Do You Know These 5 Excellent Benefits of Reading Books?

Share The Love!

Do You Know These 5 Excellent Health Benefits Of Reading Books Title Card | The articles title is displayed over a photo of a woman reading a book on a windowsill. Trees and greenery can be seen outside.

Hello Lovelies:

Confession – I’m a total bookworm. When I need to unwind a hot bath and a good book are my ideas of total heaven. Tell me I’m not alone?

If you’re on the same page (see what I did there *queue the giggles*) you’re most likely in it for a killer plot and a little you time.

But did you know that you’re actually reaping a ton of health benefits when you’re stuck in a good book?

Seriously! Reading something you enjoy is an incredible form of self-care. And has tons to offer your well-being.

Wanna know more? Let’s get cozy together and talk about all of the amazing health benefits of reading books.

And then we should go to the book store and stock up. Because, if I learned anything from researching for this post, more books kind of equals less problems. It’s all win!

5 Rad Health Benefits of Reading Books

1. Reading Reduces Stress

A book is displayed on a white table with a cup of coffee in a white mug on a white saucer. A larger white plate hold a cell phone with a white and grey marble case, little white containers and some green leaves from a plant that's mostly off screen.

Reading is a wonderful way to relax and unwind. It provides us with this fantastic opportunity to immerse ourselves into another world. A it’s a seriously powerful way to reduce stress!

But don’t just take my word for it – Neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis found that it only takes 6 minutes of reading to reduce stress by up to 68%. 68 FREAKING PERCENT! Are you as blown away by this as I am?! And that lovely drop in stress allows you to unwind, relax and even prepare for sleep (we’ll talk more on that in a second). Total win! (source 1, source 2)

Reading even beat out your typical forms of stress relief, like walking, relaxing with a cup of tea or listening to your favourite tunes. It’s just that powerful! Which is a really big reason why reading is important for your well-being. (source)

But wait, there’s more! Dr. Lewis has this to say about reading:

“It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination” (source)

And what a lovely place to explore indeed!

Related: 4 Excellent Stress Relieving Activities To Try Right Now

2. Reading Can Help You Sleep Better

A woman lays in in bed, reading a book. One of the benefits of reading books before bed is that creating a night time routine helps you sleep.

Since reading is so good at helping us relaxing and unwind, it really isn’t all that surprising that it can help us catch some serious Zzz too. A relaxed mind is more apt to shut down for the day.

But stress relief isn’t the only thing that helps us get ready for some shut eye. Creating a nighttime routine, like laying down with a good book for a hot minute before bed, lets your body know that it’s time to sleep. Sticking to a relaxing bedtime schedule can ultimately help you fall asleep easier. Those books are looking better by the minute, aren’t they! (source)

It’s important to know that reading from a physical book is best before bed.

Reading from a screen at night might make it harder for your to fall asleep. No thanks! (source)

Why? Well, one big downfall is that tablets emit blue light! And that hinders melatonin production. Which is a bummer because melatonin controls your sleep/wake cycle. (source)

One study found that those who do their pre-sleep reading on an iPad experienced a 50% drop in melatonin. And their melatonin production cycle was pushed forward by up to 1.5 hours, giving them a sort of jet lag. Ew! (source)

Plus they took longer to fall asleep, felt less alert in the a.m. and experienced less REM sleep. Which means they probably had less dreams than their book reading counterparts. Less dreams?! I’d feel seriously cheated. (source)

So pick up a good (physical) book and read for a few minutes before bed.

An open book lays resting on a bed in the dark, with some mini lights in between the pages providing enough light to read. One of the benefits of reading books before bed is that creating a night time routine helps you sleep.

Dr. Lewis even says that genre doesn’t matter. You’ll still experience a some stress relief and find yourself feeling more relaxed and ready to sleep. (source)

But maybe avoid an intense thriller or horror just in case. I don’t know about you, but that could easily keep me awake all night.

It also helps to make sure that it’s not something so engrossing that you’ll stay up all night reading. Because that will definitely make you tired! And that sort of trumps the sleep related benefits of reading books, now doesn’t it?

Related: 7 Simple Self Care Tricks on How to Sleep Better

3. Reading May Ease Depression

A woman reads a book outisde while the sun sets. The sky is a dark orange and the wind light blows the pages.

Did you know that there’s such a thing as bibliotherapy? How freaking amazing is that?! Basically reading self-help books combined with professional support can help to reduce symptoms of depression. (source)

Reading something helpful while seeking help married really well! It also gave patients a great opportunity to receive guidance and learn practical ways to implement the coping mechanism they learned from their books.

This study showed that those who received support and read self-help book concurrently had lower levels of depression after only 4 months than those who only saw a counselor. Even a year later, those who read while they received in person help were still doing much better.

The books may have made the patients feel more motivated and capable, giving them hope that they can get better. While more studies are absolutely needed, it’s really promising and might make it worth while to ask your therapist for book suggestions that might help. (source)

Related: This Is What Happens When You Prioritize Your Mental Health

4. Reading is Good for Your Brain

A man sits on a windowsill reading a book.

Diving into a sweet story is like a workout for your gorgeous brain! You might not be lifting weights, but you’re doing some serious concentrating, imagining and thinking. It’s basically brain Pilates! But with fewer reps and a lot more plot twists.

All of that brain power can really help to boost your memory. And might even slow down the mental decline we often experience as we age. Potentially by as much as 32 percent (woah!) Which keeps that brain keen and focused for much longer. (source 1, source 2)

Even cooler, reading might help to fight against Alzheimer’s Disease!

Treating yourself to anything mentally engaging, like a lovely moment with a good book, can potentially help to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. In fact, according to this study, regularly enjoying mentally stimulating activities (like reading, puzzles, Sudoku, etc) could make you up to 2.5 times less likely to develop the disease. Those are some good potential odds!

5. Reading Teaches Us Empathy

Someone sits cross legged on a bed, reading a book.

This little tidbit is specific to fiction. Because, when we read a good fiction, we dive into the character’s emotions and experience their reality and perspective. Which are often very different from our own personal views and experiences. That connection leads to understanding and, ultimately, empathy. Which, in turn, increases our overall emotional intelligence. Booyah!

In fact, enjoying a fictional story for just one week can create a serious empathy boost (specifically if you were engrossed in the story and felt highly transported). (source 1, source 2)

Boom! Reading takes care of us and makes us better. How cool is that?

Final Thoughts On The Benefits of Reading Books

Picking up a good book is more than just a fun way to pass the time. You’re supporting your mental well-being and indulging in some serious self-care.

So run a warm bath, put on some cozy pj’s or find a comfy bench in your favourite park and bust out some literary goodness! You are definitely never wasting your time when you’re busy getting lost in a story.

Now it’s your turn! Do you love to read? Are you feeling inspired to pick up a book? Any benefits of reading books that you would like to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below sweet friends!

Health and love,

sara-signature

Thought of the day: If something makes me feel well it’s never a waste of time.

How to Support mshealthesteem.com

Ms. Health-Esteem wouldn’t be possible without you! I’m so grateful that you make it possible for me to share free weekly self-love, wellness and healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thank you!

If “Do You Know These 5 Excellent Benefits of Reading Books?” was your first Ms. Health-Esteem article, thank you tons for reading it and welcome to the Health-Esteemie family <3.

Here’s how you can provide a little extra support for this site:

Subscribe for freebies, extra inspiration, and much more!

Treat yourself to a $2.50 copy of Smoothie Love – How to Drink Your Fruits and Veggie and Love It

Looking to promote something that aligns with Ms. Health-Esteem’s health-philosophies? Let’s talk about it (options for bloggers and businesses alike)

Join me on PinterestInstagramTwitterFacebook, or Tumblr for extra goodness.

Get My Self-Care E-Book and Planner For FREE.

Share your deets and we'll send you the goodness instantly <3

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Share The Love!

Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

Sara Flanagan is a wellness writer and the creator of www.mshealthesteem.com, where she shares her story of being diagnosed with Graves Disease, a chronic autoimmune disease, and empowering herself to do everything she can to thrive in spite of her diagnosis. She writes articles on self-love, acceptance, wellness and nutrition. Join the Health-Esteem Family today and share in the journey.

43 Comments

  1. Reply

    monidipa51

    May 16, 2019

    I am an avid reader. Literary fiction, in particular, may help increase our empathy for others. Writing that encourages readers to think deeply about the subject matter is said to improve mental flexibility. … Activities that stimulate the brain – like reading – are thought to help prevent dementia

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      Yes! It was so cool to discover all of this goodness while I was doing the research for this post. I absolutely adore that works of fiction can increase empathy :). And, like you, I am a HUGE reader. I especially adore fantasy and scifi. And can never put a good book down. It’s such a wonderful form of self-care. I’m so happy you enjoy it too 🙂

  2. Reply

    GiGi Eats Celebrities

    May 16, 2019

    I just don’t have time to read – ugh. I know! If I am not working, hanging with my son and husband, etc… I am sleeping hahaha!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      That’s totally ok Gigi! All of our routines are different and we can’t possible fit every act of self-care into our routine. Getting that time in with your loved ones and making time to rest are wonderful forms of self-care. I’m so glad you prioritize that :). Books will still be there when and if you have time ^^

  3. Reply

    Pearl

    May 16, 2019

    How great it is for us who love reading! I love absorbing all sorts of information through reading

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      YES! I couldn’t agree more Pearl! I love reading. It’s such a lovely form of self-care! And I’m so happy to know that there’s so much extra goodness to be had ^^

  4. Reply

    Lina

    May 16, 2019

    I love to read but time is an issue. Thanks for the reminder of the benefits of reading.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      It’s absolutely ok if something like reading doesn’t fit into your self-care routine. We all need to create a routine that’s flexible and makes sense for us. And shouldn’t feel guilty about the things that we can’t make time for. Reading will be there when you want/have time to enjoy it :). Keep doing what works <3

  5. Reply

    Patti

    May 16, 2019

    Thanks for the info on reading on a tablet before bed and the documentation to prove it. Everything you listed describes me! Not sure if I want to give it up but at least I know what causes my issues!!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      I wonder if your tablet has a blue light filter option Patti? Most cell phones do these days and I know that they help to limit the affect that devices have on melatonin production. Might be worth peeking around in your settings? I hope it’s there! Happy my info helped to inform you! Wishing you an awesome week 🙂

  6. Reply

    Eileen M Loya

    May 16, 2019

    Despite my busy schedule, I make sure that I can spare time to read before bed. It is a habit that I had since I was a young child. Reading is liberating!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      That’s so awesome Eileen! I’m really glad you have such an awesome self-care routine and always make that time for yourself. You deserve it :). Enjoy your next book! What are you reading right now?

  7. Reply

    Nicole

    May 16, 2019

    Reading is my favorite form of self care. I love cuddling up with a book, a cozy blanket and a warm cup of tea/coffee. Definitely my happy place! <3

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      That is an awesome happy place Nicole! I’m right there with you :). Getting lost in a good book is serious magic ^^. Enjoy your next read! What kind of books do you like to read?

  8. Reply

    thebossyhouse

    May 16, 2019

    As a mom, it’s tough to read before bed because I’m SO TIRED. I’ve taken to bringing my book with me wherever I go and catching a few pages here and there to keep me going in a book. It feels great to get lost in a book.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      It’s really hard to read when you’re exhausted! I can absolutely understand that. And getting a good sleep is so important. I’m glad you can enjoy a few pages here and there :). When that’s all the time when have that’s ok. It’s still nice to enjoy a minute or two when you have it! Enjoy your next book moment <3

  9. Reply

    artch33

    May 17, 2019

    Although I know these benefits of reading, I really can’t start or continue reading books. :0( The closest thing of reading books for me was reading my textbooks or reading comic books.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      Comic books and textbooks are awesome Artch! That’s totally cool! I’m a huge fan of manga and graphic novels too. And who doesn’t love learning new things? If that’s what you love keep going with it! You’re rocking it :). Reading is reading, whether it be educational or accompanied by awesome art! <3

  10. Reply

    Lia Mae

    May 17, 2019

    I just started reading more and I have noticed I do sleep better and I have dreams which is interesting.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      It’s so cool to hear that first hand! I’m so happy you’ve added this to your self-care routine and are experiencing some of the awesome health benefits. Here’s to cool dreams! xD

  11. Reply

    Bill Sweeney

    May 17, 2019

    I like to read, but, normally it’s when I’m flying, or when I hit the bed. So many positives from reading!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      Those are two awesome times to get lost in a good book Bill! I’m really glad you have this wonderful self-care activity to tap into when you need it. It’s so cool how amazing it can be for our health too. It’s all win ^^

  12. Reply

    Ashley NC

    May 17, 2019

    I love reading! Glad to know that there are health benefits to my favorite past time!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      I\m so happy you enjoy it too Ashley! Tons of goodness to be had ^^. Enjoy your next book :). What kinds of stories do you like to read?

  13. Reply

    Wendy

    May 17, 2019

    I love to read but had no idea it reduces stress by 68 percent that’s huge. I also did not know that it helps reduce Alzheimer’s disease. Thank yoy for the great imformation.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      Right?! I was shocked! That really is huge! Who knew that getting lost in a good book had so much goodness to offer :). Glad you’re as excited as I am ^^

  14. Reply

    Vanessa Delia

    May 17, 2019

    I wish I read more as a kid. I do it all the time now!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      At least you get to enjoy it tons now! I’m really happy you have such a wonderful self-care activity to tap into when you need to <3

  15. Reply

    Jane

    May 17, 2019

    Totally loooved, this post! I am a reader, have always loved the written word especially when the writer is clever with words, and you are! And every thing you say here is the truth about the phenomenal benefits of reading, and you support it with evidence-more power to you! Everyone should read post esp with so many people nowadys not reading as much. Great work you are doing here. As a former teacher, reading is something I whole heartedly believe in. Thank you so much!.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      Awww thank you so much Jane! Your kind words mean the world <3. Thank you tons!

      It really is amazing how wonderful reading is for you. I was so surprised and overjoyed as I researched for this post. I mean, a 68% reduction in stress is pretty flipping amazing! getting lost in a book is totally worth it :).

      I hope you get to enjoy a good read soon! Thank you so much for being such a sweetheart Jane! I am so grateful ^^.

  16. Reply

    Lauren Ash

    May 18, 2019

    This is so important! I definitely don’t read as much as I used to but it helped me with my vocabulary so much growing up!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      I couldn’t agree more! My mom actually got me into Archie comics and Animorphs when I was little for the same reason. It was a huge help! It’s so important that little ones are encouraged to read. It really does help us to grow and learn, in so many ways :). Thanks for sharing your experiences. I’m glad reading was a great thing for you growing up too!

  17. Reply

    Emman Damian

    May 18, 2019

    I’m a total bookworm too! I read a lot of books on my spare time. I really enjoy the smell of the book instead of the ebook. How about you?

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      Oh my goodness, yes! Totally into the real thing! I have 4 book shelves full of goodness. They do smell amazing too. And there’s just something extra magical and beautiful about having books everywhere (in my opinion). I’m glad you think so too Emman! 🙂

  18. Reply

    Konstantina

    May 18, 2019

    I can definitely vouch for that. Reading has helped me a lot with my stress especially before going to sleep. Excellent points.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      Reading is such a beautiful form of self-care! I’m really glad you treat yourself to it too. And that it makes you feel so awesome! You deserve it 🙂

  19. Reply

    Jasmin | Ve Eat Cook Bake

    May 20, 2019

    Even more reasons to read constantly again. Thank you for all your work, Sara. I have to say I read with an ebook reader is this the same with an iPad? Or is an ebook reader better?

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      Awww yay! I’m so happy you have another excuse to enjoy some time with a good book ^^ yay!

      The research I found was for iPads mainly. If the device has a blue light filter that will help to limit it’s effect on your melatonin production. A lot of cell phones have them these days. And while that doesn’t make them perfect, it helps a heck of a lot. I would check your settings and see if that’s an option. I would imagine (and hope) that e-readers would come with them. Let me know :).

      Sending tons of love your way Jasmin! Thank you so much for all of your love and support. Your friendship means the world ^^

  20. Reply

    megforitcom

    May 21, 2019

    I think empathy is the biggest benefit. This is beautiful!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      June 2, 2019

      I think so too Meg! What an incredible thing :). Thank goodness for books!

Share your lovely thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Work With Me - Sponsor mshealthesteem.com
Hiya! I’m Sara

I’m a wellness writer, Graves Disease thriver and self-love advocate.

And I’m passionate about empowering you to prioritize self-care and love yourself fiercely.

Let’s have some fun!

Free Desserts <3