Truths on Why You Shouldn’t Read While Lying Down

July 16, 2011

I like reading. It’s one of the very relaxing things I do aside from sleeping. It stimulates my brain, stretches my imagination, and just really makes me happy in general. I usually bring a book everywhere so that I have a chance to read it while waiting and in times when I’m idle. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this. Now I don’t know if you’re a reader like me, or if you’re a bookworm who reads more than I do, but I’m pretty sure you read – you’re doing it right now!  And I don’t know how you read or where, but I’m sure there has been a time when you’ve read while lying down on your bed.

Reading while lying down can have severe consequences on your eyes and neck.

Two good things put together

In this world there are plenty of examples of two good things being done at the same time, making it a bad thing. And perhaps this is one of them in certain conditions. Obviously, I have nothing against reading, and I say that it’s good to lie down. But if you put these things together and do them at the same time, parts of your body such as your neck and eyes will function to adjust for you to be able to properly do both of these things — and that won’t be good for you.

The ideal setting is to read while sitting down

When you read while sitting down, your eyes look down towards the book which, in most cases, you hold several inches below your neck. Also in most cases, especially when you do it outdoors when the sun is up, the light is towards the surface of the page that you are reading, which provides excellent lighting – ideal for reading, good for your eyes. When you sit down and read a book, your neck is relaxed as it’s just simply looking down.

But what happens when you read while lying down?

I assume that you lie down on your back, face up, holding your book up over your face. From this position, you can notice that the light might be against the material that you are reading, and that makes it dark – not ideal for your eyes. Another scenario is that when you move the book just above your chest or abdomen, you tend to move your eyes lower than what they are used to, so in order to adjust, your neck tries to lift your head a little, and you can notice that this gets annoying sometimes since your neck starts to strain. It’s probably also common for you to read while you lie down on your stomach, with your head supported by your hand. However, this is also very straining for both your wrist and your neck even if the lighting is good.

Reading in bed is truly a relaxing and enjoyable activity - just make sure that you have the right lighting and support.

Most people read as a way of relaxing in order to get themselves in the right mood before they sleep. People also read during times of convalescence, like in hospital beds. So you notice that in hospitals, the patient never reads a book while lying down unless the hospital bed is properly inclined. If you could somehow replicate that with your pillows in your own bed, and that you have the right lighting, go ahead! Remember that it’s not just about preference, it’s also about your health. So just like you have to take note of the ideal sleeping position, you also have to be mindful of the position of your body while reading.