Does Reading Improve Memory?
Reading is an important exercise for the brain that helps in improving memory by creating new neurons. It also helps strengthen the neuron connections inside the brain, making it easy to remember and retain information. Most importantly, it helps an individual concentrate, decreasing their stress levels.
For many people, reading has only been reduced to occasional clicking on social media articles, reading GPS directions, and going through bills. However, regular reading can help improve memory, according to scientific research.
This post will discuss how reading can benefit your memory and help in mental stimulation.
Stick with us and read on.
How does reading improve memory?
Reading improves memory because it stimulates and exercises the brain. It also accelerates the formation of new connections and neurons. And when reading, the distraction can help alleviate the symptoms of stress. Reading is also known to reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimers.
Let’s dive deeper into the correlation between reading and memory.
1. Reading is an exercise of the brain
Reading helps in improving memory by increasing mental stimulation and allowing new neurons to be produced in the brain. The more one reads, the easier it becomes to recall certain things. This is because reading exercises the brain.
Reading is also essential in decreasing stress and improving concentration levels. This may be because reading allows the individual to concentrate only on the book or article without worrying about external situations.
When you read, your brain gets a neural workout since reading is more demanding than processing speech or images.
2. Reading helps in strengthening the connections in the brain
Upon reading, new connections are formed in the brain, which helps in improving memory. It creates long-term changes within the bilateral somatosensory cortex, which is the brain’s part responsible for processing sensory information.
According to a study in 2013, reading a novel helped improve communications between the brain parts controlling language processing.
Reading is also known for initiating the process of neurogenesis by which new neurons are formed in the brain.
Neurons refer to cells in the brain that transmit information and send messages between different parts of the brain.
3. Reading helps in avoiding age-related cognitive decline
Cognition refers to the ability to make judgments, remember things, and learn them. Memory and attention are the aspects of cognitive functioning, which are very likely to get affected with increasing age.
A 14-year study released in 2020 found that people who read once or more every week were less likely to get cognitive decline across 6-year and 14-year intervals.
The study found that after 14 years, older people who read often had less risk of cognitive decline when compared to those who read lesser.
Reading is often connected with dementia. A study in 2018 in China involved tracking people aged 65 and above. The study continued for five years. At the end of the study, the researchers found that participation in intellectual tasks, such as reading, was often connected with a decreased risk of dementia.
Dementia is a very well-known disease, causing people to lose their ability to read and focus with age. Those who experience dementia get easily fatigued. However, reading is known to help people significantly avoid the onset of dementia.
Another study that followed people aged 30-64 years until they were 66 to 68 years supports that reading reduces the risk of cognitive decline.
The study found that people who read, do art, music, and other stimulating activities in their mid-life age maintain their cognition despite what they do in their late life.
4. Reading reduces stress levels
According to different research data, reading for only 30 minutes can help reduce the emotional and physical signs of stress. This is because reading improves concentration levels.
The study found that students who read news articles for at least 30 minutes had decreasing physical markers of stress, such as blood pressure and heart rate, compared to when they started reading. They also had decreasing scores when the stress surveys were conducted.
Accordingly, the study stated that reading neutral content or material that does not cause strong emotions is very relaxing. It reduces the nervous system’s arousal that manages the body’s response to stressful situations. Although news might not be relaxing for everyone, one can always opt for short stories, novels, or other articles.
People are more likely to remember information and keep track of different things with decreasing stress. In this way, reading improves memory.
5. Reading helps create a mental map
Our minds construct a mental map of whatever is written when we read. The mental map proves to be beneficial in processing words that we are reading and, eventually, helping in knowledge, memory, and recall.
According to a study in 2013, people who took part in mentally challenging activities, such as writing and reading, had a low rate of memory decline in early and late-life.
Tips for improving memory through reading
When it comes to improving memory, it’s not just about reading random articles. It is important that reading is done in the right way to promote brain health.
It’s recommended to set at least half an hour or one hour for reading at the time when you think is the most productive. This is when you’re more likely to focus on reading.
One can also keep a book when commuting to work or traveling. In this way, you’ll be able to kill time productively.
If you’re interested in the news, you can also read the news every morning. Reading books on the topics you are interested in can also prove beneficial.
On the other hand, if reading seems very boring, you can also start picking up books with movie versions. In this way, you will compare both the books and movies.
But regardless of whatever book or reading material you pick, you must be patient because every skill, including reading, requires time to develop.
You can even do an online course that can help you improve your memory by covering practical techniques. Iris Reading offers a 90-minute course on how to remember and memorize key information. It is ideal for both professionals and students who want to improve their memory skills.
Attendees can even get a certificate of completion once they have completed the course. Once you buy it, you get lifetime access to take the course anytime you want.
Other tips that are effective in improving memory include:
- Choose a quiet spot to read where you can relax
- Make sure you’re not reading way too fast that you don’t understand anything
- Use a highlighter to mark key information so that you can revise your notes
- Try reading daily and often. In this way, you’ll be able to maintain a habit of reading
Reading is an entertaining activity that many people do out of love for books. But reading can also prove to be a beneficial exercise, as it improves memory and boosts cognitive functioning. Reading can also help prevent dementia because it promotes intellectual capacity.