Reading Sitting vs. Lying — What’s Better for Your Health?


Reading a good book - a fine pleasure of life to many. Also, students - the long time reader. And the professional ones - they read as well. Retired persons are most likely to read and housewives are also willing to read sometimes.

The readers are of different classes and ages. And most of them tend to read lying down. Even if someone has the best reading chair at home, he/she may like to read lying on the bed. Although there is a lot of people who also read sitting down.

Now the question arises - is it more logical and healthy to read while sitting down or lying down? Which one? Let's take a look at the facts.

There is an optimal reading distance. That means the space between the book and your eyes. And the distance should be about 15 inches. Also, there is an angle for ideal reading, which is 60 degrees.

Let's imagine, you read from a lying down position. In this instance - your eyes have to focus upwards. And this is less than the optimal angle that can cause eyestrain.

And if you continue to do this for a long time, then the strain can be more severe. This condition is known as Asthenopia.

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Now, let's talk about eye's fatigue. It is similar as the muscle tiredness in the rest of the body. And a subtle instance of it - which you may notice frequently if you read while in bed, is it's taking a bit longer to read each sentence. This eye fatigue is kind of Asthenopia. And more symptoms of it are - discomfort in or around the eyes, blurred vision, headache or sometimes dual vision.

This eyestrain does not inflict any permanent damage with the habit of reading while in bed lying. But it is still better to be aware of this. Because it can gradually make your reading experience bitter.

Now, when you read while sitting down, the light is actually towards the surface. And it provides excellent lighting - that is quite ideal for reading therefore the eyes. Also, it's pretty good for other body parts like the neck. When you sit down and read a book, your neck is relaxed and it's only looking down.

When you lie down on your back face up and holding the book over your face, you can from this position notice that the light is maybe against the reading material. And it makes the reading a bit harder as the book looks a bit darker. So, it's not quite good for the eyes.

Another scenario is that when you take the book just above your chest, then your eyes tend to look down than what they are used to. Also, your neck tries to lift a bit. So what happens then here is - it gets annoying to read and the neck starts to strain.

Once again, another common scenario - is to read while you lie down on your stomach and your head is supported by your hand. In this case, you put the book on the ground, when your head is likely to stay between the source of light and the book you are reading. However, in this case it also gets quite straining for both of your wrists and neck.

Now if you lie down on your stomach to read a book, then you should consider or remember what happens. But, still it's okay to read book this way. Only do not continue it for a long time. 

Still if you're considering reading while on your stomach, then read - it can change the normal curves of the spine. And it can lead towards neck and back pain. Remember, when you're doing it for a long time - then you're putting a lot of stress on your body. Also, when you're extending your neck and placing your hands to an awkward position to read, all of it then creates pressure on the key joints. So, gradually it can lead towards a great harm.

There's a medical issue named Sciatica - it happens when you put too much pressure on the lower back. And study shows - this Sciatica can even lead towards constipation and bowel issues.

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Now there are lot medical and spiritual entities that prohibit reading books while lying down. And the reason behind it is because your backbone does not stay straight. And so many other things as mentioned above.

So, when the body is in pain and trouble, then you're not actually focused on reading. So, to be focused and to pay more concentration to the book, you need to consider your ergonomic position. Therefore it's always better and always been suggested to read while sitting down. It's in one side healthy and logical. So avoid reading while on the bed.

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