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.

NUMBER 1: HAVE A DRINK/SNACK 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?

NUMBER 2: AVOID HEAVY READING MATERIALS BEFORE GOING TO SLEEP

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.

NUMBER 3: KEEP A GOAL TO STAY MOTIVATED TO READ

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

 

How to Read One Book A Week

There is no accurate data on the average number of books Malaysians read in a year but maybe we can just agree that it is not enough. In general, people do not read because they find reading boring and burdensome in the sense that their free time should be spent doing things that don’t require thinking. Although I would pounce in disagreement when I hear people say that, I think it is time we address this problem.

I believe everyone has their own personal reason for not making the time to read, hence I would attempt to solve this problem by suggesting how you can try to read one book a week. In my other posts, I have explained the need to choose the right kind of reading materials as this is essential in keeping ourselves interested in the book. Apart from that, it is also essential to move on to the next book once you find that the book you’re reading doesn’t ‘launch’.

Although I always preach that we should read with the purpose of gaining knowledge, for this post I would skip the nitty gritty part of that as the purpose here is simply to read one book a week. So below I outlined three ways on how to read one book a week.

NUMBER 1: DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT ATTITUDE

Although the benefits of reading is lauded by many successful people, some people still believe that they are too busy to read or that reading does not solve their current problems. I would say that the only way to solve this is to change the attitude about reading or they can keep on trying to fix the symptoms of their problems instead of identifying its root cause. I’ve also encountered people who think that they don’t need books to help them with their life because their brains are better than that… so just imagine the amount of ideas that you can generate in that already brilliant mind once it is triggered by reading *rolls eyes*

NUMBER 2: GET THE THINNEST BOOK YOU CAN FIND

If at all possible, get the thinnest book in the biggest font you can find – I have an immediate suggestion to make: Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson is great if you are also in need of change in your life. The reason you need to choose the easiest book to read is so that your mind registers the feeling of having completed reading one book. It is important that your brain recognises this achievement and builds pride around such wins.

NUMBER 3: MAKE THE TIME FOR READING

We are not talking about blocking two hours from your daily schedule to read here, we are simply asking for five minutes here and there through out the day for you to glimpse through the book. Better yet, whenever you feel the urge to mindlessly browse through social media is the right time for you to pick up on your reading. Your future self will thank you for this habit because that’s when you realise that your life is not built by watching what other people are doing.

The benefits of reading one book a week far outweighs the relaxation benefit you think you are getting from watching TV or going through your News Feed in the long run. Being able to accomplish reading your first book is the only hard part, as I promise the journey would become much easier with time. Pick up your next book right after you have finished the first one, do NOT even bother to wait until the next Sunday has come if you have finished your first book earlier.

Wow, that was stern.

-Baini Mustafa