Why Do I Get Tired When I Read and What Can I Do?

Tired When I Read

Being a reader nowadays, despite the fact that reading has a plethora of benefits for us, has become increasingly more challenging from one year to another. Our lives are more hectic than ever before, our jobs are more time consuming and distractions are all around us. 

One of the most annoying things to realize after making all the efforts to set time aside to read and to make reading a daily habit, is that reading can be in itself a rather tiring activity. 

It’s not the same for everyone, but if you ever found yourself wondering “why do I get tired when I read?”, we have a couple of answers for you. 

Does reading make you tired?

In itself, reading is not a particularly tiring activity. On the contrary, there are studies showing that reading has a lot of benefits for our daily lives, including stress reduction, consolidating general knowledge and even providing a boost for our creativity and compassion. 

Reading, in adults, is something that comes naturally and requires very little effort when done recreationally. Of course, the reading material plays a big role in this statement. Reading a fun contemporary novel is clearly a lot less challenging than reading old classics from authors recognized as being more difficult to consume. 

But even so, reading is relatively easy and has more benefits than drawbacks. Of course, studying to improve or learn a new skill forcing ourselves to understand and remember everything we read may be somewhat tiring, especially when done over extended periods of time. 

Another important thing to keep in mind is that we need to make a clear differentiation between being tired and sleepy. These are two different things that can both be an effect of reading but have completely different causes. Reading can make you sleepy for several reasons, ranging from the fact that it relaxes you and lowers your blood pressure and heart rate to the position you do your reading in. 

Getting actually tired and not sleepy while reading may point to other possible causes that are more related to you as a person than to the actual activity of reading. Getting tired when reading, otherwise known as reading fatigue, is mostly common among young readers and happens less and less as adulthood sets in. 

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Why do I get tired when I read?

If you are an adult who constantly gets tired while reading, there may be a couple of things you should pay extra attention to from now on in order to identify the cause of your reading fatigue and learn how to overcome or prevent it in the future. 

Obviously, if you are simply tired of reading books, there’s a chance the causes below won’t apply to you and the feeling of fatigue you feel could be more indicative of the fact that you are simply in a reading slump. Getting out of one will require a completely different approach and a different set of strategies, but the good news is that it can be done right with the right tools and a healthy mindset, especially if you explore our step by step guide on getting out of reading slumps.

If a reading slump is definitely not the problem you are facing, here are some of the most common causes for getting tired when reading.

Eye problems

Like with many other things, sometimes the right answer is the most obvious one. Since your eyes are an essential part in the reading process, having bad vision can have a serious impact on how much and how quickly you are able to read. Even though you may not realize it, it could be that your eyes get tired when reading.

There is a relatively wide range of eye problems that can affect your ability to read over extended periods of time. The good news is that most of them are easily solvable by simply wearing glasses. Especially if they are caught early, in childhood, they can even be completely fixed. 

You are having a hard time concentrating 

It’s not at all uncommon to mistake the source of our fatigue. Having a generally stressful life, working long hours or having an imbalance in our lives can negatively affect our ability to focus on our reading.

Sometimes, the real reason we get tired when reading has a lot less to do with the actual reading than with the stressors in our lives. Trying to focus on the reading material while our mind constantly wanders off to other things is going to make us feel like the reading we do takes a toll on us that is actually caused by other factors. 

Reading is a relaxing activity in general, but if we find that the things that keep us on our toes and stress us constantly are too much to handle, we should try fixing them in other ways before we blame reading for not being good enough as a stress relief tool. 

Another solution for these cases is to overload ourselves with relaxation techniques by pairing reading or listening to audiobooks with other relaxing activities. 

For example:

  • Read a book while staying outside in the sun
  • Listen to an audiobook while taking a relaxing bath
  • Read an easy novel while listening to relaxing music
  • Listen to an audiobook while coloring mandalas or knitting

By allowing relaxation techniques to overlap, we are likely to realize that reading suddenly becomes less tiring than before, which is a clear indicator that reading was not actually at fault for your fatigue in the first place. 

The book is too difficult

It is possible from time to time to pick up a book that puts you completely outside of your comfort zone. Whether it’s because the book is simply too difficult for you or because you dislike it so much that your brain is trying to convince you that the effort of reading it is too much to handle.

There’s no shame in admitting that a book is too difficult. We all have different reading levels, different tastes in books and there is nothing wrong with that. If you suspect that the book you are currently reading takes too big a toll on your energy, try reading something else for a while and see if you still get tired while reading. 

Sometimes you are just sleepy because of the position you are reading in

As I was saying earlier, it is quite easy to confuse the feeling of being tired because of the reading we do with simply being sleepy. One of the most common reasons why we become sleepy as we read is the fact that we make poor choices when it comes to the position we read in.

We are all inclined to choose comfortable positions to read in, but reading while lying down is a sure way to manage to relax too much and become sleepy. Always keep that in mind before you blame reading for making you feel tired. 

How to not feel tired when reading?

Overcoming reading fatigue can be a great challenge, but the good news is that it can be done if you find the cause and use the right strategy and if you are motivated enough.  

Here’s a couple of the most effective ways to prevent getting too tired while reading. 

Read in the morning

By reading at the beginning of the day, you ensure that your brain is in tip top shape when you engage in this activity. There are many advantages to reading early in the morning as opposed to reading at night and one of them is that you simply have more energy, you will find it easier to concentrate and you even have a chance to retain more information from what you read. 

Of course building this habit can be tough, but is well worth it once it becomes part of your daily routine. 

Use Basmo to create a reading schedule

Speaking of getting used to reading in the morning, besides a solid motivation, you will also need some help from a reading tracking app like Basmo. Building healthy habits is not always easy and doing things early in the morning is a challenge for most of us.

By using Basmo, you get access, among other things, to a scheduling feature which allows you to select the days of the week you want to read in and the time of day you want your reading sessions to take place. This is especially helpful if you want to start organizing your reading habits and to have a clear structure for your reading sessions. 

Basmo not only allows you to select the exact times for each session, but will also remind you of all upcoming reading sessions through notifications so that you never miss one. 

Build healthy reading habits

And since we are on the subject of reading habits that can prevent us from getting too tired while reading, Basmo has some other features that can come to your rescue. 

Setting some goals for your reading and using them as motivation to power through tiring reading sessions is a great way of overcoming fatigue. We all know that our state of mind plays a huge role in how we approach the challenges we face. 

Basmo allows you to set daily and yearly reading goals and provides you with ways of visualizing your progress towards meeting them, through comprehensive statistics and progress bars.

You can adjust these goals as you go adapting to how your “reading stamina” evolves: increasing your daily goals in small increments one week after another for example could turn out to be a great way of ensuring that you train yourself to overcome reading fatigue.

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Read in a comfortable position, but not lying down

Reading should always be done in a comfortable position, but never allow yourself to get too comfortable, to the extent that you become sleepy. Reading while lying down, especially if you do it in the evening after a long day, is very likely to result in you falling asleep with the book on your chest. 

To prevent that, try to find a way to read in a comfortable position you know you are unlikely to fall asleep in. Sitting up on a couch for example, or on an armchair. 

Make sure to wear your glasses if you need to

As I was saying a bit earlier, an impaired vision can compromise your ability to read without getting tired. If you suspect you may suffer from any condition that compromises your vision, make sure to get checked out by an eye specialist.

Eye conditions are most likely to result in a necessity to wear glasses. Whether you have to wear them all day long or just when you are involved in activities that put a strain on your eyes, make sure to never forget wearing them while reading. Not wearing them when you read can have much more unpleasant results than getting tired: you can get headaches, become dizzy, have itchy or dry eyes and other things. 

Final thoughts

Answering the question “why do I get tired when I read” requires a great deal of insight into your reading habits, lifestyle and stress levels. Luckily, once the problem behind your reading fatigue is identified, fixing it can be rather easily done.

Especially if you take advantage of the benefits Basmo can bring to your reading, it can be surprisingly easy to overcome the sensation of tiredness that you feel when reading.

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