More than one in four adults haven’t picked up a book in the past year (Pew Research). That’s their mistake! Why? Because reading books is really good for your health.
Check out these incredible reasons to read books more often.
Read a book and live longer!
A recent study found that adults who read three and a half hours a week are more likely (by 20 to 25%!) to outlive those who don’t read (Social Science & Medicine study). That means you could add two to three years to your life by reading books!
Be creative and open-minded.
Readers of short stories need far less cognitive closure than those who read nonfiction essays (University of Toronto study). Fiction readers are more open-minded and creative.
Have more great sex!
Many women are reporting that reading Fifty Shades of Grey has made them feel like taking control in the bedroom — despite the book’s emphasis on sexual submission. A study done in England reports that women had about three times more sex after reading Fifty Shades of Grey. And the aftereffects lasted as long as six months.
Read books and live longer!
Those adults over 50 who read books for 30 minutes every day live an average of 23 months longer than nonreaders or those who read magazines and newspapers (Yale University study). Reading books create a strong cognitive engagement that improves vocabulary, thinking skills, concentration, emotional intelligence, and empathy.
Successful people read!
High achievers focus on self-improvement. They read lots of self-help books.
Cut risks of colds and flu.
Taking a break from your daily grind by reading something that helps you relax can cut your risk of colds and flu by 40% (Ohio State University study). What to read? Novels, magazines you enjoy, catalogs, memoirs, children’s books. Taking a break by reading can prompt a 55% drop in cortisol production. Lower levels of this stress hormone allows your immune system to release antibodies (your first line of defense against germs).
Boost your thyroid function.
Reading a book for 20 minutes before turning out the lights and going to sleep can boost your thyroid function by 27% in as little as 72 hours (British researchers). Reading at bedtime kick-starts your brain’s production of theta waves, thus cutting your risk of restless sleep by 68% and providing your body with time to replace aging thyroid cells.
Lower your body mass index.
Regular reading leads to a lower body mass index just as reliably as regular exercise like jogging.
Speed your weight loss.
Regular reading of health and nutrition articles and books helps you lose weight 60% faster because you’ll eat more vegetables every week (South Dakota State University study). Healthy reading renews your motivation to make healthy choices.
After reading a cozy novel for only six minutes, you can cut your stress levels by 68% (University of Sussex UK). Reading slows your heart rate, soothes tension, and slashes stress. Reading is a whole-brain activity that improves mode and resiliency.
Fall asleep faster.
You’ll fall asleep faster as you get distracted from daily stresses by immersing yourself in a fictional world (University of Sussex UK). Women who read before bed fall asleep 28% faster (as long as they read a real book and not via a digital device).
Slash Alzheimer’s risk.
You can cut your risk of dementia by reading a good book, whether a romance, a mystery, or even an intriguing nonfiction book. Taking time to read even part of a book every day can slow cognitive decline by 32% and cut your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by over 60%. Reading books kick-starts your production of nerve growth factor that fuels the growth of healthy new brain cells (University of Louisville study).
Cut your pain.
If you spend more time thinking about pain by reading about it and figuring out what’s triggering the pain and discovering your options for feeling better, you’ll experience 40% less pain than if you were taking prescription medications for the pain (Stanford University study). People’s sense of control cuts pain-triggering stress!
Get a raise!
Going to the library gives people the same kick as getting a $2,282 raise (United Kingdom’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport).
Boost your recall.
If you review something you’ve read just before bed, you’ll increase your recall by 12% (Brigham and Women’s Hospital study). Brushing up on what you’ve read helps with notes for work, details on a novel you’re reading, or health tips.
Improve your memory.
Reading books or magazines aloud reduces your risk of memory problems by 32% (Rush University Medical Center study). Reading words while hearing them helps your brain process information more deeply, making it stick over the long-term.
Cut your risk of getting the flu.
Some people don’t get sick even when they are exposed to live flu viruses. What’s their secret? They make time every day for little luxuries like reading, crafting, or simply soaking in the tub. It turns out that as your stress level drops when giving yourself permission to do something you like, your production of virus-killing antibodies goes up (University of Michigan study). Australian researchers back this study up: By taking care of your own needs for just 40 minutes a day, you can cut flu risk by 42% in just two days!
Increase your positivity.
Doing activities that inspire you (like reading, painting, or knitting) makes you happier immediately and helps the positivity last longer (The Journal of Positive Psychology).
Reading to children inspires their imaginations, helps them learn, and helps them relax so they fall asleep faster.
Become more self-confident.
When children read to animals, the children become more self-confident and stronger in their skills (various studies).
Lower stress by writing.
Keeping a journal can lower stress by 48%. It also reduces inflammation by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (Mark Menolascino, author of Heart Solution for Women).
Ease your heart beat.
Reading a funny book or watching a romantic comedy encourages you to laugh. Laughing releases nitric oxide, which widens your blood vessels to help your heart beat more easily (American Journal of Cardiology).
Lower your blood pressure.
Reading self-help books, books on positive thinking, and scriptures for even just 20 minutes a day can lower your blood pressure by 30% by releasing the artery relaxing hormone, dopamine (UCLA research).
Sharpen your focus.
Reading books on positive thinking and scriptures for 20 minutes a day can sharpen your focus and enhance mental energy for six hours by releasing the focus-enhancing hormone, dopamine (UCLA research).
Soothe your aches.
Reading a good book can soothe your aches and pains by 43% in just ten minutes (Australian study). Reading books cuts stress and inflammation.
Find Inner Peace
Take a few minutes each morning to read a chapter from a book (or watch the sun rise). If you have a positive experience in the morning, it reduces the output of cortisol, a stress hormone, for up to 16 hours (Psychoneuroendocrinology).
A Cure for Feeling Lonesome
Reading a great book creates the same feeling of belonging in the brain as being a part of a group. “It’s equivalent to visiting a good friend.” (Shira Gabriel, psychologist)
Sleep Through the Night
Do you have trouble sleeping through the night? Stop using any electronics that emit blue light a few hours before going to bed. Cut out the use of mobile phones, tablets, and computers. Instead, read a book. Reading a book is one of the best ways to sync your internal clock so you sleep better throughout the night (Texas Health Arlington Memorial).
Increase T Cell Production
Stress reduces your body’s production of virus-fighting T cells. Just 6 minutes of reading a new cookbook or romance novel or new bestseller can cut your stress by 68% (as noted in another point above). That reduction of stress allows your immune system to work its magic (Spanish scientists).
Share a Story
Buy a secondhand copy of your favorite book. Write a note inside the cover, something like this: You’ve just received a Book Hug. Read it and pass it on! Then give that Book Hug to a neighbor or a friend to start a chain of literary love!
Reading is good for your health. Books are good for your health.
Give me books, fruit, French wine, and fine weather, and a little music out of doors, played by someone I do not know. — John Keats, poet