13 Tips On How To Stay Awake While Reading

Sometimes, even if you are reading your favorite book, you just can’t keep your eyes open. Interestingly, sometimes you can stay awake for days. On other days you can barely keep your eyelids open. This can happen even you are reading your favorite book. You love it and you are eager to read more, but you just can’t.

You know the feeling, right? But do you know the ‘why’ behind it?
The truth is that you are probably not losing your passion for reading, just you don’t know how to handle some external factors.

How Not To Fall Asleep While Reading

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there: the moment you let yourself believe that you have so much time within one day to do everything – from studying to laundry. You get so caught up in your to-do list that you believe that you have an extra hour to invest in good reading before sleep. So, you start reading and… you wake up the following day. Yes, you fall asleep. Maybe you just said to yourself – I will just rest my eyes for a second, and the same thing happened – you woke up the following day.

Something about reading makes us fall asleep faster than any other activity, but the real question remains – how not to fall asleep while reading? Check this 13 tips on how to stay awake while reading and test their efficiency tonight, while you are reading your favorite book, of course.

  1. Read the text out loud – this one may help, especially if you are really tired. This is a great practice if you are preparing an exam the night before. Sleep deprivation is common in college graduates that are constantly struggling to find a balance between sleep needs, social life, and great academic performance.

    This method of reading out loud is great if you’re an auditory learner and you can benefit from not only reading the material, but also hearing. The chances are weaker that you will fall asleep when you’re in the middle of a sentence.

    Plus, if you have a study buddy, you can read together and your partner can read while you listen and vice versa. Moreover, you can discuss the material once you’ he finished the reading to make sure that you got all the main points.

  2. Go out – we’re human beings, therefore we follow the rules of social behavior. It’s much less socially acceptable to fall asleep in a coffee shop than in your dorm, home, or even office.

    Be sure to step out from your comfort zone and put yourself in a situation where you just might be embarrassed to be caught sleeping. The chances are that you’re much more likely to focus on your reading.

  3. Don’t make your self too comfortable – it’s ok to make yourself a little bit uncomfortable. This should be a general rule – don’t study in your bed. Your body, together with your brain is trained to associate bed with sleeping. Even if you’re awake and don’t feel like sleeping as soon as you spend some time in bed lying, you will fall asleep.

    Nothing says a long nap as warm and cozy bed. Find a place where you can read/study where you have to sit up straight or where you can’t get too comfortable as you’d like. However, this doesn’t mean that you should put yourself in a position where you go through some kind of pain. Avoid back pain and stay alert as long as possible.

  4. Cold water is your strongest ally – it’s great to wake yourself up with something cold, whether you splash water on your face, drink ice water, or just take a cool shower.

    All in, a little bit of cold can be refreshing and keep you awake. The easiest way is to take a cold beverage. Make sure that you sip on it regularly and you may start to feel a little more awake, especially if it contains the caffeinated beverage. Plus, fluids have to go out, so you will have to make frequent bathroom visits.

    Note: don’t mix this need to visit the bathroom often with need to visit bathroom while you sleep, as its usually a severe medical condition.

  5. Mind the time – you should pay attention to the time. After all, you know your body the best, so you know when you’re most productive.

    For some people, working and reading late at night is the best time to reach their productive peak, while for others nothing says productivity like early morning. Read when you know that you are fresh and capable of enjoying it truly. That being said, pay attention to your body and when you feel awake, go for more intensive work. Otherwise, just rest.

  6. Get enough sleep – lack of sleep is common reason for falling asleep while reading. We, humans, are designed in that manner that we need specific hours of sleep during each life cycle to remain fresh, productive, and overall happy.

    Sometimes you will sleep for more than 8 hours, while sometimes you only manage to get five solid hours of sleep, it depends on your lifestyle. If you can, always choose sleep over anything else.

  7. Read actively – there is a huge difference between reading and reading actively. If you go for active reading, meaning you take notes, underline mean ideas, or just highlight the important text you will keep your brain busy and more active.

    Reading word afterword can put you to sleep, while active reading keeps you awake and more engaged with your material. Also, it is far more challenging to fall asleep when you’re doing something a little more involved than staring at words on a page.

  8. Go page by page – don’t expect it to do it all at once. You can’t expect to sit down and read an entire book without getting bored, or even falling asleep. So, don’t be too hard on yourself when your body and brain just won’t cooperate. Instead, have shorter and frequent breaks.

    Set small goals and go toward them, such as – read a chapter in 25 minutes. If you’re studying for an exam achieve a small goal – have a snack break – achieve another small goal – walk for 10 minutes on fresh air and when you finish your assignment reward yourself with extra Netflix time.

  9. Have a proper drink – cold water is always a great choice to keep you fresh. Also, you can go for heavily caffeinated beverages to stay alert. Just don’t overdo with beverages based on caffeine, because you could hurt your sleep schedule, disrupt your heart rhythm and initiate a line of serious health complications. In some rare cases, overmuch use of caffeinated beverages can lead to death.
  10. Try not to be bored – if you are preparing an important test or presentation that you are not into, try not to be bored.

    You can simply pretend that you are interested in. With that interest, you will find the strength to read the material and eventually understand it. Just tell yourself that this reading is interesting and it will become the most interesting topic in the world. You may not end up liking it, but it just might trick your brain into staying alert.

  11. Eat – have the proper food around you. Make sure that you have some energy-boosting food on hand reach, including eggs, yogurt, fruit, and nuts. Overall, these ingredients will boost your energy level and help you stay alert.

    Great food for mid-afternoon would be an apple. Stay away from candy and chocolate. It won’t help you stay alert and it’s not healthy.

  12. Mind your environment – your environment is important in every day actions.

    You are more likely to enjoy reading more while your surrounding is peaceful and sound-free. On the other hand, if your surrounding is dimmed, you’re probably going to fall asleep. Therefore, make sure that your lights are on, window shades open, and music isn’t too calming.

  13. Move – you can try to walk and read to keep your mind and your body stimulated. You may notice that your focus is significantly improved. Plus, it’s probably impossible to fall asleep while you’re moving. If you are reading for the exam on the following day, you can have a long reading section and then have a short workout session of 10 push-ups or similar. Just keep it short.

Overall, people may struggle to stay awake for many different reasons, so the best thing that you can do is to understand how your body works. Understanding your body needs means that you know what helps you stay active and productive. Moreover, you know how not to drift off. Sometimes, regardless of how much you would love to spend the night reading your favorite book your mind simply doesn’t allow it.

In most cases, the reason behind this is seen in your sleep schedule and lack of sleep. If this is the case, your body will try to do as much as possible to compensate for missed sleep. While it would be nice to sleep when your body demands it, sometimes your busy schedule simply won’t allow it. In those situations, you should do everything possible to keep yourself awake as long as it won’t harm your health.

Reasons Why People Fall Asleep Easily

On the other hand, some people simply fall asleep easily and others believe it comes naturally. However, the truth is far from that. There are top 4 reasons why people fall asleep easily and you should think about them as well if you want to stay awake longer.

Full Stomach

Many foods produce chemicals, such as serotonin, melatonin, or even orexin that can evoke a feeling of tiredness. Besides, tryptophan may also cause people to be tired after easing. This chemical is found in turkey, and the majority of dairy products, including eggs, avocados, spinach and more.


Warmth can always make you sleepy. Therefore, a decrease in blood pressure could have a calming effect. If you are suffering from severe health condition there are chances that you may react to tiredness faster.


If you travel frequently, or just moving around the city a lot, you can expect to be tired for the majority of the day. Also, traveling can create high levels of stress and jet lag. Even more, the soothing rocking of a vehicle could lead to sleepiness.


Modern life asks for a lot of sacrifices to get things done. In most cases, it means sacrificing sleep to get most of the things or getting everything done. Naturally, it leads to exhaustion and passing out at random hours.

So, you must understand why you fall asleep even when you are not feeling that tired or sleepy, you should address this occurrence and monitor how you react toward them, so you could stay awake longer.

How Not To Fall Asleep While Reading – Key Takeaways

Reading is a mandatory act that we perform on a daily level. Nowadays, with mobile phones and available content online 24/7 you can guess that we read a lot. Add to that some exams and test period and you will spend the majority of time reading.

However, nothing beats reading a good book before you go to sleep. But, in some cases, you start reading text that you are passionate about and you just woke up the following day. What happened? Simply, you fall asleep.

Many different ways may help you stay awake while you are reading, from drinking cold, setting and achieving short goals and short breaks, to drinking beverages with a high amount of caffeine. However, it’s up to you to see which approach works for you the most and use the most from it. You need to listen to your body to get the most out of your time being awake.