The next time you reach for your phone to grab five minutes of Facebook gossip before bed, you may want to reach for a book instead. Yes, an actual book.
Not only does the light from your phone screen activate your brain, research by Mindlab International at the University of Sussex showed that reading reduced stress by as much as 68 percent. Lead researcher, Dr. David Lewis said “losing yourself in a book is the ultimate in relaxation.” The research found reading lowered subjects heart rates and tension better than taking a stroll, listening to music or drinking a cup of tea.
It takes only 6 minutes.
But what if I don’t have the time or energy to read a book at the end of a long day? Turns out you only need to read for six minutes to reap the stress-reducing benefits. And, couldn’t we all invest six minutes before bed—swept away in the pages of a good book—for better sleep?
Read what you like.
Whether your subject is fan fiction or finance, head to your nearest library and get cracking. As long as you are fully absorbed in your reading material, that’s all that matters. Lewis explains: “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.”
In addition to reducing stress and better sleep, studies show reading can increase your vocabulary, keep your mind sharp and even make you a more empathetic person.
[h/t Business Insider]