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What's up with reading?
Old 07-25-2013, 04:30 PM   #1
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What's up with reading?

The nap thread made me want to ask this.

I have way too much energy to nap in the day. As I said in that thread I did nap on a commuter van for 15-20 minutes on the way home but that was the only time since I was a child that I have napped.

So since I have so much energy that I can't nap why does reading a book put me to sleep? It may take 15 minutes and it may take an hour but it is very difficult for me to read a book regardless of the time of day.

Notice I said book. I can read the monitor all day long no problem. I read the newspaper every day whether at noon or 7 pm no problem. Put a book, any book, in my hands and I struggle to stay awake! I tested this one day at 9 am after a good night's sleep and I swear that within 20 minutes I was nodding off! That shocked me.

Sometimes if the book is really good I'm ok, I read 11/22/63 and for the most part I was wide awake but towards the end I was having trouble staying alert.

I wasn't like this years ago but I can't say whether it this started 20 or 10 years ago. I don't like to read books due to this.

Any ideas why?
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:36 PM   #2
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Maybe you need sleep, but thinking/worrying about something is keeping you awake. Reading distracts you from that, you relax, and sleepiness takes over.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:37 PM   #3
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When you were younger, did you read at bedtime before turning the lights out? If so, then maybe you associate reading with going to sleep?

I can't think of too many other reasons. Do you need new glasses? Maybe your eyes are getting tired and the tired eyes are putting you to sleep.
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Old 07-25-2013, 05:29 PM   #4
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I think it depends on the book.

I had a book that was highly recommended by a good friend, and I started reading it one night just before bed. I continued for the next seven or eight months, by which time I had reached approximately page 38.

I started to swear by (not at) that book as the finest sleeping aid I had ever heard of.

I then put it away for a number of years, but while having trouble sleeping one night, I dug it out and started it again. Same result.

Now I always know where to find it when needed, and most of the time that simple fact is enough. About 27 years after first dipping into it, I have reached maybe page 75 (out of maybe 500).
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
...About 27 years after first dipping into it, I have reached maybe page 75 (out of maybe 500).
And if you can still remember what's on page 1, can I take that as a proof that you do not have Alzheimer?

You should keep doing this routine, and as long as you can still follow the story, I'd say that you are doing well keeping senility at bay.

Occasionally, I would find a book that I'd stay up reading until it was done. What's interesting for me may be boring to somebody else, but I have reported on some of these in the "What you read recently" thread. These may put others to sleep quickly, but were fascinating to me.

Recently, I have found that movies on DVD put me to sleep. And those were the ones that I thought would be interesting. I have been known to snore in a movie theater, watching an action movie that my wife and children insisted that I went with them to watch. Wife gave me the elbow, saying that the nearby audience gave us the dirty look because of my loud snore!

Can't remember what the movie was, honestly. I was busy snoring, remember?
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:32 PM   #6
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It is difficult for me to read, also. I used to read a lot when I was younger. But, nowdays a book will do that to me, too. We go go go and when we set down and relax to read, that's what happens. For me, maybe after I retire, life will slow down some and reading can be included again.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:58 PM   #7
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Books don't me to sleep, but when I wake up in the middle of the night, watching some TV never fails to put me out again, usually in an hour or less. There's almost nothing interesting on TV anymore, guess I am turning into my Dad as I age...
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:01 PM   #8
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I can't read a book without falling asleep either. Just got "how the states got their shapes" I can only read about 10 pages before I doze off. But I can watch the same series on tv for hours
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:05 PM   #9
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I have that reaction, too, lately (finding myself bored with reading). And yet I've always loved reading, books, bookstores, and libraries. It may be that the books are no longer offering me anything new. I notice this. I pick up a book and so often the ideas are familiar. So part of it is the material itself is not interesting or stimulating.

Part of it, too, is reading by its nature is far less stimulating than watching something on TV (Midpack's comment notwithstanding). There are just words on a page, to which you are required to sustain attention for a long period of time, as opposed to dynamic images and sounds designed to capture attention, coming from a big screen.

And then, another part is the quietness of reading. It is a solitary activity with no noise. Most other things involve activity or noise of some kind.

Also, and I don't think this can be discounted, is the fact that most writing is actually pretty poor. I'm not claiming mine is any exception, but most writers do not know how to write in a sharp, concise way that grabs and holds the reader's attention and delivers a high ratio of signal to noise. Instead, you tend to get a lot of verbosity... I grew up reading Nietzsche. Whatever his flaws as a philosopher, he was fantastically talented at saying things in a brief, memorable burst. Most writers just aren't that good. It's like they just want to fill the page.

Finally, I think the pace of reading is something that doesn't match our typical social pace. We have a sped-up society, and reading is a slow-burn activity. You'll often have to pay sustained attention for a long time before something interesting happens. That's just not the way media works anymore. It's not the pace we live at anymore.

Still, I love books and reading. They have shaped my life and given me things nothing else could have.
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veremchuka View Post
The nap thread made me want to ask this.

I have way too much energy to nap in the day. As I said in that thread I did nap on a commuter van for 15-20 minutes on the way home but that was the only time since I was a child that I have napped.

So since I have so much energy that I can't nap why does reading a book put me to sleep? It may take 15 minutes and it may take an hour but it is very difficult for me to read a book regardless of the time of day.

Notice I said book. I can read the monitor all day long no problem. I read the newspaper every day whether at noon or 7 pm no problem. Put a book, any book, in my hands and I struggle to stay awake! I tested this one day at 9 am after a good night's sleep and I swear that within 20 minutes I was nodding off! That shocked me.

Sometimes if the book is really good I'm ok, I read 11/22/63 and for the most part I was wide awake but towards the end I was having trouble staying alert.

I wasn't like this years ago but I can't say whether it this started 20 or 10 years ago. I don't like to read books due to this.

Any ideas why?
No ideas why Vere, but you are describing me. My routine for the day is totally ruined if I can't start the day out a with a full coffee pot and a through digesting of the morning newspaper. I can waste a day away on a computer reading anything, which I try not to, but put a book in my hand, and my eyes get heavy. Plus I find them boring now that the Internet was invented.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:28 PM   #11
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Thanks for the replies. I see others have this issue too, it's not just me. I'll reply to some comments below.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
Maybe you need sleep, but thinking/worrying about something is keeping you awake. Reading distracts you from that, you relax, and sleepiness takes over.
No I sleep fairly well, I wake up rested, I have way too much energy to nap BUT pick up a book even at 10 am when I woke up at 7 am and .... well you know what happens!

Quote:
Originally Posted by W2R View Post
When you were younger, did you read at bedtime before turning the lights out? If so, then maybe you associate reading with going to sleep?

I can't think of too many other reasons. Do you need new glasses? Maybe your eyes are getting tired and the tired eyes are putting you to sleep.
No I never read before bed in the past. My eyes do bother me though. I didn't mention this but my right eye tears (never have been able to find out why for many years) a lot and both need to have moisture removed by a tissue constantly so this adds to my inability to read though I don't see that as why I fall asleep. I have my eyes checked by an Ophthalmologist every 12 months and they are fine. He tells me my vision has gone from 20/15 to 20/20 to 20/30 and now 20 or 25/40. My right eye is really noticeably bad compared to the left to me but many would kill to see that well. And again I can read the paper or the monitor and I don't have any trouble staying awake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronstar View Post
I can't read a book without falling asleep either. Just got "how the states got their shapes" I can only read about 10 pages before I doze off. But I can watch the same series on tv for hours
Yes I can sit in front of the tv for hours and if the show is interesting I have no trouble staying awake so I rule out sitting still staring at it like sitting still staring at the pages in a book. I'm recording all 48 or 50+ hours of Breaking Bad and 7 days before the new season starts i will sit down for a marathon of hours per day watching them to get the entire story fresh and in context.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ER Eddie View Post
I have that reaction, too, lately (finding myself bored with reading). And yet I've always loved reading, books, bookstores, and libraries. It may be that the books are no longer offering me anything new. I notice this. I pick up a book and so often the ideas are familiar. So part of it is the material itself is not interesting or stimulating.

Part of it, too, is reading by its nature is far less stimulating than watching something on TV (Midpack's comment notwithstanding). There are just words on a page, to which you are required to sustain attention for a long period of time, as opposed to dynamic images and sounds designed to capture attention, coming from a big screen.

And then, another part is the quietness of reading. It is a solitary activity with no noise. Most other things involve activity or noise of some kind.

Also, and I don't think this can be discounted, is the fact that most writing is actually pretty poor. I'm not claiming mine is any exception, but most writers do not know how to write in a sharp, concise way that grabs and holds the reader's attention and delivers a high ratio of signal to noise. Instead, you tend to get a lot of verbosity... I grew up reading Nietzsche. Whatever his flaws as a philosopher, he was fantastically talented at saying things in a brief, memorable burst. Most writers just aren't that good. It's like they just want to fill the page.

Finally, I think the pace of reading is something that doesn't match our typical social pace. We have a sped-up society, and reading is a slow-burn activity. You'll often have to pay sustained attention for a long time before something interesting happens. That's just not the way media works anymore. It's not the pace we live at anymore.

Still, I love books and reading. They have shaped my life and given me things nothing else could have.
I agree with all the red text.

I guess the answer may well be that to me reading is boring! Purron mentioned 11/22/63 and the plot of the story interested me so I got the book from the library. i tore through it until about 2/3 done and then I was starting to struggle, no idea why but maybe the story slowed but I don't recall it being boring. I don't know, maybe I'm just too visually stimulated, maybe that's why tv doesn't effect me the way reading does.
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