Science Buzz

Five minutes of reading a day keeps the blues away

Teenager reading book in a library
Image by freepik

Five minutes of reading a day is as valuable to mental well-being as walking 10,000 steps and eating five portions of fruit and vegetables is to our physical health, according to research commissioned by the Queen’s Reading Room, a literary project led by the U.K.’s Queen Camilla, to promote the power and benefits of reading.

The study found that just five minutes of reading a work of fiction immediately reduced stress in participants by nearly 20%. “A short period of reading can actually help us better manage our stress, significantly increasing our concentration and improving our ability to focus on the next task. Those five minutes really can make the rest of our day better,” says Vicki Perrin, chief executive of the Queen’s Reading Room. “We found that high frequency readers are significantly less likely to experience feelings of loneliness — important not just for the health of society, but because leading research tells us that loneliness can increase the likelihood of different dementias.”

Queen Camilla, an avid reader, highlighted the research: “Just as we always suspected, books are good for us — and now science is proving us right!”