January 19, 2014

Reading. A dead sport? (MondayTalk #2)

As I curled up in bed with my current book, a thought downed on me. It was 1 AM and I was just then closing my computer and trying to sleep, even though I had to get up in 5 hours. I remember years back when I used to get in bed at a reasonable hour and read till a fell asleep. Back then I got plenty of rest and I was much more productive.

So is reading a dying sport? As technology develops more and more, people are starting to be more attracted to artificial reading mechanisms such as tablets, laptops and computers. No one wants to read a classic book. This is bad not only for our eyes but also for our sleeping schedules. Think back on all the night I thought I had insomnia...

Because of the light emanated from the "book" of choice, we are overstimulated and our brains thinks it is still day. Therefor it produces serotonin and norepinephrine to keep us awake. If we would read a normal book, then we wouldn't get overstimulated and have a  more normal and natural sleeping schedule.

After these revelations I asked some if my friends about there sleeping routines and the hours leading up to going to bed. Most of them either watch TV or, sit on their phones. It is understandable  for some because they moved from home and are now living in a dorm with 2-4 other people, but I don't quite get the ones that have their own rooms at home and can make their on routine not based on other roommates.

As I asked around more and more, the most common answer was: "I am too tired to read!". Fine, if you are tired, you go to bed and sleep, not watch mind-numbing TV programs. Although I understand the logic I don't grasp the concept of too tired to read but not too tired to watch TV.

I started thinking of my experience with watching a TV show at night. I have a bad sleep, I am not rested and probably have a nightmare after watching something before going to bed. But I get to unwind and basically forget that I have a mind. Sometimes this is my trauma treatment (after a failed exam or a very bad day) but when did this become part of my every night routine? Probably when my dad bough my tablet. This still isn't a good enough reason to leave the books to collect dust in the bookcase.

if you think about it, reading is like exercise for the brain. Some people go to the gym on a regular basis but don't read as often. Why is that? If you want to grow as a person and look good inside and out, you should exercise every muscle in the body, including the brain.

Reading can do so much good, even if people neglect this very important task. It helps with:

  • Mental Stimulation
  • Stress Reduction
  • Knowledge
  • Vocabulary Expansion
  • Memory Improvement
  • Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills
  • Improved Focus and Concentration
  • Better Writing Skills
  • Tranquility
  • Free Entertainment
If you have not jumped on the bandwagon yet, start small. Reread your favorite childhood book or maybe find a book in a domain that is really fascinating for you and instead of reading on Wikipedia, buy a hard copy. Try even printing out the first couple of pages of a book and seeing if you want to buy it before spending money on something you will never enjoy. Think of this like buying a pair of boots online. Even if they might seem wonderful, when you try them on for size they could be the most incredible uncomfortable things you tried on in your entire life.

Also, don't make reading a chore. If you don't like a book, drop it(not literally), move on to the next one. try, try and try again until you find a genre in which you can get lost in and spend days trapped between the pages.


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