Why Does Reading make you Sleepy?


Most of us have experienced this kind of feeling especially those who usually has a habit of reading before going to bed. On the other hand, there are those who get sleepy just by reading a few pages. In some cases, there are still those who never get tired of reading books whether during daytime or night time.

Reading can be an almost hypnotic action characterized by rhythmic eye movement, a relaxed physical position, and a focused attention. When you’re in this state, your body becomes passive and your alertness decreases unless the topic that you’re reading requires you to use your mind like mathematical calculations, deductive thinking, reasoning etc. in this way, your body easily gets tired thus resulting in sleepiness.

So why do we feel sleepy whenever we read? There are a lot of possible reasons and here are some of them.

Are you a night person or a day person? There are persons who are more comfortable reading during the day while there are some who prefers to read during the night.

It may depend on the book that you are reading. Most of the time, the reason why we feel sleepy every time we read a book, is because the topic might not be interesting to us. Boring materials can make you feel tired and make your eyes feel a bit heavy causing fatigue and alerts your body to get some sleep. However, when you’re reading a book of your choice, your whole focus and attention are on the story. You’re looking forward to what going to happen next and you get excited.

Check your posture. Our posture contributes a lot to how we can focus on reading and avoid getting sleepy. Whenever you read, try to find a good position not in a relaxed state like lying down. Make sure that your eyes are in the correct position facing straight towards your book to avoid eye strain. A good reading light can also help maintain your focus on reading.

Reading is tiresome. Remember that mental work is 3 times more demanding than physical work.

Author: joanna

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17 Responses

  1. Rocky Fjord

    March 2, 2012 9:07 pm

    I suspect there are reasons not yet identified for the extreme of this condition. I suspect there’s a seizure-like condition like narcolepsy
    that causes some of us this extremely [can be] debilitating condition.
    I never could read because I immediately fall sleepy and it takes a couple
    hours of deep rem sleep to bring me back. Try again, same thing. I can
    maybe read 3 or 4 pages in an eight hour period. It’s hell, it’s not just
    boredom or anything minor. This is a syndrome that is devastating to
    a child or adult

      • Lola

        January 24, 2013 5:06 pm

        I’ve had the worst time going to sleep. Its like I close my eyes and I just lay there. Its so annoying. I just started reading a book to help me and its amazing withing 15-20 minutes I’m asleep. It really helps!!!!

    • Doyle

      June 28, 2016 9:19 am

      I work I medical and have to read Medical journals to stay current. I can not finish one article without dozing off. It is the same with reading Novels and News papers. Taking stimulants is not an option, but I have tried strong coffee but has not helped. FRUSTRATION.

  2. Elias

    October 27, 2012 7:36 am

    REPLY TO THIS ONE I FORGOT TO CHECK THE BOX FOR “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail”

    Have the same thing. Currently researching about it. How’s luck on your side?

  3. Steve Visio

    November 26, 2012 11:35 am

    I have this. Every time I start to read I fall asleep within a few pages. Fortunately I can take a quick nap and then I can read for hours without a recurrence. Its very predictable. Why does the nap fix me? Weird.

  4. Warren

    December 27, 2012 4:17 pm

    “When reading continuously, your body exerts a lot of energy from your eyes as magnetic waves”

    The credibility of this entire article is made highly questionable by this ridiculous statement. For real information, it is recommended that you read articles written by people with a grasp of reality.

  5. richard

    June 6, 2013 4:10 am

    Hi guys.
    Over the past couple of years I have been travelling alot for work. I often read to pass the time, most times I read I will feel tired but certain factors seem to help me keep my focus longer.
    I have often found that by drinking an energy drink (red bull being my poison) that I can read almost the entire 1hr trip home, though with out I seem to only manage 30mins at best.
    Although when I drink an energy drink I never feel more energetic, but after doing this a few times I believe its good to see how this stimulates me.
    Thought I would share my ramblings.


  6. LEY

    July 11, 2014 3:45 pm

    It’s now well into 2014 and I stumbled upon this take of why reading makes some people tired. The article explains it well. I also want to add that not all people succumb or should I say even feel the effect of the dozy feeling after a few paragraphs or chapters in a book.
    I read an article in Business Insider Ink, that started with; “It’s sometimes called highway hypnosis or white-line fever, and it’s familiar to anyone who has driven long distances along a monotonous route.
    Drivers are lulled into a semi-trance state and reach their destination with little or no memory of parts of the trip.”
    ( http://www.businessinsider.com/ny-train-wreck-could-be-the-case-of-highway-hypnosis-2013-12#ixzz37BieD9Fp )
    I traveled a lot in the past and I have felt this kind of hypnotic state coming on and so I pulled into a truck stop and slept a little. The thing is, I wasn’t tired when I first took off, had plenty of rest and lots of stops in between.
    So this morning I was well rested and I opened a research book on very interesting subjects, coffee by my side and with in 10 minutes my eyes got heavy and like my road trip having to pull off the road, I had to close the book. Which took me to my computer and to this web page. 🙂
    Sometimes we open a book and begin to read, but are so cozy and relaxed that we become lulled like a baby being rocked by our own inner voices as it reads along. The same when driving, we are cruising along on a straight way, the repetitive vibration of the road, a cozy warm environment and we are off into lala land. Try this, When driving, Open the window and let the cold in. It snaps you right out of it. When reading,Drink a cold lemonade instead of a hot coffee.

  7. catherina

    November 5, 2014 4:38 pm





  8. Barbara Ann

    January 19, 2015 4:13 pm

    What is this syndrome called? Is there a medical term for this reading and becoming sleepy? I have experienced this my entire life, well, actually it started in my late teens.


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