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8 Helpful Tips to Help You Stay Awake While Reading



How to Stay Awake While Reading: 

Sometimes, it just doesn’t matter how great the book is, you just can’t stay awake when you pick up a book to read. In the car, on the bed, sitting on the couch or even on an uncomfortable wooden bench and so on, it doesn’t matter where you are reading; you quickly fall asleep after reading a few paragraphs. That can be most annoying when you’re trying to study your academic materials and textbooks. You may have been advised previously to make use of caffeine products but I must tell you that while such products may keep you awake, they are not the most effective ways to stay awake. This post outlines some steps you can take whenever you want to stay awake while reading:

1. Read in a place you can stay alert:

Where you stay to read is one of the greatest determinants of how alert you can stay while reading. Some of us like to read in bed. When you get into bed, your body and brain register that you are in bed and start to shut down for sleep. Try reading on a quite comfortable seat or if the sleep problem is serious, maybe in public. It would be embarrassing to fall asleep in a public place! A lot of it has to do with your mind. Read in a place you can stay alert.

2. Try reading at a time you are most awake:

Reading at the proper time of the day is important.  If you read just a few pages of a book and then go to sleep, you teach your brain to get ready to sleep whenever you read. Figure out a time you are most awake and read then. For some people, they are most awake right after they wake up in the morning; others are usually wide awake in the evenings. If you’re usually sleepy in the afternoons around say 3 p.m., it’s not such a good idea to read at that time. Many people like to read at night, but that is when they are most tired. Even though, it all depends on the body system and how you’ve set your biological clock. If you must read at night, make sure it’s at a time you are most awake. It might be useful to also read about why sleep is necessary for learning.

3. Take actions to keep your mind alert while reading:

If the location and time you read seem not to be the problem, and you still find yourself falling asleep while reading, try this one. Sometimes when we read, our minds wander off and we lose focus from the book. Try getting a highlighter and use it to highlight parts of the book while you read without mutilating it. It will also make your mind stay alert to develop sufficient interest in what you’re reading. Also, you can try taking down notes or looking up words you don’t understand in a dictionary. This method is great especially when you’re studying and not just reading. The main idea, is to keep your mind alert while reading.

4. Train your brain to know when it’s time for reading:

Training your brain is one of the best ways to teach yourself to stay awake while reading. If you begin to fall asleep each time you pick up a book to read, it means that your brain has registered that and assumes that’s the way it’s meant to be. You need to make it think otherwise by letting it know that you aren’t reading so that you can fall asleep, you’re reading because you want to know what the book talks about. Read books of more interest to you as often as possible to train your brain to think this way.

5. Never let yourself fall asleep while reading:

Another step you can take is to never allow yourself to fall asleep while reading. If you start to feel yourself drifting off, stop reading immediately and wake yourself up. Do a few jumping jacks, drink some coffee, preferably decaffeinated, or take a cold shower. Doing these things teach your brain that reading time is not sleeping time. Eventually, your brain will learn this and stop triggering the getting-ready-to-sleep mechanism each time a book is in your hands.

6. Sit up straight when reading:

Another way to stay awake is to sit up straight when reading. It’s very difficult to stay awake when you’re lounging in your bed because your brain thinks a bed is for sleeping in. It is also very difficult to stay awake when lying on the sofa which is supposed to be for relaxing. Find a not-too-comfy chair with a straight back and sit in it or if need be, stand. It might sound strange but I know a few people who can do it but falling asleep while standing takes quite a bit of work. You don’t have to read this way always, but doing it for a while will teach your brain that staying awake and alert when it’s time to read is what it’s supposed to do.

7. Develop interest in what you’re reading:

It is important as well to read books that are interesting to you and capture your attention. It is difficult for your brain to shut down for sleep if it is consumed with what is being read. At least until you get over the habit of falling asleep while reading, read books that really interest you. Pay close attention to each word and don’t allow your eyes to skim the page. Think about what you are reading. Consider it. Meditate on it. Be an active reader. Reading is an activity and so many us tend to forget that when reading. Your brain should be involved in some mental gymnastics while you read. If you want to a read a book that seems to be boring to you, research on some interesting things about the subject and why you need to be knowledgeable in that area and fascinate yourself with them.

8. You may want to read aloud if everything else refuses to work:

If you still fall asleep while reading after trying out the other steps, you may want to read aloud. Yes, it might sound quite silly but reading aloud triggers a different section of your brain, especially if the learning style you adopt is auditory. Try reading the book aloud to yourself in front of a mirror and it will be impossible for you to fall asleep. Of course, you’ll have to do this in a location where you’ll not disturb others.

Finally, you don’t have to go through these quite extreme measures forever. Read a book or two while following a good number of these steps and your brain will sooner or later learn that time to read is not a time for sleep. After that, you can sit on a couch and read and not have to drink a cup of coffee to stay awake. It probably still isn’t a good idea to lie in bed and read or read before you go to bed because you may have a relapse. It would be like telling your brain to do two different things at the same time, to sleep and at the same time stay awake and read. This could result in your having to start the process over again so it’s better to just form the habit of reading in a chair.


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