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7 Ways Reading Can Actually Improve Your Health

Books are incredible. No matter what topic you want to read about, you can find a book that covers it. Reading is a wonderful way to pass time without aimlessly scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

But there’s more to reading than just diving into a fictional world with your favorite characters. For decades, studies have shown that reading has plenty of health benefits, both physical and mental.

So, today, in honor of National Book Lovers Day, let’s take a look at some of the best benefits of reading.

1. It improves your cognitive health.

Research conducted by the National Institute of Aging shows that reading, no matter if you choose magazines, comics, books, or articles, improves your cognitive health, lowering the risk of various mental disorders.

For instance, reading has been shown to improve your memory and focus as you age. It also lowers your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

While more research needs to be done, brain stimulation caused by reading is definitely beneficial.

2. It increases your vocabulary and language skills.

It’s probably self-explanatory, but it’s a pretty impressive benefit. Studies show that reading regularly broadens your vocabulary and improves your grammatical skills.

It also promotes communication skills, which are important for successful relationships, careers, and just life in general. By developing your vocabulary, you’re more capable of maintaining stimulating conversations and even improving your social status.

Plus, if you’re studying or working in a place where writing is crucial, diversifying your word choice can make you truly stand out.

3. It helps you fight depression.

Experts state that many people with depression feel isolated from the world and other people, which further plunges them into their depressive state.

However, reading throws you into an imaginative world that can help you learn how to get away from your intrusive thoughts and teach you how to manage your symptoms.

Luckily, this benefit applies to all types of books, not just fictional and self-help guides.

4. It boosts your creativity.

Reading, especially fiction books, can help enhance your creative side. This can be particularly important for artistic people, who look for ways to inspire and motivate themselves.

Reading other people’s stories and experiences triggers a certain part of your brain that’s responsible for creative thinking.

So, if you’ve ever experienced a lack of motivation, reading might be your solution.

5. It lowers blood pressure and heart rate.

Reading reduces stress by lowering your blood pressure and heart rate. Further, it decreases your risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular conditions.

Lower heart rate and blood pressure may also contribute to less severe anxiety symptoms. You may even prevent panic attacks if you tend to suffer from them.

Studies show this benefit requires regular reading, so make sure to grab a book at least a few times a week.

6. It helps you empathize with others.

Another interesting benefit you can get from reading is the ability to empathize with others. A 2013 study shows that people who read literary fiction, where characters go through different experiences than the reader, have a stronger ability to empathize with others in real life.

Experts refer to it as the “theory of mind” — the essential skills for building, maintaining, and improving social relationships.

Still, it’s important to keep in mind that you need to read regularly to get this benefit.

7. It enhances sleep quality.

Most of us who are healthy and don’t suffer from insomnia still sometimes experience trouble with falling asleep. There’s one common reason this happens: blue light emitting from our electronic devices.

I’d be lying if I said I’ve never scrolled through social media while in bed. Although it might seem harmless, the blue light emitting from our phones actually disrupts our REM cycle, making us unable to fall and stay asleep.

As a result, we wake up groggy and exhausted even though we slept for seven hours or more.

Luckily, reading doesn’t have that effect. In fact, studies show that reading before bed improves sleep quality, leaving you fresh and rested in the morning.

Experts believe this is because books help you create imaginary scenarios that help you fall asleep. They also don’t emit any irritating light as long as you read paper books.

So, if you’re struggling to fall asleep, you may want to put down the phone and pick up a book.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of benefits of reading. So, no matter what you enjoy diving into — from fiction through non-fiction to autobiographies — make sure to always have a book at hand.

What are you currently reading? Give us your recommendations in the comments below.

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