Reading is used for many reasons such as learning tools and relaxation applications. But its benefits go beyond that. In fact, I am sure many of you may not have been aware that reading helps to reduce stress. How, may you ask?

Parents have been reading books before bedtime to their children for ages. It is not only a useful tool to spend some time with our children but it is very useful to help them fall to sleep. So why haven’t we been doing the same thing for ourselves?

In fact, many do use the time they wind down right before bed as a way to pick up their favorite book or novel and get in a few chapters. But what they didn’t probably know is that reading before bed actually has some health benefits.

Reading Helps You Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, reading helps to reduce stress and can actually prepare your body for bedtime by separating your mind from the daily stresses.  Winding down before bed helps you to fall asleep faster. So grabbing a book before bed is a much better option than grabbing your smartphone. Reading can also lower your heart rate and relieve muscle tension which is another way to help your body relax and make it easier to fall asleep.


It Reduces Your Cortisol Levels

Cortisol on its own is not bad, is our bodies natural response to fear or stress. However, chronic stress can cause high levels of cortisol. Overexposure to cortisol in our systems can lead to heart problems such as;

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory and concentration impairment


Reading Reduces Stress

Reading can lower levels of cortisol which reduces stress. When our body has low cortisol levels, our sleep can be improved. So just like exercise reading provides the same benefits to our body. It is the fastest way to help your body relax and according to research, the effects are even quicker than listening to music, going for a walk, or drinking a cup of tea.


Reading Can Make You Smarter

We have been told to read to our babies and read to our children for the same reason – it improves their ability to learn. Well, that benefit doesn’t have to stop with our children.

Reading improves your vocabulary by making you want to look up words you don’t know the meaning of. Thus, you not only learn the meaning of these new words you learn how different ways to use them in your speech. It also improves your communication skills by teaching you new ways to use those vocabulary words you are exposed to. Reading takes a lot of focus, so the more you read the better your ability to concentrate becomes.


Reading is an easy way to reduce stress. It is much easier to access than your local spa and it works faster than music. As a mother, it is not always easy to find time to yourself, but what better way to wind down in bed than with a romantic novel (or whatever you prefer).

Reading is a way to escape mentally. Pick something you enjoy, immerse yourself in it, and take time to enjoy it. The idea is to relieve stress not add it.

Reading has many benefits to both your mental function and the improvement of your sleep. Not only is it a great choice for yourself to wind down and relieve stress it is a great bonding tool for your children. So continue to read those books to your kids before bed and don’t forget to read one to yourself too.

If you read as a way to relieve stress I would love to hear about it below. If you have any questions or would like to leave feedback, please feel free to do so.

12 thoughts on “Reading Helps to Reduce Stress”

  1. Thanks for this post,

    It seems like we all spend way too much time on the computer.

    I believe if we took to a book once in a while we would reap the benefits as your post suggests.


    1. Yes, electronics may be useful in getting our everyday task done but we can’t forget about our health. The old fashion way of pulling out a book is very beneficial to us. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. Hi Melissa and thank you for the article! I agree that reading is a great stress reliever and that we should always be reading to our children and grandchildren as well as OURSELVES! Thank you for pointing that out and reminding us that we are just as important and must take care of our own needs as well as the ones we love so dearly. :o) Thanks again.

    1. Hi Paula,
      Amazing how we teach ourselves to take care of everyone but can forget about ourselves. You are so welcome, I am glad the post brought you some benefit and I thank you for your comment!

  3. Wow, I didn’t even know that! I read a lot but rarely before going to bed because it puts me to sleep lol
    Well, now I know why! Thanks for the insight!

    1. Hi Daniel,
      Good for you! At least you know you are doing something wonderful by reading and now you don’t have to feel bad for falling asleep when you read, lol! 🙂

  4. Hi Melissa
    Great article – stress is a big killer in our modern world and I think we all take a ‘page out your book’ (sorry, couldn’t help myself with the pun…) and read more. is fantastic for the mind.

    1. Hi Ian,
      Lol! I hope reading won’t get lost to all the electronic devices. Even my children’s school are giving all the kids chromebooks and replacing some of the textbooks. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  5. Hi Melissa,
    I do concur that reading can help you to sleep. I guess it is because it distracts your mind from something that’s bothering you, and calms you down. I use my ebook reader to read nowadays. The small wordings on physical books or novels are just too much for my old eyes. 🙂

    1. Hi Alex,
      Yes, and I agree! Reading is a great way to escape from all your problems by taking your mind off of them. I like audio books myself but you don’t get the same benefits. Thanks for the comment!

  6. Hi, Melissa!
    For me, reading was always a way to relieve stress. It is a great way to explore other places and forget about stress. I love to read.
    It’s amazing to know that just 6 minutes of reading reduce stress levels by up to 68 %. I wrote an article about reading as a way to reduce stress.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Reading is one of the quickest ways to escape the stresses of everyday life, it is amazing how little time spent can reduce so much stress. Thanks for your comment!

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