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13 Scientific Health Benefits of Reading Books

13 Scientific Health Benefits of Reading Books

Aug. 9th, 2022

Ever got hooked on a good book? Reading is a relaxing activity you can do almost anywhere, whether you’re at home, a café, on an airplane, or at the beach.

There are scientifically proven benefits of reading that you can get from picking up a book. Here are 13 physical and psychological benefits of reading.

Expands Your Vocabulary

When you read, you use the words on the page to understand the contextual meaning of what is written. Over time, you will be exposed to new words and their meanings while reading different books. You’ll naturally become accustomed to those words and their sentence use, which will expand your vocabulary.

Improves Your Knowledge

When you read, you learn about different people, places, and cultures. Reading can be a great way to expand your knowledge because it gives you the opportunity to learn things you may have not known.

Improves Focus and Concentration

Reading utilizes your prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that controls your concentration and attention. When you read, the brain utilizes regions that center on focus to interpret the words, making reading a great way to improve your concentration over time.1

Relieve Stress

Reading has been proven to relieve stress because it can help you relax and refocus your mind on a new topic. A study in 2009 found that reading was more relaxing than other forms of relaxation and can reduce stress by 68%.2

Lower Blood Pressure

Relaxing activities are proven to lower blood pressure because you can reduce your stress levels. As a result, you will have lower blood pressure after practicing calming activities. Reading is an activity that can help you relax your body and avoid high blood pressure.

Prevents Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Research shows that activities that mentally stimulate the mind, such as reading, can protect against conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. About 33% of the brain analyzes visual information, and studies show that older adults who participate in cognitive activity throughout their life are less likely to experience mental decline.3

Helps you Sleep Better

Reading is a great activity to do before bedtime because it can calm your brain. A sleep study found that 42% of people who read a book before bedtime felt their sleep improved.4 One reason why reading before bed might improve sleep is it can help minimize exposure to blue light, which is the light emitted from your electronics that can mess with the circadian rhythm’s day-night cycle.

Longer Life

An interesting study from Yale University found that those who read books lived for an average of two years longer than those who didn’t read at all. Reading can keep your brain healthy and strong by keeping it active, which might be one correlation to why those who read live longer.5

Expands Emotional Intelligence

Some studies link reading to an improvement in understanding human connections and emotions.6 One study found that literary fiction helped improve emotional intelligence more than popular fiction or nonfiction. Books can help open your mind to learning about different types of people and gives you the opportunity to learn how to be more empathetic towards them.

Improves Analytical Skills

As you read, you will critically think about the story and the plotline, which will allow you to exercise your analytical skills. Many books have deeper messages in them that are meant for the reader to think about after they’re done with the book. Other genres, such as mystery novels, will give hints to allow the reader to analyze and solve what is happening in the story.

Improved Writing Skills

If you enjoy writing, reading is one way to get better at it. Frequent reading can help you better understand how sentences are put together and gives you a chance to study how the author presents information. You can also analyze different literary works to see how they use symbolism and develop their characters to improve your writing.

Promotes Problem Solving

Reading is a great way to help improve problem solving. Many books will offer knowledge and information that you may have not thought of before that you can apply to your daily life. Reading can also give you a break from your current problems and allow you to come back with a fresh mindset.

Expands Imagination

When you read, you use your brain to imagine the visuals, characters, scents, and sounds. Reading can take you to new worlds you never knew existed and allows you to expand your imagination because you can meet characters from places different than earth.

Other Reasons to Consider Adding Books to Your Day

Here are some other reasons you should consider reading:

  • It’s free and cheap. Books are available now more than ever, with libraries available in many communities across the United States. Finding access to books is free and easy. Some libraries now offer options where you can rent books digitally on your computer, phone, or e-reader.
  • Discover new authors. There are many people out there who want to share their stories and ideas. Reading will allow you to explore someone else’s thoughts.
  • It’s fun. Reading is fun because you can explore characters, places, and ideas you may have never thought of before. Reading can be a good escape for a few hours each day.
  • It’s great for a rainy day. If you’re stuck at home because it’s raining outside, reading can be a great way to productively spend the day. This can be one way you can find some time to read when you aren’t planning to go out anywhere.
  • Improved academics. Those who read are better able to critically think, analyze information, and research. If you want to go back to school (or are currently enrolled in classes), regular reading can improve your academic performance.

Read a Book Today!

Today, we encourage you to start reading a novel to enjoy some of the scientifically proven health benefits of reading. Whether you enjoy fiction or nonfiction, reading books can help improve your quality of life!

Here at Saber Healthcare, our Life Enrichment departments work to help our residents enjoy various activities at the buildings we offer services in. To learn more about Saber Healthcare and the services we offer, click here.

Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long-term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.


  1. “Can Reading Improve Your Focus? Here’s What You Should Know!” The Book Buff. Accessed 8 August 2022. Link:,%2C%20attention%20span%2C%20and%20memory
  2. “Reading for Stress Relief.” University of Michigan, Taking Challenge of Your Health & Wellbeing. Accessed 8 August 2022. Link:
  3. Lopez, Jacob. “How Reading Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease.” Braintest. Link:
  4. Finucane, E., O’Brien, A., Treweek, S. et al. Does reading a book in bed make a difference to sleep in comparison to not reading a book in bed? The People’s Trial—an online, pragmatic, randomised trial. Trials 22, 873 (2021). Link:
  5. Avni Bavishi, Martin D. Slade, Becca R. Levy, A chapter a day: Association of book reading with longevity, Social Science & Medicine, Volume 164, 2016, Pages 44-48, ISSN 0277-9536, (
  6. “How Reading Increases Your Emotional Intelligence & Brain Function: The Findings of Recent Scientific Studies.” Open Culture. Accessed 8 August 2021. Link: