It may be a little uncomfortable to talk about the time we spend on the toilet. For many of us, those intimate moments are completely private — we’re not super thrilled about the idea of getting into our business about “doing our business.”
But in an Internet age, there’s one habit a lot of us have taken up while we wait for a bowel movement, and it’s high time we talk about it.
When we head to the loo, a good chunk of us take our cell phones with us so we can either read or play as we sit. And a bunch of doctors in Israel decided that we needed to understand how this practice impacts our health.
They suspected that it might have a positive outcome — they hypothesized that reading during toilet time “provides a distraction and acts as an unconscious relaxation technique and allows an easier defecation process.” But they were wrong.
First, let’s take a glance at the numbers. According to their research, 52.7% of the population takes part in toilet reading, and in Israel, men, younger adults, white collar workers, secular people and those with a higher education were more inclined toward the habit.
But alas — the practice does not make us more prone to go to the bathroom! Researchers found that “although toilet readers spent significantly more time in the toilets, no differences were noted for the type or frequency of stools.” Meanwhile, toilet readers had more hemorrhoids (ouch!), though not by a significant margin.
“Toilet reading is a common and benign habit,” the authors wrote. “It is involved with a longer time spent in the toilet. It seems to be more for fun and not necessarily to solve or due to medical problems.”
So go ahead — sit on that toilet and read. It’s not going to hurt you all that much, though you’re likely to waste a little time as you play Candy Crush.