If you’re reading this right now, you probably don’t need an introduction to the benefits of reading. It’s well known that reading helps you gain knowledge, improve vocabulary, think creatively, and much more!

That being said, reading also offers a host of health benefits for your mind, body, and soul. But if your daily dose of reading only includes newspapers, you’re way off track! What you need is deep, engaging reading that only books – fiction or non-fiction – can offer you.

Read on for 11 amazing health benefits of reading books!

1. Stimulates the Brain

Reading turns on your brain by stimulating your neurological regions, making you feel like you’re living the experience described by the author. According to researchers, reading about actions can stimulate your brain’s motor cortex that’s responsible for movement, and reading about food can activate olfactory regions that are responsible for smell!

Whether you’re reading holocaust books or romance novels, it’s no wonder that you’re transported into a completely different world built by the author.

2. Boosts Happiness

Life experiences give you more joy than material things. In addition to this, experiential products that are designed to provide or enhance life experiences are proven happiness boosters. While sporting goods, musical instruments, and video games are known to up your joy quotient, books have the same effect on your mind.

3. Reduces Stress

What calms your nerves best- listening to music, sipping your favorite beverage, or going for a walk? If you’re looking for a better and faster way to relieve your mind of stress, all you need to do is grab a book and start reading!

According to studies, only 6 minutes of reading can slow down heart rate and ease tension in muscles. Since the human mind has to concentrate while reading, it is distracted and drawn into the literary world, making reading the ultimate form of relaxation.

4. Decreases Depression

When you’re reading, you get something else to consider instead of your pain or suffering. Since your mind focuses on the book, you are no longer dwelling on your depressive state, thus helping manage depression. Consider reading self-help books if you need to elevate your mood. That being said, novels, short stories, and magazine articles can be equally uplifting. Do bear in mind that reading books is not a substitute for medications!

5. Is Therapeutic

One might argue that watching a good film is also therapeutic, but when reading a book, you have to fill in a lot of things visually, thereby engaging your mind and imagination completely. A good book compels the reader to step into the shoes of the characters and become a part of the story. In doing so, you can find new perspective and an opportunity for self-reflection.

6. Develops Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

Books have a powerful emotional pull on our minds, making us feel that the literary world, its characters and their experiences are real. In other words, reading helps us connect better to characters, and subsequently, to other people around us. By helping develop social tools like empathy and emotional intelligence, reading lowers stress, which in turn translates to a healthier and happier life!

7. Increases Longevity

In a study, reading patterns of 3,635 people 50 years and above were taken into consideration. At the end of the study, researchers discovered that up to 12 years on, respondents who read for 3.5 hours or more a week were 23% less likely to die, whereas the number reduced to 17% for those who read for up to 3.5 hours a week. What’s more, during follow-up, it was found that 33% of non-book readers died, as compared to only 27% of book readers.

Note that this study specifically linked the reading of books, not periodicals, to an increased lifespan.

8. Sharpens Memory

Reading is neurobiologically more demanding than hearing audio or seeing images. And when you read any book, it’s imperative to remember characters and their backgrounds, and various arcs and sub-plots within the story. But you don’t have to put in effort to remember so much! Every new piece of information creates new brain pathways and strengthens existing ones, sharpening your short-term memory.

9. Improves Focus

Reading forces you to focus on the book because otherwise, you won’t be able to understand what’s going on. Just like any physical exercise, reading gets your brain to work and pushes you to focus intently on what is being read.

10. Fights Alzheimer’s

Brain inactivity increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals who keep their brains engaged through stimulating activities like playing chess or solving puzzles are believed to be 2.5 times less likely to develop this disease. Since reading puts your brain to work, it’s a good way to keep it engaged and protect it against Alzheimer’s.

11. Helps You Sleep Better

This doesn’t mean that you’ll fall asleep mid-sentence! Nonetheless, reading books can help improve restfulness and overall sleep patterns. Also, as reading helps reduce stress and depression, you can benefit from a deep and peaceful sleep.

Do refrain from reading a thriller right before your bedtime though, or you will likely have trouble falling asleep!

Conclusion

If reading books has always made you feel good, you now know why. And if you’ve never indulged in reading because you don’t have the time for it, this post has shown you what you’re missing out on!

So go and get yourself a book and immerse yourself in literary goodness!