We are all guilty of it. Snuggling down somewhere to read a book or study and the conditions are hardly ideal to continue to read without falling asleep. If this is you and you want to achieve more reading before going to sleep read on…
How to avoid sleep while reading. To avoid falling asleep while reading you should correct these three things, in particular, to make it difficult to fall asleep. Poor lighting, lying in bed and a poor diet. Implement these and it will be a little more difficult to fall asleep while reading or studying.
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Why Do I Always Fall Asleep Reading?
More often than not, you fall asleep while reading it is because you are lying in your bed while doing it. It is a surprisingly common error in judgment.
When you are lying in bed and reading, chances are that the lights are dimmed, especially if you share that bed with somebody who is asleep.
In addition to that, there is also the distinct possibility that you have a poor dietary regime, which includes heavy meals before bed and little to no water consumed with that meal – or at any stage during the day for that matter.
You Sleep While Reading Due to Poor Eyesight
I literally completed my whole time in high school with undetected vision problems. At school, I always sat at the front of the class – so I didn’t miss anything – it was just natural for me to do so. While studying during the evenings my eyes always burned and even turned red.
Not having known any better – and being the child of two illiterate parents – I always labored under the misapprehension that the burning sensation and red eyes were merely the product of a hard night’s work. A sure sign that I would do well in the upcoming examinations.
It should not be a surprise to anybody that I always fell asleep during those relatively early evening study periods. I felt exhausted. I only discovered the extent of my eye problems when the time had come for me to try for a learner’s driving license or permit. Suffice it to say, I failed the eye test dismally.
My case of undetected vision problems is by no means unique either. The experts reveal that one-in-four children in the United States go to school with undetected vision problems. It is ultimately a problem that will have an adverse impact on learning for all of those children.
What we assume to be a lazy child is actually a child battling to consume text because his or her vision is poor.
Let us acknowledge the fact that this is probably just a case recorded in one of the most advanced nations in the world, sink in for a moment.
Can you even begin to imagine the impact this kind of development has in the third world? Regions throughout the world, where illiteracy is already a national crisis.
For those children who do have access to literature, all it will take to put them off is some sleep-related difficulty, partly created by vision problems experienced when reading. It is a rather sobering thought.
If you are somebody who falls asleep while reading, it would probably be prudent to do yourself a favor and have those eyes checked out. There are significantly greater issues at play than just the loss of reading time.
Researchers in the United States say there is a direct correlation between young people with undetected vision problems and poor results in school. We are talking about your capacity to absorb the information being severely limited here.
We are talking about a child’s future being destroyed because the vast majority of parents and teachers have failed to recognize that the child in question is struggling as a result of a poor vision and not because he/she is thick.
The direct consequence of that struggle is that some children put further strain on their eyes by trying to read for longer periods, with a view to absorbing more information and producing better results.
However, the only thing that they yield from that is a greater burning sensation in the eyes and the prospects of them falling asleep while reading tends to increase significantly. It becomes a truly vicious circle that is almost impossible to snap.
The other bit of advice to parents is that you should not wait for your child to struggle with reading at night, even though most parents miss that anyway, but rather you should take that child into an expert to have those eyes tested early in their development.
Vision Problems in Children
The American Optometric Association believes that 1 in 4 children in the United State may suffer from undetected vision problems which 2019 with the resources at our disposal is staggering.
Are You Feeling Sleepy While Studying?
It is rather extraordinary that a child can make it all the way to university and still battle to come to grips with staying awake while studying for a major examination. However, that struggle is also real and coming to terms with that reality can prove to be an enormous undertaking, even for the more seasoned academic campaigners.
1. Examine Your Campus Lifestyle to Avoid Sleep While Reading
The first port of call is reminding yourself why you are actually at university – or any other tertiary institution for that matter. There was a goal in mind when you applied and got accepted. Sometimes you need to remind yourself what that goal is.
Once you are clearer on why you are actually at university, you can start thinking a little more carefully about the lifestyle that you lead on campus.
- Does that lifestyle make it easier or harder for you to study at night?
- Does it make it harder for you to read without falling asleep?
The chances are that the lifestyle you adopted makes it exceedingly harder for you to study or read at night…or even during the day for that matter.
Falling asleep while reading is not something that is limited to the night.
So, in addition, you should also conduct some introspection on how your campus lifestyle impacts your study and reading capacity during the day. You know, when the sun is out and you should really be awake anyway?
Let us face it, reading in that university library can be an enormous undertaking if you have spent the entire weekend at parties that could have been organized by Van Wilder: Party Liaison.
2. Don’t Force Yourself to Read When Sleepy
We understand the pressures that exist while studying – at any institution really. We do not need to be talking only about tertiary school studying.
High school pupils also tend to fall asleep while reading or studying. For the most part, it is genuinely boring content. When you notice that you are feeling sleepy, sometimes it would actually be prudent to drop the books, stand up, walk away and take what we would loosely refer to as a power nap.
We acknowledge that the power nap could turn into fully-fledged sleep, especially if you have been reading at night. However, your prospects of absorbing any meaningful information diminish significantly, the more you try to force yourself to stay awake while reading.
Take a chance and take that power nap, if that means giving you even the slightest chance of returning 30 minutes to an hour later and powering away through the night (or day).
Alternately, you could just get up, embark on a walk and take in the fresh air. Forget about the books and forget about the examination. Allow your mind to drift a little. Consume some water and even have a light meal. That is to say, some fruit or vegetables.
3. Turn on the Lights When Reading
There is a temptation, especially when you are sharing a room with somebody, to dim the lights out of a false sense of consideration. Your consideration for a roommate or flatmate will not help you pass that examination. It certainly will not help you stay awake while reading.
You should only ever turn the lights down low for two reasons. Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill will educate you on the first reason.
The other reason is to fall asleep and that is precisely what will happen if you decide to do some reading in poor or dim lighting.
In truth, you should not really be reading in your room anyway – and we will get onto that a bit later in this blog post – but if you have to read in your room, turn on the lights. It is that simple.
4. Don’t Read in Bed
What we actually want to say is that you should not even be reading in your bedroom. There are too many small symbols that remind you that it is time to sleep, including the bed itself.
If you read in bed, it is almost certain that you will fall asleep while doing so, even if you are doing that reading while “sitting up”. No headboard can compensate for a chair.
So, if you are going to insist on staying in the bedroom while reading, you should at the very least opt to sit on a chair and preferably at a table. Get yourself into the right frame of mind to read.
If beds were good for reading, we would have them at professional offices all around the world.
As Forrest Gump would so eloquently put it, that is all we have to say about that.
5. Eat Light to Avoid Feeling Sleepy While Reading
We have all encountered the sensation after consuming a heavy meal, whether that be at night or during the course of the day – after a barbeque for example.
Food is great, especially when we are dealing with those heavy meals. However, when you are full or completely stuffed, there can be drowsiness that begins to creep in that you just can’t fight, no matter how determined you are.
In addition to that, moving around or even sitting up straight can prove to be an enormous undertaking.
You sometimes have to find a spot where you can lie down, where you can negotiate the effects of eating a heavy meal. It is during that period when the prospects of falling asleep tend to increase.
So, if you have eaten any kind of heavy meal (whether that be lunch or dinner) shortly before you plan to do some meaningful reading, you must know that you are likely in for a bruising battle against the sleepiness. Worse still it is a battle you are likely yo lose.
If you plan on reading, stick to some fruits, vegetables, and water. Those gassy soft drinks seldom advance your cause either because they can make you feel bloated. When you are bloated, you tend to feel sleepy.
6. Take in Fluids to Avoid Feeling Sleepy
We have already tapped on this briefly and there really isn’t that much expanding we can do.
What we will say is that the consumption of soft and sugary drinks does not really advance your cause. Alcohol certainly doesn’t advance your cause either.
If you plan on doing any reading or studying, you want to keep yourself hydrated. Being hydrated also helps you stay alert. When you are alert, you are unlikely to fall asleep while reading or studying.
There is also the small matter of nature calling when you consume copious amounts of water.
That need to constantly go to the bathroom might seem or feel like an unnecessary distraction but in truth, it does help keep you active during your reading or study time.
You will probably have noticed that nature always seems to call at just the right time too, just when the eyes are starting to shut and the mind starts to wander. So, by drinking water, you unwittingly find a perfect technique to avoid falling asleep while reading.
7. Stick to a Sleep Schedule to Avoid Sleeping While Reading
We can not preach this message enough. Establishing a regular sleep schedule is so critical to your overall sleep patterns and your health. When you record a high quality sleep every night, the prospects of you performing at the optimum level the next day are good.
Remember – we probably should have emphasized this more in the blog – you do not do all of your reading and studying at night. That appears to be something that people take for granted.
A lot of reading and studying is done during the day and that is often when people feel sleepy while reading. They feel sleepy while reading during the day because they have not recorded a quality night’s sleep.
The chances are they have recorded a poor night of sleep because they do not have or do not stick to a regular sleep schedule. That sleep schedule should include going to bed at a reasonable hour and waking up relatively early.
Do not sleep in, especially on the weekend – even if you are somehow convinced that this will help compensate for some of the late nights that you have had.
Trust us, you will find that you are more alert when you do decide to do some reading, whenever that might be during the course of the day.
8. Read Out Loud If You Have To
When the author of this blog post started writing at a small community newspaper, the advice he received from his sub-editor was to read out loud. The primary objective was to help ensure that the quality of the written work improved. You can hear if and when a sentence does not read right.
Often, when you start to feel sleepy while reading, reading out loud can help you stay alert. It can – although this isn’t really scientifically tested – also help you absorb the information you are consuming a lot quicker.
A lot of the strain in your eyes, when reading, comes because you have struggled to take in the content you are consuming. You often find that you have to read a sentence over and over again, which is just exhausting in itself. It can tend to feel like you are not making any meaningful progress.
Because you feel like you are not making any meaningful progress, you start to feel irritated and somehow develop the notion that focussing and straining the eyes a little more will help shut out the noise and assist with concentration.
It simply does not work like that though. More often than not, the best option is actually to read out loud in an attempt to store the information you have consumed. The more you feel like you are making progress while reading, the less likely your body is to react negatively to the reading session and the less likely you are to fall asleep while reading.
9. Consume Simple Content to Avoid Sleeping While Reading
There are certain times of the day when you just know you will not have the capacity to consume complicated text. We can’t tell you when those times are. You know your body and its functions better than anybody else and should be able to make that call when the situation demands it.
When you have established when those times are, try and plan accordingly to avoid sleeping while reading. In this context, we are talking about the nature of the text you consume. If you are already feeling sluggish, reading Noam Chomsky will probably break your brain. Reading Chomsky will likely break your brain at the best of times anyway.
Rather take on Anne of Green Gables. A slightly lighter read and you can still learn something about family and community.
If that is too juvenile for you, firstly shame on you, secondly, you can never go wrong with Mills and Boon… riveting love stories and you can’t possibly fall asleep while reading that series.
If you are studying, read something more along the English literature line instead of something more philosophical or scientific.
Final Thoughts – How to Avoid Sleep While Reading?
Looking after your health is just as important as reading and studying. So when reading you should consider your environment, your eyesight, your diet and whether you are sleepy.
Another huge decision for students of any age to make is whether they should sleep or study. Sometimes you just need to sleep sometimes you just need to study read my article here for some tips to help you with the decision.
Make time to read and ensure you follow a sleep routine.
If you need help with a sleep routine check out my checklist here.
As always here’s to better sleep!