Reading Books Could Help You Live Longer

Here's why you should pass on that movie and curl up with a good book instead!

Good news, bookworms. In addition to helping with stress, boosting your intelligence and even increasing your empathy, reading books is also associated with yet another benefit: a longer life. Research from Yale University found that of 3,635 people surveyed, bookworms were 20 percent less likely to die over the next 12 years, even after controlling for factors such as gender, education and cognitive ability.

Although reading newspapers and magazines is still good for the mind, the research found that reading books engages the brain and encourages longevity in a more impactful way than periodicals do, likely due to the greater length and depth of books.


The participants in the study were all 50 years and older, but varied widely in their economic, marital, employment and education statuses. They found that on average book readers lived 23 months longer than non-book readers, which held true for all types of participants, regardless of their gender or socioeconomic status.

Now before you reach for that e-reader, consider this. Real Simple points out that there are a number of science-backed reasons to opt for a real book rather than an e-book. Benefits to reading a printed book include increased intelligence and brain power, an improved ability to relate to others, improved understanding and retention of what you’ve read, better sleep and increased relaxation and even a reduced likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

So if you’re looking to have a long and fruitful life, you might want to swap those Netflix-and-chill hours for some time snuggled up with a good, old-fashioned book!

[h/t: Real Simple]