Fiction or non-fiction, sometimes there’s nothing better than relaxing with a book to pass the time. But as well as being a popular hobby and a great way to spark our imagination and creativity, reading can also help boost your mental and physical wellbeing.
In the UK, 74 per cent of people have felt so stressed they’ve become overwhelmed or unable to cope, highlighting the severity of stress as a mental health condition.1 However, did you know that reading can help reduce stress by almost 70 per cent? According to a study by the University of Sussex, it’s a more efficient way to reduce stress than going for a walk or listening to music, and reading for just six minutes a day can lessen the heart rate and reduce any muscle tension.2
In the digital era of smartphones, it’s easy to sit staring at your phone screen before going to sleep. However, research has found that looking at your phone before going to bed can hamper your night’s sleep.3
So rather than looking into the glare of your smartphone, reading a book offers a better alternative to your digital pre-bedtime ritual, giving you the chance of an improved sleep. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation recommends setting up a bedtime routine to have a better quality sleep, with reading being one of its top tips to help you wind down.
Help slow cognitive disease
As we age, our brains begin to slow down and we struggle to remember everyday things – however studies have found that reading can reduce the impact of this.
In research undertaken by the University of Chicago, it was found those who have engaged in tasks such as reading at a young age and carried on reading into their later life were less likely to show signs of cognitive decline.4
Bolster brain function and performance
As well as helping to improve memory, reading can also assist in enhancing our brain function and performance. A recent study on the benefits to the brain of reading fiction books, found that there is correlation between reading and an improved level of brain connectivity.5
Improve focus and concentration
In all aspects of life, having high levels of focus and concentration is key. However, reports suggest we are adopting more attention deficit disorder-like behavioural traits due to the fast-paced nature of emails, social media and instant messaging.6
When you read a book, concentration levels can be improved as all your attention is focussed on the story. Why not try reading for 15 minutes on your morning commute to work, you might be surprised how much more focussed you are when you get to the office!
To find out more about how Sovereign can help you look after your everyday health and wellbeing, visit sovereignhealthcare.co.uk/good-all-round1 Mental Health Foundation
2 The Telegraph
3 Science Direct
5 Psycology Today
6 Life Hacks