Reading is an amazing pass-time activity or can be a great tool for self-development. Whether you’re reading for entertainment purposes or studying to acquire a new skill or to gather information about a certain topic, your time is very well-spent when reading.
Luckily, experts have determined that we can take advantage of the benefits of reading even after a short 20 minute reading session. If you’re asking yourself “what are the benefits of reading 20 minutes a day?” or simply “why read 20 minutes a day?”, you’re in the right place.
We did the research and compiled a list of the most important benefits of reading 20 minutes a day and added a couple of tips on how you can start including this healthy habit in your daily schedule.
What are the benefits of reading 20 minutes a day?
First, let’s put things in perspective.
- One episode of your favorite show on Netflix is likely to be 30 minutes or more
- The average American spends 7 hours and 4 minutes looking at a screen every day
- Commuting to work takes the average American over 27 minutes (one way)
- The average American spends 37 minutes every day cooking
These statistics, in this context, have the sole purpose of proving what an insignificant amount of time 20 minutes represents in our day-to-day lives.
So why read 20 minutes a day? Well, for one thing, because it’s incredibly easy and it takes a very small portion of your day.
1. By reading 20 minutes a day, you expose yourself to 1.8 million words in a year
When you dedicate only 20 minutes of your time to reading every day, it is estimated that you will get exposed to 1.8 million words yearly leading to increased general knowledge, communication and analytical skills, and you will obviously enrich your vocabulary substantially.
That may not seem like a big deal for you, but it actually is. Regardless of our age, being exposed to written content is very important, and enriching our vocabulary has a ton of benefits by itself.
If for us, as adults, being exposed to 1.8 million words in a year is important, you should also take into account what that does to a child’s mind. At a young age, our brains are like sponges, absorbing all the information we provide it with. Reading just 20 minutes a day can work wonders in shaping young minds. The next point is a testament to that.
2. Reading can relieve stress by 68% in a lot less than 20 minutes
Studies show that reading every day can reduce the level of stress that your body may experience. Stress is termed to be great in the short term as it pushes people to greater heights, but it is detrimental to our lives when prolonged.
When you spend at least 20 minutes reading, you ultimately reduce your stress, anxiety, and the chances of suffering from insomnia. It has been proven that only 6 minutes of reading can reduce stress by 68%. Imagine what you can achieve in twenty.
3. Taking 20 minutes to read every day can boost mental health
Reading has many health benefits, but since most of the magic happens in your brain, it’s only natural that your brain benefits the most from reading.
Researchers have shown through MRI scans that reading is achieved, from an anatomical point of view, through a complex neuronal network. The circuits and signals are a sign of intense brain activity, which, in time, strengthens our brains.
We all know by now that our brain is like a muscle, and a 20 minutes reading session per day is a great workout, similar to cardio training.
4. Reading slows down mental decline in late stages of life
Studies have shown that reading has a positive effect on slowing down mental decline as we get older. When we reach a certain age, our brains start to deteriorate. While this is inevitable, the rate at which the deterioration occurs can be influenced by a series of factors.
One of them has to do with how engaged we keep our brains on a daily basis. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have been proven to be avoided or at least delayed through the simple act of reading.
While a specific amount of time spent reading per day hasn’t been included in the studies, the general consensus is that daily reading sessions lasting 20 minutes or more could be a good enough workout for our brains to delay mental decline.
5. Reading 20 minutes before bed can alleviate insomnia
Sleep is a very crucial factor that determines many aspects of our health, both physical and mental. Not being able to sleep, or having an inefficient sleep can have a negative impact on our well-being.
Luckily, simply reading before going to bed has been found to be a very effective way of falling asleep faster and achieving a more restful night’s sleep. Statistics show that reading before bed, even if just for 20 minutes, can have a lot of benefits.
6. Become a more empathetic person through 20 minutes of reading a day
Another well known and documented benefit of reading is the fact that both children and adults who read have higher levels of empathy and emotional intelligence.
In a world that is becoming more technical by the day and with so many of our peers closing up and hiding behind their phone screens, emotional intelligence is becoming a more and more valuable personality trait.
Luckily, among the many other things that determine the importance of reading 20 minutes a day is also the fact that perusing a good book can basically make us better human beings altogether.
By exposing our minds (or our child’s mind) to different life stories, the feelings and thoughts of different characters and discovering how those feelings and thoughts influence their actions in a book, makes it easier for us in the long run to understand other people’s feelings in real life.
Since 20 minutes of reading per day equates to 1.8 million words in a year, we can easily average that out to 18 books read in a year (100,000 words per book). That is 18 different stories to learn from. If you started reading at the age of 7, that means you will have read close to 600 books by the time you’re 40. We need more of that in our world.
Hopefully, these reading 20 minutes a day statistics have helped you decide to start doing it as well. If this sounds like you, this next section will fit you like a glove.
7. Children who read 20 minutes a day score in the 90th percentile
Children who take their time and read for approximately twenty minutes daily are exposed to a large number of books and stories throughout the year, improving their understanding and analytical skills while also enriching their vocabulary and shaping their personalities.
This has been shown to eventually result in them scoring in the 90th percentile which depicts increased academic performance. Considering the decreasing school performance of children all around the world due to the constantly increasing time spent on social media platforms and gaming, getting your child to read for just twenty minutes every day can make a huge difference.
How to start reading 20 minutes per day?
Now that you know the most important benefits of reading 20 minutes a day, you are probably wondering how to start doing it and how to integrate this incredibly healthy benefit into your routine.
Well, let’s see.
1. Get your motivation straight
We told you why you should read 20 minutes a day. Now it’s your turn to choose the most important benefit and make it your main motivator for starting your journey towards your 20 minutes per day reading goal.
What’s more important to you? Being less stressed, sleeping better, enriching your vocabulary, becoming more empathetic? Take your pick and imagine yourself becoming exactly that. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it? That is your motivation right there. Now let’s make it a reality.
Setting yourself a goal is great, but what if I told you it shouldn’t be just a goal you set in your mind? Reading tracking apps can be a great tool which can help tremendously by making your goals visible and easily trackable.
The Basmo app for example makes it incredibly easy for its users to set goals, visualize them and ultimately achieve them.
For starters, the app allows you to set daily goals for reading sessions. Whether you choose to start small, with 10-15 minute sessions and increase the session length progressively or you want to start directly at your goal, Basmo will help you.
To set your goal, simply follow the steps below:
- Open the app.
- Tap on the Goals section on the bottom of the screen.
- Tap on Adjust goal and set your preferred session length in minutes.
- Tap on Done and your daily reading goal is saved.
Similarly, lower on the same screen, you can set yourself a yearly goal for the number of books you want to read.
On top of this, the app will hold you accountable for maintaining your reading habits through daily reminders, weekly reports and showing your reading streak to keep you motivated.
2. Make a list of books you always wanted to read
We all have a couple of books that we wanted to read throughout the years but never got around to actually do it. Now is the time to remember all or at least some of them and put them all on a list.
Having a to-read list can work wonders when it comes to turning your plans into reality. On top of this, you know for sure that you will always be excited about your upcoming reading session if your reading list is made up of titles you’re going to enjoy perusing.
While it’s not difficult anyway, actually compiling the list can be an even more simple task if you use a reading app.
Let’s take Basmo for example, it allows you to create a reading list in just a couple of taps.
- Open the Basmo app.
- Scroll down until you reach the Book collections part.
- Tap the Want to read section.
- Tap the + Add book button and start adding any book that sparks your interest. You will likely find what you’re looking for and you will be able to add it to your list
3. Make a schedule
Having a schedule is usually underrated or completely overlooked by most of us. While it is also a healthy habit for all our activities in our day-to-day lives, when it comes to creating a reading routine and sticking to it, having a schedule is essential.
First, analyze your days for a bit. Try to figure out when you have a bit more free time. Maybe you wake up really early and you manage to squeeze in a reading session before leaving for work. Alternatively, you can do the same in the evening if your daily routine allows it.
What’s most important is to pick a part of the day and stick with it. If you want to start this routine of reading 20 minutes per day, you need to treat it seriously. A clear and definitive schedule will solidify that and will integrate reading into your daily routine for the long run.
Making a schedule is simple enough, but sticking to it may turn out to be a challenge. To help with that, reading apps have integrated functionalities to help you achieve your goals and stick to your schedule.
Basmo can be used to create your reading schedule and to set yourself reminders. The app will notify you whenever it’s time for your reading sessions so you don’t forget about it or get too caught up with other things and miss out on it.
4. Always have a book nearby
Another important part of making your goal to read for 20 minutes a day a reality is, unsurprisingly, the convenience. The easier you make things for yourself, the greater the chances of achieving your goal.
To avoid missing out on reading sessions, make sure to always have a book handy. Whether you’re at work, traveling or doing your chores at home, keep a book close to your person at all times. You never know when the opportunity for a quick reading session can arise. It would be a shame to miss it just because you didn’t have something to read.
5. Read to your kid or with your kid
As I mentioned earlier, reading is just as important for you as it is for your child. Why not make it a joint reading session? Whether you read to your child for 20 minutes or simply sit together and read separately, it will be both a great bonding experience and a very effective way of growing together intellectually.
Why read 20 minutes at home with your kid? Among other things, because this will also teach your child about the importance of reading 20 minutes a day and will help him or her cultivate a life lasting habit.
Final thoughts about the benefits of reading 20 minutes a day
As you can see, even 20 minutes of reading each day can have incredible benefits for your mental and physical health, as well as for your personal growth and self-development.
On top of the benefits I mentioned above, you should also keep in mind that 20 minute long reading sessions are usually “gateway” reading sessions. After a couple of reading sessions lasting 20 minutes, you will probably find yourself spending a lot more time reading.And if all this wasn’t good enough, as mentioned above, reading apps can also make things a lot easier and even more fun. If you really want to get into reading for 20 minutes every day, perhaps giving Basmo a try isn’t a bad idea.
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