Do you remember the days you were a kid, falling asleep to your parents reading you a bedtime story? Well, it turns out immersing yourself in a good book actually has benefits that can improve your entire life! As tempting as it is in current time to constantly scroll through the latest news updates or to turn on the TV when you get a moment of down time, here are four reasons you should abandon those habits and pick up a book instead.

Reading has been proven to reduce stress, which improves your quality of sleep. In fact, a study done by the National Sleep Foundation determined that a nighttime reading ritual can help relax your body and prepare your body for a restful night of sleep!

Reading is a beneficial mental exercise. People who spend more time with their nose in a book perform better in cognitive function tests, have higher-level vocabulary skills, and according to Northern Illinois University, test higher in generalized knowledge. Working your brain muscles through reading has also shown to be helpful in lowering your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, so the National Institute on Aging recommends adults read regularly!

Reading improves your ability to empathize. As our world becomes more polarized, reading might just be what we all need to come together again. If you read literary fiction before bed, you’re more likely to understand others’ emotions and mental processes, improving the way you interact with others, and improving the quality of the relationships you develop.

Reading improves your ability to focus. Our smartphones are turning us into creatures who need everything done quickly, are easily distracted, and multitask five different things within five minutes. But when you take the time to read on a regular basis, you will gain practice in focusing on one story, doing one activity for an extended period of time, which can also carry over to other areas of your life!

Have you been hitting your 2020 reading goals? Let me know in the comments!