The Alternative Benefits of Reading

As senior vice president of operations at OncoMed Pharmaceutical Services, Ellen Scharaga grew the operations staff by 50 percent while improving prescription turnaround time by 30 percent. During her free time, Ellen Scharaga, a Melville, NY, resident, enjoys reading and contributes to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

As children, our parents attempt to impart the importance of reading to us. They know that reading improves our language skills and nurtures our imaginations by allowing us to visit times and places we otherwise would never see. However, new research has shown that reading has a number of previously unreported positive effects. A 2009 study, for example, revealed that reading is one of the most successful pastimes for combating stress.

While reading for educational purposes is nothing new, analysts have discovered that a lifetime of reading can improve brain function later in life, and that reading can potentially help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, sleep experts almost unanimously recommend reading before bed as a sleep aid. Not only does the reduction of stress play a part, but time away from television and computer screens allows your brain to relax, wind down, and prepare to rest for the night.