. Improved Sleep
One of the most prominent benefits of reading is its ability to help calm the mind and aid a restful night’s sleep. At the end of the day, it can be hard to switch off - especially during stressful periods - as our minds focus on our troubles. Reading provides an easy method of escape as we can delve into a completely different world disconnected from our own, which in turn helps us to forget about our worries, reduce anxiety and fall asleep easier!
Another way reading can benefit us, is through improving our ability to relate to others. When you read a book you see the world through the viewpoint of another. The protagonist’s trials and tribulations become your own and in turn, you experience a situation which you may never have faced in real life. Reading makes it easier to put yourself in someone else’s shoes’ as such, which can help you to empathise with your peers – ultimately improving the quality of your relationships and helping to avoid conflict!
3.Improved Brain Function
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body - the more we flex our brains the stronger they become! Recent studies, such as that from the Rush University Medical Centre, have shown that engaging in mentally challenging activities (such as reading) can slow down the rate of cognitive deterioration. This is because several different functions within the brain are stimulated simultaneously, which challenges the organ to work harder - in turn building its resilience. Reading has also been found to reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
So there you have it – reading can help you to relax and unwind, improve your ability to see eye-to-eye with others AND protect you against disease. Where’s the nearest book shop?!