Best Reading Positions to Read Comfortably in Bed

Finding a comfortable position to read in bed is not an easy task for regular readers. In the wrong reading position, it’s easy to become distracted by the pain and stop yourself from enjoying your book. Whatever bed reading position you go for is important. Otherwise, you end up restless and fidgety, no longer in the mood of continuing with your reading.

Sitting Upright in Bed

Probably the most common reading position out there.

Despite not being the most comfortable one, it does by far hold the most possibilities of customization. While sitting upright in bed, you can cross your legs and place a pillow on top to support your book above your lap. You can also slightly slouch for a more relaxing touch. Or simply sit upright with your back against the headboard to fully support your upper body.

Reading a book can hold many advantages, but not so much when it’s done sitting upright in bed. Unfortunately, countless scientific studies have correlated upright sitting positions with hunchback postural problems. When you read, your upper body leans forward towards the book causing strain in the neck, and hyperextension in your shoulders that leads to back pain.

The spinal flexion that creates hunchback, risks problems of herniated lumbar discs and varicose veins to name a few. Plus most beds have a hard headboard which isn’t the most comfortable surface to rest your back against.

In order to sit up in bed and comfortably read a book, it’s recommended that you use a backrest pillow with arms to properly support your body and avoid chances of back or neck pain.


Supine tops our list as the most relaxing position for reading in bed. Reading in this position allows you to fully disengage from everything exhausting except your story.

As you concentrate more on the story, you’re likely to doze off in the same bed position which is a comfortable sleeping position on its own. I mean you’re already curled up in bed with the warm fluffy comforters wrapped around your body…what more could you ask for?

But the supine position is still problematic for the strain on your neck and your eyes as you bend forward to read. The good news, we’ve already discussed this problem earlier. You can use prism glasses in your supine position to tackle both neck flexion and weakening eyesight.


When the supine position starts to get old, your body rolls onto its side to change things up for more comfort.

Whatever side position you stretch out in, whether you have one arm straightened out, or propped under your head, lying on your side can be an uncomfortable way of reading in bed.

The problem is that your arms lose blood circulation in all of these side positions and more, which makes it too stressful on the body to look at your book sideways. Still, this position deserves some points as it does allow you to curl up in a fetal position while reading a good book in bed.

How Does Reading Before Bed Affect Your Sleep?

Reading before bed relaxes your body.

It attempts to reduce stress levels by keeping your mind distracted from the daily worries that cause tension. Stories can make your consciousness hop up on another plane and move along their fictional world instead. This way, your mind remains occupied from the stressors that plague your daily exhaustion.

Reading slows down your breathing and calms you down enough to let you doze off in a much more restful sleep. It eases up the tension in your muscles and slows down your breathing to make you feel more relaxed so you sleep better.

Neuroscience research also suggests that sustained reading patterns before bed train our brains to concentrate and think better in the face of complex problems.

Studies have revealed that bedtime readers make an average of $3,705 more annually than those who do not read before bed. Perhaps, one of the reasons why famous personality Bill Gates swears by this nightly ritual.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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