How Much Should I Read A Day? These Studies Have Some Answers On The Ideal Amount Of Time

Ad failed to load

According to a 2014 Time magazine article, Americans read (in their words) “a paltry 19 minutes a day.” (19 minutes is pretty paltry.) The stat comes from a study conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, who also noted that younger Americans, aged 25-34, read just four minutes a day — really, who are you people? — while American adults over 75 read upwards of one hour each day — aka: my peeps.

Now, as a book-lover, I just have to say: the ideal amount of time to spend reading each day is basically all of the time. But, unrealistic is that is, (because: bills, food, laundry) at least as much time as is available; which, I promise you, is more than four minutes, no matter how busy I might be. But, national stats and personal preferences aside, is there actually a science-backed number of minutes you should spend reading each day? After all, we already know reading helps improve memory and cognitive function, increases empathy and reduces stress, can improve social skills, and actually increases not only your intelligence but your learning capacity as well. Chances are, all those benefits aren’t happening in just four minutes.

It turns out, there are some science-backed guidelines for how much you should read every day. And the numbers may surprise you.

Ad failed to load

1It might be only 30 minutes a day.

Giphy

As part of the University of Michigan’s yearly Health and Retirement Study, researchers examined how many hours per week subjects (over 3,600 men and women, over the age of 50) read each week. Based on their responses, researchers determined that people who spend just 30 minutes reading per day lived an average of two years longer than their peers who didn’t.

2But… that’s 30 minutes a day, over several years.

Giphy

The study was conducted over the course of 24 years, surveying subjects every other year between 1992 and 2016 — so you can’t just read 30 minutes a day every so often and expect it to work. That’s 30 dedicated minutes a day, every day (or, at least, nearly every day) for at least 12 years. Better start stocking that TBR pile now.

3And, there’s another caveat: what you read matters.

Giphy

The benefits of those 30 minutes were only observed in subjects who read fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or literary prose. In fact, the same study also showed that subjects who reported 30 minutes or more of reading a book each day were 23 percent less likely to die between 2001 and 2012 than their peers who read only newspapers or magazines.

Ad failed to load

4The speed at which you read might matter too.

Giphy

In a 2012 article, Forbes Magazine contributor Brett Nelson quoted a Staples-sponsored speed reading test that demonstrated the average American reader reads 300 words per minute, without sacrificing comprehension. He then broke that number down into various forms of media: newspapers and blogs, magazines, books, and e-mails and texts. Looking at the numbers, Nelson argued that a reader consuming text at the average of 300 words per minute will have to set aside two hours of reading each day, just to take in the daily amount of newspapers, magazines, books, and other written text necessary to be successful (in this case, however, the stats seemed to apply specifically to investors and serial entrepreneurs… so if you’re not employed in one of those two professions, this might not apply to you.)

5The rules are also different for young people.

Giphy

A list of guidelines by the University at Albany recommended that children spend an average of 15-20 minutes reading each day — and that’s above and beyond any reading they might be doing in school. The idea is that it may take children who are learning to read time to build up their bookish stamina (raise your hand if you skipped that step.)

6The moral of the story: read every day.

Giphy

Whether you're reading 30 minutes each day or upwards of two hours, the key is to get some (book) reading in every single day. The benefits are well charted: improving both intelligence and emotional IQ, reducing stress, and allowing readers to, on average, live longer than non-readers. Which means you'll have even more time to spend reading. Sounds like a win/win to me.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Everything Leaving & Coming To Netflix In June To Help Get Your Summer Started

Summer is right around the corner, and so is another batch of streaming options to get excited about. On Wednesday, everything leaving and coming to Netflix in June 2018 was announced by the streaming platform. And don't worry, there's something for …
By Jamie Primeau

The 5 Rom-Coms You Need To Read This Summer, According To Someone Who Writes Them

'Tis the season for rom-coms. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and everyone is rocking the flirtiest items in their wardrobe. I don't know about you, but summer always takes me back to my teenage years — and that automatically makes me want t…
By Cristina Arreola

11 Tiny Sunglasses That Will Make You Look Even Cooler Than Kylie Jenner

You know what they say — the tinier the sunglasses, the more stylish the outfit. OK, that's not really a saying, but it seems to be the case these days. Basically every celebrity, model, and It person has been spotted sporting tiny sunglasses as part…
By Sara Tan

9 Ways This Royal Wedding Was Way More Modern Than Past Ones

The newly named Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, made history with their storybook courtship and wedding. What's more, there are myriad ways the royal wedding 2018 was more modern than previous royal weddings. From deciding…
By Brandi Neal

10 Little-Known British Traditions Meghan Markle Will Learn When She Marries Prince Harry

As an American woman dating a Brit, I am no stranger to the mishaps that can result from the cultural differences between the U.S. and England. And while I'm sure Meghan Markle has a slew of royal traditions to learn, titles to remember, and fancy ha…
By Kristin Magaldi

I've Paid $18,000 To A $24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $24,000

It all became real the summer before my senior year of college. It was 2010, and my home phone still had a cord, which I wrapped around my fingers as I waited not-so-patiently for the apathetic representative on the other end to tell me the bad news …
By Kaitlyn Cawley

12 Personality Quizzes That Will Help You Determine Your Exact Strengths

Learning more about yourself can be tough. It's so easy to observe others to learn what makes them tick, what areas they really excel in, and the things they could be better at. Doing that to yourself, however, is a whole different story. That's exac…
By Jessica Booth

5 Brand New Short Story Collections You Can Finish In One Sitting This Weekend

Since 2013, May has been known by book-lovers by another name: Short Story Month. If you're ready to kick off this year's celebration the right way, make sure to pick up a short story collection to read over the weekend. Modern life moves more than …
By Sadie Trombetta

I Got Styled By 'Queer Eye's Tan France & Realized I Still Have A Lot Of Fashion "Rules" To Unlearn

When I walked into a New York City Express store on May 2 to get styled by Queer Eye's Tan France, I was ready for anything. And I mean truly anything. I am such a massive fan of the show and Tan that if he had instructed me to wrap myself in tin foi…
By Olivia Muenter

It Isn’t Bad To Have A “Princess Fantasy” — Mine Made Me The Woman I Am Today

What do you want to be when you grow up? If you were anything like me as a kid, at some point, the answer to that question was "a princess." Thanks to good old-fashioned gender stereotypes, most little girls born in the '90s (and even now) grew up in…
By Nicole Pomarico

Here’s How To Get A FREE 30-Minute Facial At Sephora That Sucks Your Pores Clean

Sephora has long been a mecca for both serious and amateur beauty lovers alike, where they not only have makeup artists that help answer questions about products, but free samples to let you play with new collections. But now they have upped the ante…
By Marlen Komar

Kris Jenner Is FINALLY Launching A Makeup Line With Kylie

Maybe you don't have a favorite sister of the Kar-Jenner clan, and that's perfectly fine. The one thing you can't deny, though, is that when it comes power, no one in that family has more than the world famous momager. Now, Kris Jenner x Kylie Cosmet…
By Shea Simmons

This Kendall Jenner “Diva” Moment Is Really Being Taken Out Of Context

The fashion always takes center stage at the Met Gala, but there's usually a little drama, too. And this time, a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family is involved. People are buzzing about how Kendall Jenner shoved someone at the Met Gala, but after…
By Nicole Pomarico

Feel Like You've Seen Everything On Netflix? Add These Movies To Your Watch List

The weekend may feel too far away, but if you're lacking formal plans, a Netflix marathon session is always a good idea. If you're an avid viewer, however, you probably feel like you've seen everything the streaming platform has to offer already. In …
By Ashley Rey

These 4 Zodiac Signs Are Going To Have The Best Luck In Love This May

Spring fever is here, but not all signs in the zodiac are dealt the same dose of lovin'. Some signs are going to have a better love lives than the rest of us in May, because that's just the way the cookie crumbles. According to astrologer Linda Furia…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

Hillary Clinton Says She's Ready To Fight Like A Republican — EXCLUSIVE

Hillary Clinton Is Not Going Away Quietly. Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly Into The Night? Unlike Losers Before Her, Clinton Is Not Going Gently Into the Night. These headlines, which appeared in various news outlets over the course of the last…
By Catherine Thompson and Jenny Hollander

Here's The Very Best Time To Book Your Summer Vacation If You're Trying To Save Money

Summer is a great time to travel, for obvious reasons. The weather is better. Many offices are more lax about time off. If you have kids, they’re out of school. But there’s one very important element that makes summer not a great time to travel: Cost…
By Emma McGowan
)}