How to Comfortably Read in Bed

Last Updated on July 13, 2024

by Marc Werner, Founder - GhostBed

One of the best ways to spend some quiet time is with a book in bed. Reading in bed is a relaxing way to end the day, which can in turn help you unwind and fall asleep faster, once it's time to turn out the lights!

But it's important to make sure that you're comfortable while doing it, as it's easy to end up with neck and back pain. There are a few things you can do to make reading in bed more comfortable. Keep reading for six tips from our Sleep Experts.

A couple reads magazines in their GhostBed Adjustable Bed Base.

1. Get in the Perfect Position

Do you love reading at night but hate feeling cramped and uncomfortable? If so, you're not alone. Many people struggle to find a comfortable position when reading in bed. Below are some recommendations that experts suggest.

First, get into an upright position, with your spine and neck supported. You can achieve this by sitting up against your headboard or reclining against pillows. Use a wedge (or "sit up") pillow if you need extra support. You might also want to add a pillow to your lap. This will provide a place for your arms and wrists to rest. It will also keep your book closer to your face, reducing strain on your neck and eyes.

Second, you'll also want some support under your knees. Stretch those legs in front of you and place a pillow underneath them for a DIY "zero gravity" position.

Hot tip: You can get into this position easily using an adjustable base—more on this later!

2. Get Your Lighting Right

Make sure the room is well-lit so you don't need to strain your eyes. If you need additional light, use a reading lamp. Adjust the light so it's shining directly on the book, not your eyes. You can also pick up a clip-on reading light that uses LED bulbs to illuminate your pages.

3. Consider a Book Holder

Now that you have the perfect position and lighting, it's time to focus on your book. If you're reading a paperback, you can invest in a book holder pillow (aka book seat). This will help keep the pages open and reduce hand cramps. If you're reading on an electronic device, consider using a case with a built-in light. This will make it easier to read in low-light conditions and will keep the blue light from keeping you awake.

4. Pick Up Some Prism Glasses

If you suffer from poor vision, reading in bed can be a challenge. One way to improve your reading experience is to use prism glasses, which allow you to see at a perfect 90-degree angle toward your feet. With this inexpensive accessory, you'll be able to read with less eye strain.

5. Get Up and Move

Time can fly when you're digging into a page-turner. But make sure to get up every so often and walk around to rev up your circulation. Try setting a goal to get up after each chapter or every 30 pages. Your neck and back will thank you!

6. Use an Adjustable Base

A couple reads while sitting on an adjustable bed base.

This final tip is the best one, in our opinion! An adjustable power base is an awesome upgrade if you love reading in bed. Whether you're looking to sit upright without moving your pillows or you want to relax into the zero gravity position, an adjustable provides the support you need to stay comfortable while you read.

In addition, many adjustable bed bases come with built-in features that can help you relax as you enjoy your book. With the GhostBed Adjustable Base, for example, you can choose from 3 whisper-quiet massage settings as you read.

Want to stay up and read without bothering your partner? With our Split King Adjustable Set, you get the same large sleeping area that a king provides, but with the flexibility of two separate mattresses and bases.

Enjoy complete customization and a pre-set position that's perfect for reading in bed, all at an affordable price.

Reading in Bed FAQ

Still have questions? Here are some of the FAQs we get and what the experts have to say.

Could reading in bed be bad for you?

Reading in bed is comforting and prepares you for sleep. But some folks wonder if it can do any harm. If you use a digital device to read, there's a chance the blue light could be interacting negatively with your natural sleep cycle (or circadian rhythm). If you're worried about this, go old-school with a hard copy of your favorite author's most recent work.

What's the best position to read a book?

Just like there's no ideal position for sleeping, this boils down to personal preference. But for the best posture, it's smart to support your back and make sure your neck isn't crooked forward. Hold your book at eye level, and stretch your legs in front of you with a supportive pillow under your knees. An adjustable bed with head and foot elevation makes it easier than ever to get into this position.

Will reading in bed help me fall asleep?

Reading in bed is a common practice to reduce stress. It can also help you fall asleep faster by distracting your mind for a bit! In fact, a 2022 study found that those who read before bed caught an average of about an hour and a half more sleep than non-readers.

Marc Werner - Founder, GhostBed

Marc Werner

Founder - GhostBed

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Marc has spent the last two decades designing & manufacturing mattresses and other sleep products, drawing on a lifetime of experience working with the material sciences. With several patents to his name, he works closely with the GhostBed team to create products with the perfect balance of comfort & support. Learn More

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