Getting Sleepy while reading or falling asleep while reading? Then take a look at these tips.


Time It Right

  • If you’re already sleepy, staying awake to read is more of a challenge than normal. Our natural patterns of sleepiness and alertness, known as circadian rhythms, play a role in timing your reading assignments. Your body naturally gets sleepy between midnight and 7 a.m., with another sleepy period midafternoon. You’re more likely to feel alert between 6 and 11 p.m., according to the National Institutes of Health. Since not everyone’s circadian rhythms are the same, you should tune in to your body’s specific rhythms to identify your alert times. When possible, time your reading to when you’re alert.

Control the Environment

  • The environment is a factor in how alert you stay when you read. If you curl up in bed with your book, you’re more likely to fall asleep. Choose a spot with bright lighting so you can focus on the words and aren’t lulled by dark. Find a spot comfortable enough for you to focus, but not so comfy that you doze off. A quiet spot outdoors gives you fresh air to keep you alert, and may help you focus. Others might find the outdoors too distracting. Test different reading spots to find one with minimal distractions that also allows you to stay awake.

Go Beyond Reading

  • For a school assignment, getting actively involved in the reading can help you stay awake. Instead of just reading the material, take notes as you go. The physical action of writing the notes can help you stay awake. The notes also give you a reference for studying later, and may help you better remember the material. You also keep your brain engaged by focusing on the material to pick out the key points for the notes.

Break It Up

  • Sitting in one spot reading for too long increases your chances of falling asleep. If you give yourself plenty of time to complete a reading assignment, you can break it into smaller chunks. Take frequent breaks to energize yourself. Instead of using the breaks to check your phone or stare at a screen, get up and move around. Go for a quick walk or do a few exercises. The break from one continuous focus also takes some of the strain off of your eyes. Deep breaths can also increase your energy by increasing your blood oxygen. Schedule regular breaks during your reading assignment. If you notice yourself getting drowsy, take an unscheduled break to energize your body.

Comments from all kinds of places that made sense and can help you: 

[–]themuffinman05 2 points 1 year ago 
So I’m diagnosed ADHD. I’m an adult male entering my late 20s. I was not diagnosed until I was 20. Falling asleep while reading has continued to be one of my biggest educational obstacles. It is almost as if I’m incapable of reading without falling asleep, unless there is some sort of deadline that forces me to stay engaged because of consequence/trouble. With that said I find that not only reading, but anything that forces me to sit quietly by myself, regardless of sleep habits, well lull me into sleep. I have have gotten up from my desk at work to read a technical book…fall asleep in the breakroom. As a child reading would put me to sleep no matter what. I have tried all kinds of fiction and non-fiction, but no matter what, after at least one chapter I’m dozing off.
Now reading out loud changes the game for me a bit. Hearing myself read forces, my mind to engage and I am less likely of passing out with book in hand. I avidly read business and news articles without fail. My determination so far is that when it comes to fiction my imagination is “over-active” to the point I will get two pages into a chapter before my mind begins to wander and next thing I know I’m passed out.
To deal with this I have switched to audiobooks. I find listening to be the opposite effect in my case.
TLDR; Try audiobooks.
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