How Long Should You Read A Day? Do You Read Too Much?


Reading expands horizons, improves critical thinking, grows imaginations, and does so much more to help us in our daily lives.

The question is, how much reading is too much? If you’re wondering how long you should read in a day, or if you think you’re reading too much, you might be surprised with our findings.

How long should you read a day?

Reading for 30 minutes to 1 hour per day is enough to add years to your life. In addition to living longer, people who read for at least 30 minutes per day are more successful, have greater empathy, and less stress than those who do not.

What’s the recommended reading time per day?

That depends on who you ask! I believe that people ought to read as much as they need to. But if you’re looking for the official number, studies give us a fascinating answer.

A University of Michigan study showed that men and women 50 and above who read 30 minutes or more every day outlived their peers by 2 years. On the other hand, a long-held standard for children’s literacy has recommended 15-20 minutes of daily reading after school.

Is it healthy to read all day?

I know the smallest timeframe we should dedicate to reading is 30 minutes each day. But if you're already hitting this goal, congratulations! You're on your way to a more fulfilled life. But if you’re way over that number, you might be wondering if you read too much.

If you’re reading all day, you’re reading too much. Reading all day is not healthy.

You may have heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.” While the jury is still out on if this statement is more hyperbole than fact, there is some truth in it. Like smoking, health professionals discourage being sedentary for prolonged periods. Both have drastic consequences later in life.

Reading in bed all day sounds great to the bookworms out there. But making it a daily habit isn’t going to do you any favors. Like indulging in a bowl of ice cream, if you treat yourself now and again to a lazy reading day, you'll be fine. But even good things can turn bad in excess.

Reading all day is bad for physical health. Excessive reading can also cause harm to our brains. Now I know what you're thinking – didn't I just say that reading every day is good for your brain? Yes. This is true. But just like exercise is good for the body, overexertion of our mental muscles can also lead to exhaustion. Specifically, information overload.

It’s important to do things in moderation. Reading helps us grow in compassion and empathy, learn about new and old topics, and even improve our learning ability. Yet, reading all day, especially the news, with the hope of catching up to the present is a futile, mission that increases stress levels and negates the positive aspects of healthy reading, which I discussed above.

In a nutshell, don’t make a habit of reading all day.

Benefits of reading 1 hour per day

We know that reading for at least 30 minutes per day has excellent results. But we also know that reading all day is bad for you. So how much should you read a day? Billionaires agree that at least 1 hour is ideal.

What do Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, and Jack Ma have in common? In addition to being highly successful, these men are also avid readers.

According to Forbes, they, like many successful people before them, commit to reading at least one hour per day. Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey follow the same rule. These three even share lists of their favorite books of the year to inspire others to read.

Reading 1 hour per day has many benefits. For starters, the more you read, the more information you get. Some of the biggest industries out there – such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX – were born out of reading.

Musk taught himself rocket science by reading for at least an hour a day!

Reading for an hour per day will improve your attention span and your brain capacity. Literally. A Carnegie Mellon study showed that daily reading increased participants’ brain’s language centers.

If you're interested in longevity and success, consider reading for at least 1 hour per day.

How many hours of reading is too much?

If you’re looking for benefits like increased attention span, memory, and brain function, reading for 30 minutes a day gets the job done. An hour or more is ideal for the potential moguls among us. And finally, reading all day can be detrimental. But what does “all day” mean? How much is too much?

According to the Mayo Clinic, sitting for more than 8 hours per day without any physical exercise increases the likelihood of health issues. Australia recommends limiting sedentary leisure time to 2 hours per day for children.

Reading each day is beneficial but sitting still and reading for more than 8 hours per day without physical exercise is one of the worst things you can do for your health. Reading in moderation can improve your life, but too much can have the opposite effect.

What are the effects of not reading at all?

Studies have shown that reading for 30 minutes or more each day increases our chances of living longer in addition to other benefits.

Daily reading is not only good for your brain but your personal development as well. We all know that we can learn more by reading. But did you know that reading also helps our minds work better, relieves stress, and makes us more empathetic?

An Italian research team found that reading Harry Potter books makes young people better.

Elementary through college students who read Harry Potter had greater compassion toward people who face difficulties in life. The psychologists theorized that this is because reading about someone living through hardship can increase empathy.

Look, I understand that not everyone feels like they can dedicate an hour – or even 30 minutes – to reading each day. Life gets busy! But quitting reading cold turkey or never getting started to begin with are not recommended.

So far, we’ve established that daily reading is good for your brain, emotional intelligence, and longevity. I think that’s great news. But what happens when you don’t read at all? Well, you miss out on the benefits of reading:

  • Instead of adding a couple of years to your life, you forfeit the opportunity for increased longevity when you don’t read at all.
  • None of the stress-relieving benefits that reading provides are available to you if you do not read at all.
  • Your understanding of other people’s experiences and ability to empathize will be limited if you aren’t reading.
  • Memory, learning ability, and mental acuity are all more likely to decline and deteriorate if you do not read. Also, your concentration and attention span could suffer.

Does any of this appeal to you? It doesn’t sound good to us either.

How can you reap the benefits of reading on a busy schedule?

Listening to audiobooks lights up the same parts of your brain as reading does. If you have time on your commute or during a workout to listen to an audiobook, that’s a terrific way to sneak in a book while not sacrificing your time.

If you want to make it a family affair, consider reading to and with your kids. Creating habits as a family will encourage your children to continue to read as they grow older. And the sooner they start cultivating their reading habit, the sooner they will see positive results!

If you have a habit of scrolling on your phone in waiting rooms, bring a book with you to read instead. E-books on e-readers are excellent alternatives to reading on your phone since the e-reader limits distractions. And, of course, my personal favorite, the classic model. There’s nothing like holding a real book in your hands, and don’t get me started on how great those old and new book smells are.


Reading for at least 30 minutes each day has incredible health benefits. Whether you want to improve your knowledge on a specific topic, increase your empathy, or relieve stress and add a couple of years onto your life, reading each day in moderation is worth it!

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