The exact amount of time you need to read per day to boost your brain health

For years, we have been hearing about the inflammation process and the toll it takes on our bodies. When our bodies are out of balance, internal and external functions don’t run as smoothly or don’t run at all.

After a year inside, we are learning more about brain health and optimization than ever before. In fact, reading for 15 minutes a day might just be your new biohacking secret.

Why reading is good for your brain

According to neuroscientist and author of Biohack Your Brain Kristen Willeumier, Ph.D., “The number one thing I think people need to do more of is long-form reading, 15 to 30 minutes of picking up any kind of book. [When] the brain learns, [it] forms these cognitive maps. So the more reading you’re doing as you age will still keep your brain sharp.”

Further research supports this claim as well. As a cognitively demanding task, reading can optimize your brain’s functioning both now, and well into late adulthood. (This is true for additional pastimes that require extended brain function, like photography, writing, and social activities that require many active parts of your brain.)

One study suggests reading will slow cognitive decline as you age for those same reasons, and another indicates that memory function is more expansive later in life in people who engage in regular reading activities.

Did you know that babies learn language through intimate interaction with adults as soon as they are born? We’ve seen the research on playing music and speaking to your baby in utero, but the truth is that reading to them is just as imperative to their development, if not more so.

Reading aloud to your child throughout their life can help them in a multitude of ways, including allowing them to develop active listening habits, teaching empathy for other cultures and circumstances, and opening up a dialogue about anything you happen upon within the pages. Faculty members at the Harvard Graduate School of Education compiled a handy guide to developing your child’s relationship with language.

In fact, recent research suggests that reading works of fiction can dramatically improve your language skills. As a leisure activity, reading is already calming to the brain. (Especially when it’s done without the negative effects of a screen.)

It can be an optimal way to escape the stressors of everyday life and indulge in a fantasy world. This literally lowers stress levels. Knowing something isn’t based on real life – stories that can often be tense, or remind us too much of reality – can help to ease your natural fight or flight response, and open your brain up to enjoy more of the information being presented. 

To get yourself back in balance, we have a few reading suggestions for you. If you haven’t quite decided on a career path, there are a host of reads to indulge in that we would definitely suggest, like Nicholas Lore’s The Pathfinder and Barbara Sher’s Refuse to Choose!