From novels and classics to comics and biographies, reading has always been an enjoyable activity for people of all ages. Reading comes with a myriad of benefits, such as improving decision-making and keeping the brain active. However, not much is known about the importance of reading for seniors’ physical and mental health.
The benefits of reading for seniors include improved quality of sleep and prevention of old-age ailments. Find out more about the advantages of reading for seniors, and learn why this simple activity can boost your health in the long run.
Boosts Sleep Quality
As we age, we often encounter health problems such as stress and anxiety, or aches and pains all over the body that may cause us to struggle with falling asleep during bedtime. Medical professionals have recommended reading before bedtime to help the body and mind to wind down and relax so it’s easier to drift off to sleep.
They have also suggested reading paperbacks as opposed to reading e-books on devices like the tablet or smartphone as the blue light that’s emitted from these devices will affect the body’s circadian rhythm and make us feel alert instead of sleepy.
Provides Opportunities for Socialization
Whenever we come across a good book, we are likely to share about the books that we have been reading with the people around us. When we become engaged in a conversation that discusses our current reads, we are given the opportunity to discuss plot twists or characterization with others. As such, reading can increase social interactions among people.
Attending book club meetings to discuss books that we have read can also widen our social circle and help us to meet like-minded people. When we are connected to the people around us, we can overcome feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Prevents Ailments of Old Age
Among the common illnesses that affect seniors, dementia is among the few that can negatively impact the quality of our lives. According to a 2018 study by JAMA Psychiatry, adopting the habit of reading has been shown to reduce the risk of developing dementia among readers. On top of that, reading has also been found to improve the brain’s cognitive functions and protect it from mental decline associated with aging.
Reading Is a Mood Booster
Reading is also known to boost the mood of the reader, and this is especially so among older adults. As we enter the age of retirement, we may not be able to find activities that can sustain our interests or allow us to spend our time productively. Do you know that reading is considered a productive activity as it leads to high brain activity and knowledge gain? At the same time, completing a book will usually leave us feeling satisfied. This feeling of satisfaction, when experienced on a regular basis, will, in turn, bring about a positive impact on our mental health.
If you are not someone who reads regularly, you should begin forming a reading habit right away! Although it may not be easy at the start, do persevere as you’ll soon be able to reap the benefits of reading at the day’s end.