You Should Read Everyday! But For How Long? The Science Says


Do you read every day? How long should you read everyday? If you are anything like me, you always set aside time each day to do some reading. So for you, it is always necessary to spend some time with a book, but the question is how much time?

You should read books every day and spend at least 34 minutes on them. While there is no official number of minutes one should spend reading, researchers have found that reading books for 34 minutes a day increased your chances of living longer.

We all know that reading is essential, but sometimes we can’t find the time, or we don’t value reading enough.

If you aren’t reading, you must start, but if you are wondering how much to read each day, keep reading cause we will discuss it.

How Much Daily Reading is Enough?

I’d argue that there is little debate about the value of reading and have written extensively about the topic. In particular, I’ve talked about why reading books is important and why readers are smarter. Adding to this, even the science says that reading is critical, as this study foundOpens in a new tab. that over 12 years, regular book readers had a 20% greater rate of survival.

Now that we are clear about the value, let’s talk a little more about how long we should read every day. But first, let’s be clear about something; there is rarely a one size fits all answer to questions like this. You can’t ask how much food someone should eat because that depends on multiple factors, including age, gender and what they are doing during the day. And so, the same should be applied to reading.

In the above study, the average time the reader’s group spent reading books was around 34 minutes, so we may expect this to be the lower limit on what was considered enough.

Keep in mind; the study accounted for many socioeconomic factors and grouped people based on what they read. Interestingly, the most significant benefits were found in those who read books rather than newspapers or magazines.

In another study looking at childrenOpens in a new tab., scientists found that reading was positively associated with higher language and cognitive activity in the brain. It is essential to point out that this was compared to children who were looking at screens instead. What is also important to note is that the more time the children were reading, the greater the benefits were.

There are various other recommendations for children, suggesting reading 15-20 minutes a day. However, it is difficult to track down where that number is coming from. That said, lots of research shows the vast difference in outcomes for children based on how much they read, if they read at all. But the best results were always found in the children that were reading.

While all the numbers we have come up with are a little different, the point remains that it is crucial to read every day, even if it is only for a short period of time.

But if you can aim for at least 34 minutes, you might be able to expect to live a longer and healthier life.

How Long Does the Average Person Read?

According to Pew ResearchOpens in a new tab., the average person reads four books a year, which isn’t a lot. But at the same time, I know many people who don’t read any books at all, so there are likely people who do most of that reading, so the average spreads out thin.

But according to Google, the average person can read 25 pages an hour, which translates into around 10 hours to read a 250-page book.

If we multiply that by 4, the average person has about 40 hours a year of reading time. Dividing that by 365 days and breaks down to about 6.6 minutes.

So it sounds like the average person is reading less than 7 minutes a day, but obviously, they aren’t spreading it out like that.

Remember that different people have different abilities, so this number isn’t written in stone, but it is a good barometer. If we take our original recommendation that people should read for at least 34 minutes a day, we are looking at an almost 5x difference between what we should read and what most people do read.

But once again, if you want to be average, it is ok to read the average amount. However, if you want to improve and get better, you need to step up and read a lot more.

Why Should You Read every day?

While not everyone is a reader, those who read a lot are like many wealthy and successful people. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos and Opera are highly vocal about reading and all the books they have read. Bill Gates, in particular, has a reputation for reading a lot of books, as can be seen on his website.

And while successful people read a lot, that doesn’t mean you will have the same success as them, but it surely won’t make you worse off. Adding to this, people who read will benefit from the information they are exposed to, which is why they read so much in the first place.

Being the head of an organization requires lots of novel ideas that can drive innovation, explaining why avid readers so frequently become leaders.

In a previous article, I wrote extensively about why readers are smarter; some of the takeaways were that readers better understand the people and the world around them. This is important because sometimes we make assumptions about things based on our experiences, but those experiences may be atypical without us even realizing it.

I also talked about how reading helps with our focus, as it requires dedicated time without distractions. And while we mostly spend time on our phones these days, looking at a book is an excellent way to try something different. We also talked about how reading books introduce us to new words, which opens us up to new ways of thinking.

Some other benefits include improvements to our reasoning and logic skills, as a narrative must follow a logical order to make sense and be entertaining.

Reading and thinking about things logically helps exercise our brains and influences us to think more reasonably about the things happening in the world around us.

When it comes down to it, reading makes you smarter and improves your thinking abilities. Because of this, how much you read every day comes down to the question of how much do you want to improve yourself? Or how much are you willing to better yourself?

Reading Every Day Is Good For You

The truth is, if you don’t care about bettering yourself, then there is no reason to read, but if your goal is to be a better person, then reading is going to help you get there.

Rather than thinking, how long should one read every day, think, how much do you want to improve, and how much time are you willing to put into that?

The reality is that it is up to each individual to decide how much they want to read; at the same time, it also depends on how important self-improvement is to that person. In the grand scheme of things, what matters to us, is what we do every day, so if you want to be a reader, you need to make a habit of doing it every day.

For myself, I make sure that I read for at least 30 minutes every day, but there have been times when I’ve read much more because I had extra free time. Regardless, if you want to make a difference in your life, you need to change your habits, and making reading a habit is a great way to improve your life.

I hope this article has helped answer the questions of how long you should read everyday.

If you are curious about other ways of improving yourself, check out this article on the importance of life experience or how to find purpose and direction in your life.

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Robert Carr

Over the years, I've learnt to see things in a different light. This website is my place to share those insights and give my unique perspective on living a meaningful life.

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