Did you know that people who regularly read for pleasure report lower levels of stress and depression?
It’s thought that reading generates stronger feelings of relaxation than watching television or engaging in technology. Therefore, nourishing your inner book worm could help you unlock greater health and wellbeing.
According to The Reading Agency charity, whose mission is to inspire people to read more, reading is proven to be 68% better at reducing stress levels than listening to music; 100% more effective than drinking a cup of tea, and 300% better than going for a walk.
While reading alone can reduce stress, taking part in shared reading groups can be even better. Shared reading activities can be linked to enhanced relaxation, calmness, concentration, quality of life, confidence and self-esteem, as well as feelings of shared community and common purpose.
“We live in a society where more than 9 million adults report feeling always or often lonely, and over a third of over-50s report experiencing loneliness in the UK,” says Sue Wilkinson MBE, who is The Reading Agency’s chief executive.
“The health impact of loneliness has been found to be comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”
The benefits of reading to your kids
“Reading aloud not only nurtures children’s pleasure in reading, it offers them models of how a book should sound and feel, helping them develop expressive reading in their own heads,” says professor Teresa Cremin of The Open University.
“Reading aloud to young children prompts them to listen actively and process more challenging texts and vocabulary than they could possibly achieve on their own.”
Book or tablet?
MedicSpot GP Dr Zubair Ahmed suggests it’s better to read a traditional book before bed than reading from a screen.
“Research has shown that the blue light emitted from the screens of devices can keep you up longer by suppressing your production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness,” says Dr Ahmed.
“By switching these screens off, you should be able to get to sleep quicker and feel more rested when you wake up.”
Check out these Summer reading suggestions from Rare Birds Book Club!
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Tackling everything from race to mental health and bad dates, Queenie Jenkins is the heroine you’ve been waiting for! She’s as refreshing, honest and as candid as it comes.
If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
Fans of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before will love this wonderful rom-com about a woman who stages a fake romance at work to get back at her ex.
The Pact We Made
Set in contemporary Kuwait, this is a fascinating and complex portrait of a woman trying to withstand her family’s pressure to enter an arranged marriage.
Rare Birds Book Club was founded by Edinburgh-based Rachel Wood, who is a passionate advocate for women’s fiction.
Her book subscription service is founded on the simple principle that books should be fun to read and selects only the most interesting stories – with gripping plotlines, amazing heroines, happy-ish endings and, when occasion calls for it, totally smouldering love interests.
To find out more, or to sign up, click here