For many adults, the fond memories of pulling back the covers, crawling into bed, and listening to their mother or father read them a bedtime story or two, is nothing but a distant recollection.
Unfortunately, our pre-bedtime routines now consist of checking e-mail inboxes, answering forgotten texts, or turning on distractions like Netflix, YouTube, and late night television rather than delving deep into an unknown world filled with delightful characters.
Now, whether this is because you are an adult with a hectic lifestyle, one with your own little children, or one that never really found your way back to those paperback tales of intrigue, mystery, wonder, and magic, doesn’t mean that you can’t reap the benefits that bedtime stories have to offer.
In this article, we will explore the age-old tradition of reading before bed and delve into how it positively affects the brain and thus, why adults should incorporate bedtime stories into their nightly rituals. No, we don’t just mean reading for your children either, although that’s a great place to start. We want you to read for you and here is why.
Eight Positive Effects of Reading Fictional Work
1. You Will Be Able to Reduce Your Stress Levels and Sleep Better as a Result
When we crack open a book and truly find ourselves lost within its pages, we transport ourselves to another plane of consciousness which helps us lose ourselves within the tale and the characters we meet.
No matter how much stress you are going through and regardless of its source, the tension and worry that it causes gets melted away because your brain gets pushed to somewhere else. Reading requires your full attention which leaves your brain very little room to ponder and dwell on the negatives of the day.
Beyond this, reading allows your muscles to relax, it slows down your breathing, and it allows you to feel calmer. So much so, that according to a study highlighted by the Telegraph, reading works the best as opposed to listening to music, drinking tea, or even taking a walk.
2. You Increase Your Brain Power via Stimulation
Although it can be very easy to forget, your brain is indeed a muscle, and like all other muscles in your body, it needs to be worked out in order to stay healthy. When you read, you not only process the words and enhance your vocabulary, but you may need to also profess images.
During the reading process, your brain uses language, vision, and associative learning-connect which is a neural circuit unit within the brain. The benefit to this is that the exposure you gain to the language used within the book will provide you subtly increase your ability to articulate well-spoken thoughts.
This can provide you with a boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and make you more knowledgeable about a wide variety of topics. In addition to this, those who are actively reading and solving logic puzzles are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, which often is linked to those who have limited to low brain activity.
3. You Will Broaden Your Mind and Boost Creativity
One of the amazing benefits of reading books comes with the ability to accept, understand, and envision perspectives that are different from your own. When our favorite characters are faced with dilemmas and choices that we agree or disagree with, it causes us to use our brain to creatively and analytically think through their fictional actions. In practicing our abstract reasoning abilities, we broaden our mind and our capability to be creative in our solutions and viewpoints.
4. You Will Strengthen Your Critical Thinking Skills
Although this typically occurs more often with mystery and thriller type novels, if a book or tale requires you to follow clues, unravel complicated plots, or conclude from loose plot ends, then your critical thinking skills are being put to work. By taking in all the details that a book provides us and sorting them out into a plausible outline or narrative flow, we sharpen our analytical skills. Another way of doing this is by critiquing the plot line of the novel and discussing the book with others.
5. Your Concentration & Memory Power Increases
In our modern-day world, our devices are always connected to the internet and our attention is always being drawn to one thing or another, so much so, that we are constantly multi-tasking. We are asked to divide our time between checking e-mail, interacting with co-workers, keeping an eye on social media, and working on our tasks, that our stress levels rise, and our productivity levels decrease.
Reading takes us away from this and allows us to re-learn and re-focus on what is important: concentrating on one thing at a time. With regards to your memory, needing to remember characters, sub-plots, story arcs, and various nuances within the text causes us to forge new synapses (brain pathways) in order to recall these details. This, in turn, assists us in strengthening our short-term memory recall.
6. You Become More Empathetic
Those who are empathetic can understand, relate to, and share the feelings of another. If you have ever witnessed your favorite character making a bad decision, hurting themselves, or having their heart broken, and it has caused you to tear up, get angry, or feel any type of emotion towards them, you are being empathetic.
In understanding and seeing the different viewpoints, experiences, and emotion that our characters express, we can hone-in on our empathetic skills and then take this knowledge into the real world to become more empathetic of others.
7. You Create an Environment of Calm
One of the major benefits of reading a book before bedtime is that it ensures you are winding down in a peaceful manner. Rather than placing a violent drama television show on or reading the depressing headlines of the news, jumping into a book ensures that your mind can wind down and get ready for sleep. It also takes your eyes away from the blue light of computer screens and tablets which often inhibit sleep and cause eye strain.
8. You’ll Get to Read More Books!
If you are someone who wants to read more books but has a really hard time sitting down for more than 15-20 minutes in a day, using a nighttime reading routine may help you get in the reading time that you want.
In dedicating time for books specifically, you’ll feel good knowing that you will get to chip away at your book pile, fall in love with new stories and characters, and become more intelligent and healthier in the process.
READING IS A UNIVERSAL ENJOYMENT
All in all, reading books at bedtime isn’t just for parents and their children, but is a great way for adults to replenish their souls, wind down for the night, and release the stress that you have experienced from the day.
Plus, if it helps you sleep better at night, you’ll end up having a much better day in the process, which can lead to a healthier and happier lifestyle. So, crack open a paperback or a hardcover copy of your favorite books at night and watch as the magic of the worlds you enter, positively change, alter, and benefit your current reality.
After all, every tale has a little bit of magic, mystery, and intrigue, and every page turn has a new way to broaden your mind.