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8 Amazing Things Would Happen If You Have A Reading Plan

8 Amazing Things Would Happen If You Have A Reading Plan

Even though many of us do most of our reading in the form of texts or Facebook posts, there are good reasons to pick up an actual book on a regular basis. Reading—specifically, reading real books—has been linked to a wide range of mental, physical, and social health benefits. It’s easy to reap these rewards; simply develop a consistent reading plan and stick to it. Need some convincing? Here’s what to expect when you become an avid reader.

You’ll keep your brain in top shape

Research has found that reading stimulates the brain and helps prevent cognitive decline, thereby helping the brain function properly for the long term (avid readership may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease). This may be partly because from a neurobiological perspective, reading is more challenging than looking at images or listening to a speech or audio book. That means that we have to focus, concentrate, and rely on memory recall in the pursuit of new knowledge—all of which gives the brain a workout. In other words? Reading is one of the most affordable and accessible brain boosters. The earlier you become a regular reader, the greater the benefits later in life, so pick up a book ASAP.

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You’ll be motivated to accomplish goals

Research out of Ohio State University found that reading about a character or person who overcame obstacles can motivate you to do the same, reports Reader’s Digest. Looking to hike the Appalachian Trail or finally quit that soul-sucking job? Reading about people who already accomplished those goals can make you more likely to follow through.

You’ll become more empathetic

Multiple studies have confirmed that reading fiction that “emotionally transports” you into another world, character, or perspective can boost your ability to understand or identify with the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of other people. And that means you’ll be better able to form meaningful relationships (or at least cut telemarketers some slack).

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You’ll reduce stress

In one study, reading was found to be one of the most effective ways to eliminate stress (It proved even more effective than listening to music, taking a walk, or drinking a cup of tea). That may be partly because reading helps reduce stress hormones like cortisol. It only took participants six minutes of reading before they started to relax, so dive into a paperback if you’re ever in need of a quick pick-me-up.

You’ll fall asleep easier

Developing a calming bedtime routine is helpful for anyone looking to fall asleep faster and get better quality shut-eye. For better sleep, ditch alcohol, electronics, and cigarettes before bed and pick up a book instead—reading is a great way to unwind and relax before turning off the light.

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You’ll become more interesting

Reading allows us to learn new things, gain fresh perspectives, and expand our minds. And that means readers can not only teach themselves new skills or knowledge, but also share it with other people. It certainly beats talking about the weather.

You’ll be more satisfied with your life

One survey found that adults who read for a minimum of 30 minutes a week were 20 percent more likely to report feeling satisfied with their lives and also reported having higher self-esteem and greater self-acceptance than non-readers. The survey’s authors theorized that this is partly because reading can help us feel less alone by connecting us to other people’s experiences. In fact, the same survey found that readers tend to be more socially engaged and appreciative of cultural diversity than non-readers—all of which can infuse a life with more meaning.

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You’ll save money

The average novel costs around $13 for a new paperback version; you’ll spend even less if you shop at used book stores. Compare that to the money spent on other forms of entertainment such as eating out, sporting events, or nights out at the bar. That’s not to say that you need to become a hermit, but swapping in the occasional reading night for other, more expensive entertainment options will give your wallet a break.

Convinced? If you’re ready to become a reader but aren’t sure how to begin, start by choosing books or genres that interest you the most (and don’t be embarrassed if that includes romance novels or self-help books). It can also be helpful to cancel cable TV or your Netflix account (gasp!), to schedule in reading time on your calendar, or to join a book group so that other people can help hold you accountable to your reading goals. However you choose to approach it, developing a reading plan will do your mind and body good.

Featured photo credit: Moyan Brenn via flickr.com

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Kenny Kline

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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