As the semester starts to wind down with stress-filled weeks leading up to finals, de-stress by cracking open … a book. That’s right. Spending your downtime with a good book has many benefits that can help you relax and improve your brain functions. Here’s VALLEY’s insight on why you should become a bookworm this semester.
Sitting down with a book is often not the go-to way to de-stress after a long day, week or even month of college, but reading a book has proven to be one of the best ways to unwind. According to a study conducted by the University of Sussex, reading reduced stress levels by 68 percent compared to other activities such as listening to music or playing video games. Dr. David Lewis, a cognitive neuropsychologist who led the study, says, “By losing yourself in a throughly engrossing book, you can escape from the worries and stress of the everyday world.”
Reading improves all sorts of things such as vocabulary, knowledge and creativity. Reading can also improve things such as your ability to focus. A 2013 study conducted by the Rush University Medical Center, found that reading improves brain functioning, which can help keep your mind stimulated. Increasing your ability to focus and stay sharp is a great way to help stay on top of your homework or even ace an exam!
Along with improving brain functions, reading helps you fall asleep. By replacing a book with your phone at night, you avoid blue light, which according to an article from Harvard Health Publishing, disrupts sleep by boosting attention, reaction time and mood. Making reading a part of your nighttime routine helps you wind down with a calming activity and reminds your brain that it’s time for bed.
Picking up a book and diving into the world of a bookworm can be pretty intimidating, especially if you’re not an avid reader, so start small. Here’s a few tips and tricks to becoming a better reader:
- Make a list. Finding five or 10 books that interested you or you think you might want to read will inspire and motivate you to start reading one.
- Read for 15 minutes. Spending 15 minutes before class or right before you go to bed catching up on a new book can help ease you into the habit of reading.
- Find what you love. Dabble in different genres by taste-testing different books from the library. Rent different types of books until you find a genre or author you enjoy.
- Invite a friend. If you and your friend are both looking to de-stress, find a book you’d both enjoy and start reading at the same time. It’s not only something new and fun to talk about, but it’s also a great way to relax.
- Unplug. Prioritize designated reading time by turning off your phone or laptop for a distraction-free read.
Try it for yourself. Sit down with a good book, and see how becoming a bookworm can help you become a better you.