Why Do I Get Sleepy When I Read?

Have you tried to read while sitting or lying in bed? After a while, do you notice that your eyes are getting heavy and you’re losing your grip on the book? There could be several reasons why you fall asleep while reading, one of which is that you attempted to read in a very comfortable position, and another reason could be that the book is boring to you.

You becoming sleepy raises a number of questions. You start to wonder why you start falling asleep whenever you pick up a book in bed. Will this always happen? Are you unwell? Does your body only want to sleep whenever you read? There are so many other questions when it comes to why we find ourselves falling asleep reading a good book.

1. Your Sleeping Position

There are many reasons why you fall asleep reading, and your sleeping position is one of them. Do you lie down to read in the same position you usually sleep in for a good night’s sleep? Are you slouching with your head resting against something? Do you feel ready to sleep before you start to read?

Just the way you sit or lie down can have you feeling fatigued and cause your eyes to feel heavy. If you sit with your back straight, the same way you might do while sitting at a desk, your brain interprets the situation differently and you might not feel so sleepy. Certain postures and positions are bound to make you sleepy. This is because you are reading in a position that is relaxed and comfortable for you, making it hard to stay awake.

2. Reading Focuses Your Attention on the Book

The book you are reading absorbs all of your attention. This is worse if you find the book uninteresting. Your brain attempts to concentrate on reading comprehension, and the effort can be tiring. You might be reading uninteresting books or topics that you dislike because you have no choice. The brain works hard and exerts additional effort in order to focus on the book, resulting in mental fatigue and eventually, drowsiness, and this is a big reason, among other things, why you feel sleepy while reading and struggle to stay alert.

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3. Your Eyes Struggle to Stay Awake

When you read, your eyes are constantly moving, making the eye muscles tire. You may not realize it, but regular eye movement requires brain power and is difficult on the eyes. Your eye muscles become tired and you struggle to stay awake. It’s the same thing that happens while watching television. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’ll find that this will affect how fast you start feeling sleepy as well when you start reading because your eyes are too tired to function and focus. Your body tends to lead you down the road of sending signals to keep you alert and also let you know that it is suddenly unable to function anymore.

Another factor to keep in mind is if you’re reading text with small print. Not everyone has 20/20 eyesight. Because your eye muscles are working harder to read those words and stay alert, your eyes follow words with strain and they become fatigued. The distance between your eyes and the book is also significant. If the book is more than 40cm away from your eyes, your eyes will become exhausted from reading for hours.

4. Reading Reduces Stress

There are days that are much too long and stress levels are high. Sometimes, high stress levels affect your ability to get a full night’s sleep because you can’t stop thinking and tossing and turning in bed. Studies have shown that reading a book that you enjoy helps alleviate this stress. This is because reading is meditative in that you get to focus all your thoughts on the book and escape through your imagination. This can be extremely soothing, and ultimately helps you fall asleep while reading.

Reduction in stress is one of the main reasons you also get sleepy around your partner.

5. Time Spent Reading Affects How Fast You Fall Asleep

How long you spend reading is not set in stone – it differs from one person to the next. The general consensus is that you should spend around 20 minutes. This is usually enough time to get enough reading in and get into the right mindset to sleep. Your mind won’t be muddled with thoughts because you’ll be focused on the story, and eventually you’ll tire out. If you find that you’d like to read for longer, that’s fine too. Just make sure you’re not straining yourself. The key is to recognize when you start to feel sluggish.

6. The Environment

Your environment is very important, and it influences your reading significantly. When you read in a dark environment, you will become sleepy because your brain detects the darkness and attempts to rest. A quiet and calm surrounding is also an important factor to consider. A quiet and calm environment might cause you to become overly relaxed. This is the reason why a calm and quiet place will certainly make you sleepy, especially if you love reading a certain book.

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7. Are You Moving?

Are you standing in a stable position in your room or in a moving vehicle? If it is a yes to the latter, this could be one of the reasons you’re falling asleep while reading. Reading in a moving vehicle causes your hands to move and the book to become unstable. This erratic movement strains your eyes and forces your muscles to focus on the words. Because of the stress, your eye muscles become fatigued, and you fall asleep.

How to Avoid Getting Sleepy when Reading

The following is a list of helpful tips that will prevent you from falling asleep while you are reading:

1. Get Comfortable, but not too Comfortable

Can reading make you sleepy? When you’re reading, make sure you’re comfortable but not overly so. Sit in a chair with your back straight. You can keep the book close to your face and a reasonable distance from your eyes. If you’re reading your favorite book, you’re more likely to stay awake to keep going than with a book that is less interesting.

You should also avoid reading while lying in bed. Your mattress exudes an inviting sleeping vibe, which you must overcome. If you must be in bed, then make sure you’re reading while sitting up.

2. Make it Interesting

Even if you don’t think the book is interesting, you should make an effort to convince yourself that it is. Have a look at your reading list and pick something that seems exciting to read. It’s possible it is a challenging subject or a topic that you don’t just like. If you’re having trouble understanding it, look for other ways to get your head around the overall concept of the material. You can search the internet for information that you aren’t familiar with, or you can watch videos on YouTube that provide explanations of the topic. Your mind will be stimulated more by participating in this activity, and reading the book will become more entertaining.

3. When is the Most Appropriate Time to Read?

Have you determined the best time of the day for you to read? Do you enjoy reading during the day? Do you prefer to read at night before you fall asleep? If it has become part of your routine, you shouldn’t deviate from it. Your body functions according to habits, so if you make it a point to read in order to fall asleep faster, then this is what will happen every time you read before bed.

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4. Rest when You Really Need To

If you go to work every day, don’t come home and immediately pick up a book to read. Your brain works almost constantly, and it requires some downtime. Make sure that it receives the rest it requires. Even if you have eaten, you can take a short nap before reading. Don’t read if you haven’t given your brain a break.

Furthermore, when reading for an extended period of time, it is best to take breaks at regular intervals. You don’t want to try reading for an hour without playing a game or having a fun conversation in the middle to break it up. The Pomodoro technique, which involves taking breaks at regular intervals while reading, has its own set of advantages. It has the potential to increase your productivity and effectiveness.

5. Avoid Reading in a Moving Vehicle

It is not the best time to read if you are traveling or going somewhere in a moving vehicle, so try to avoid doing so if possible. Instead, you could try listening to audiobooks or just sitting still and doing nothing.

With a little bit of patience, you’ll arrive at your destination, be able to relax, and read any book you want.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Falling Asleep While Reading A Disorder?

It is not always the result of a sleeping disorder. However, it is possible that this is due to Narcolepsy, which causes you to sleep at random times. If you think that you might have you have a disorder, consult a doctor.

How Can I Read For A Longer Time?

Stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water throughout the day. You can use the effort rule, which states that you should make an effort to remember the piece of information.

Final Thoughts

Why does reading before bed help us feel sleepy? As you’ve seen, there are a number of things that can induce sleep in readers. Feel free to put what you’ve learned to good use, especially if reading this article helped you identify the factors that contribute to your inability to concentrate while you’re trying to concentrate (and hopefully you didn’t fall asleep while reading this in bed!).

If you think you might have a sleep disorder, it is in your best interest to make an appointment with your primary care physician; they are in the best position to address any additional questions or concerns you might have.