During autumn, there's hardly anything better than curling up in bed with real raggsocks on your feet and listening to an exciting audiobook. The best part is that research shows that listening to audiobooks is really beneficial and educational. You handle stress better and you become more courageous and empathetic. As well as actually improving your short-term memory!

1. Listening to audio books can prevent dementia

Studies show that the brain is stimulated when you read or listen to an audiobook. It seems that in this case, the brain acts like a muscle that strengthens when you use it. And just like muscles that atrophy if you don't use them, the brain weakens if it's not allowed to be active. It seems that reading for this reason can help with both Alzheimer's and dementia.

2. Escape from reality reduces stress

Call it escapism or whatever you want, but immersing yourself in a story makes you forget about your worries, which lowers your stress levels. Non-fiction works great, but so does an engaging article or factual audiobook that piques your interest.

You'll feed your brain with endorphins and knowledge!

You never know when you'll need the knowledge you get into your brain when you listen to an audiobook. But what you can be sure of is that those who know a lot are better equipped for any situation than those who know nothing. Listen to varied literature and don't forget that you can learn a lot from reading fiction.

3. Audio books improve your memory

For example, if you are listening to a novel, you need to remember the names of the characters, their personalities, the nuances of their character traits and who in the audiobook they are related to. Beyond that, you need to keep track of the plot. It may sound simple, but it's complicated for your brain. The more you get your brain to remember, the more connections are made in the brain's memory centres and the stronger the already existing connections become.

4. Audio books strengthen your analytical skills

You do more analysis than you think when you listen to an audiobook, it's no coincidence that you get better at figuring out who did it before you've listened to the last chapter of the audiobook. Especially when you open up a discussion with close friends or strangers about the plot of the audiobook.

Audiobooks give you more empathy!

It requires you to live in the lives of the characters if you want to keep up with an audiobook... And if you do, you'll boost your empathy at the same time. For example, studies show that people who listen to and read a lot of fiction are better at reading other people's emotions than those who don't read. They also become better at empathising with what it's like to be shy or outgoing, for example, even if these are personality traits far removed from their own.

5. You learn to focus more on one thing

Today, everyday life is more stressful than ever and you have thousands of things that want to take up your time. For example, many people today are required to work while checking email, chatting with a few friends, checking Facebook and answering the phone. If you make sure to listen to an audiobook and immerse yourself in the audiobook, you will allow your brain to rest from all the other information in the world and this will lead to your brain becoming better at focusing as a whole. Which is hugely important if you want to be productive!

6. Listening increases vocabulary

When you listen to someone who has a better vocabulary, you take in the words better, this is because we are social individuals at heart and want to be able to communicate with the people we meet. When you listen to the narrator of an audiobook that has a clear pronunciation and the author has chosen words that you didn't previously know about, your brain will automatically want to find out what the words mean and what their meaning is in the plot you are listening to. This is especially important for children and children learn incredibly faster than us adults when it comes to communication skills. Children who listen to books will have an easier time at school for the rest of their lives and will have a larger vocabulary.

But it's not wasted on adults either. If you're learning a new language, invest in listening to fiction in that language!

- Your blood pressure will go down too!

Research shows that listening to books can lower your blood pressure. But you have to choose carefully what you listen to. Don't listen to something that might upset you, focus on something calmer. There are even studies that show that people who suffer from anxiety can feel better just by reading and listening to self-help books - they don't even have to use the techniques presented in the book.

7. Finding your inner courage

Research shows that if you listen when a character does something in an action, like going on a long hike or changing careers, you're more likely to do it too. So listening to brave characters gives you extra courage. Have you ever felt like you've already experienced something you've listened to in a book? No wonder, the brain can't distinguish between actually experiencing something and listening about it. You could say that audiobook listening is like virtual reality for your brain. So books can be the trigger to get more out of life.