How to Stay Awake When Reading

Someone told me that the easiest way to fall asleep is to read.

I agreed immediately with the person that reading should be a pleasant, relaxing experience and let’s you unwind. Falling asleep is a way your body telling you that you should read more books, not to avoid it. It is crucial to keep coming back at the book and to see yourself through with the book. Do not abandon the book simply because it puts you to sleep. Because chances are, you needed that sleep.

I do fall asleep when I read too and I do sometimes have to force myself to get through some pages before I put the book down and retire to sleep. This could happen to anybody. Fighting to stay awake when reading is normal, we just need to discipline ourselves and let the body know who’s boss. In this post, I will help with ways to stay awake while reading.

Let’s say you have advanced a bit further in your reading habit and would like to keep a goal to yourself, for example reading 10 pages before going to sleep. However you find that after the fifth page, the book keeps slipping off your hands and your head just made a deep dip towards the book (familiar, right? LOL), just try to sit up straight and stretch. If that doesn’t help much, here are my three tips on how to stay awake when reading.


Chewing or drinking while reading really helps the body and mind to awaken, thus help the page turn faster. Notice how your munching becomes faster as the story line evolve with more suspense. Just be sure not to overeat or overdo the sugar in your snack. We don’t want to avoid reading just because we want to avoid snacking now, do we?


Reading your office financial report before going to sleep surely would put a heavy load on your brain and cause even more drowsiness. If not that, it would certainly add more anxiety before you retire to bed. Avoid reading books that require analytical thinking if you can only make time to read before bed. It is best to read materials that allow your right brain to take centre stage – put your imagination at play and get your body to relax as you read. This way, your body would find reading enjoyable and you will find yourself looking forward to more reading.


Rewarding yourself after having achieved a reading goal is a great way to keep yourself motivated to read. Treat yourself to a body massage if you manage to read a book within a week. Better yet, allow yourself some time me-time at the library to see more books that you might like. Once you acquaint yourself with the idea of reading for pleasure, you will find yourself wanting more and more me-time with books. To indulge yourself in a world that only you know inside your head.

It is really important not to give up on your attempts to read. Nothing easy is worth doing.

-Baini Mustafa


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