Seven super health benefits of reading

Are you an avid reader, or are you struggling to remember the last time you picked up a book? If it’s the latter, then you may well change your mind after reading this blog!

To mark World Book Day, we’ve compiled a list of seven health benefits of reading – although we really could have listed many more.

1. Stress reduction

“By losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world.”

Neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis

Reading is widely recognised as being an excellent pastime to reduce your levels of stress. In fact, one report put a number on it – stating people’s stress levels were lowered by 68%. This makes it more soothing than listening to music or talking a walk, according to the experts.

In fact, reading is so good at lowering your stress levels that some studies have found half an hour with a book is just as effective as doing yoga or laughing for 30 minutes!

2. Warding off dementia

Making reading and other mentally-stimulating activities a habit during your life can potentially help you stave off dementia. Long-term memory is significantly improved and cognitive decline vastly reduced among older people who’ve regularly read throughout their lifetime.

3. Lower blood pressure

Problems associated with high blood pressure include heart attacks, kidney disease, strokes and heart failure. While reading won’t completely eliminate your risk factors of all of these, it has been proven to reduce your blood pressure.

4. Longer life

Not only can a love of books help you live a healthier life, it can also extend your life too! A study in America revealed bookworms lived on average two years longer than those who hardly or never read.

5. Better sleep

People who read before bed have a much higher chance of a good night’s sleep. This is going to help with concentration, stress and mood – and also makes it much easier to maintain a healthy weight. You have a lower chance of developing heart disease or diabetes, and your immune system works more effectively if you’re getting quality sleep.

6. Mental health effects

Reading is good for your mental health for a whole host of reasons. But it’s actually so impactful that sometimes it’s prescribed to help support people’s wellbeing. This is known as ‘bibliotherapy’ and advocates cite its positive impact on self-awareness, compassion, empathy and problem solving as well as reducing stress.

7. Social engagement

You might think of reading as a solitary activity, but actually there are so many ways that the hobby be social. Therefore it gives you all of the health benefits of any other group activity. Examples include joining (or even starting up) a book club, reading a book aloud with a loved one, creating a book swap with friends or family, and frequenting your local library or social media spaces created for fellow readers.

Now you’ve found out about the health benefits of reading, do head over to our social media pages to see how we’ve been celebrating World Book Day!