Discussion: Do You Read in Bed?

The Guardian recently asked a vital and important question: How many of us still read in bed?

It’s 2017, and we have more digital distractions than ever. Between streaming videos, social media, old media (email), and mobile games, it is difficult to simply remember the title of book you’re reading, much less finish a phonebook-sized work like the latest installment in the Game of Thrones series.

That’s why The Guardian‘s Howard Jacobson does not read in bed.

And now that we have the wherewithal to read uninterrupted through the night, how many of us avail ourselves of it?

I point no accusing finger. It’s an age since I last read a book in bed. Once I couldn’t sleep until I’d managed at least 30 pages of a novel. True, a sleep in the arms of Elizabeth Bennet or The Lady With The Little Dog was sweeter than one in which I sailed into the Heart Of Darkness or stole a file for Magwitch, but a word-induced sleep was deep either way. Now I watch the news until late. Others raid their collection of box sets. Neither ministers to a good rest. Better The Sopranos than Trump for Dummies (or should that be Dummies for Trump?), but it still isn’t like curling up with a good book. I don’t say the difference is qualitative, only that there’s an intimacy in bedtime reading that might have something to do with the pillows and the sheets, but is more about what happens when you move your eyes across a page.

Do you still read in bed?

I do – or at least I try to read in bed every night. Some nights get away from me, but for the most part I make  point of turning off the computer a couple hours before bed so I can go read a book.

How about you? Do you still make time to read in bed?

image by slightly everythin

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Suz6 November, 2017

    Yes, I do. I cannot read unless I have read at least a couple of pages of my book as soon as I get into bed. It does backfire when I get lost on the book and find four hours have passed.

  2. Suz6 November, 2017

    :). Meant cannot relax….

  3. Byrdie6 November, 2017

    Yes, and I must confess it’s my favorite place to read because I have no other distractions then. I can just relax with a good book on my Kobo and the radio playing my favorite light jazz until I’m ready to fall asleep. Only downside I can think of is occasionally getting so into a book that it’s three in the morning and I’m still reading. Oops!

  4. BDR6 November, 2017

    About half of my reading is done in bed. In fact, reading in bed is about the *only* use for the Oasis 1. The screen is tiny compared to my usual Aura One but it’s a lot more convenient than a larger device for the purpose.

  5. Angela Korra'ti6 November, 2017

    I don’t. Couple of reasons why. One, I try to keep devices out of my bedroom in general unless my wife is out of town, in which case I’ll have my phone by the bed in case she needs to call me for an emergency.

    Two, we don’t have a light or a lamp right by the bed, so I’d wind up having to get up to turn the light off, which would be a bit counterproductive if the idea is to relax and eventually drop off to sleep.

    Three, I also wear contact lenses that I take out every night. I wouldn’t be able to read without them, so I’d have to get up to do that, too.

    1. tired8 November, 2017

      This. No reading, no tv, no nothing while in bed. I do tend to read in the evening, but that is in my reading chair.

      1. Angela Korra'ti8 November, 2017

        Yeah, by the time I actually make it to bed, I want to _sleep_!

        I do totally agree that reading is an excellent way to wind down for that, though. Assuming you’re not reading a horror novel. 😀

  6. Carmen Webster Buxton6 November, 2017

    Yes! I love my Kindle Oasis for reading in bed because I can increase the font size to read without my glasses and the LEDs mean I don’t need a lamp to be on.

  7. Anne6 November, 2017

    Yes. It’s often the only time I get a chance to read. With my Voyage it’s even better because I don’t have to wear my glasses and I don’t need a light on.

  8. Robert Spencer7 November, 2017

    Yes, it’s one of my favourite places to read. The other being laying down on the couch to read.

  9. Steve Vernon7 November, 2017

    I always have a heap of books by my bed. It’s really quite stylish looking.

  10. Harvey Stanbrough7 November, 2017

    Almost every night, either my Kindle Paperwhite or a paperback.

  11. Ingo Lembcke, Hamburg7 November, 2017

    Yes, almost every night, one reason is that I can stop anytime. This would be also true for Netflix / Prime / iTunes, but with Blu-ray and downloaded files it is hit-or-miss, sometimes it works (BR), a lot of times not (files, when I switch off the play the place gets lost). Also it takes more time to switch everything off.

  12. Sharon Reamer7 November, 2017

    Almost every morning, curled up with my cat. I’m often too tired to read much in the evenings, and my DH is a sleep diva so no paperbacks after lights out. On days I don’t have to drag myself in to work, it is my guilty pleasure to lounge around reading often until late morning. I don’t have many guilty pleasures, so I’m not about to give up on this one.

  13. Mary7 November, 2017

    I would have a hard time getting to sleep without reading for awhile in bed on my new Oasis. Unlike many of the others above, I shut it down when I get sleepy, no matter how exciting the story is. Occasionally I will read a Scribd book on my iPad, but prefer the Oasis at night as it is lighter and not backlit.

  14. Albin Foro7 November, 2017

    Often with audiobooks using earplugs – and often doze off losing place. It’s why I’d like to see ebook texts provided with audiobooks as standard practice.

  15. Frank7 November, 2017

    Yes, I read in bed or at least try to. Sometimes time gets away and it is too late to read but ever since the Paperwhite 1 in 2012 I have been reading in bed a lot due to the built-in light

  16. Marilynn Byerly7 November, 2017

    Not in the traditional sense. Sometimes, I do stretch out on my bed with a heating pad on my sore back and read. The problem is that my Nook keeps slipping out of my hand and bonking me on the nose. Fortunately, the glasses, the Nook, and the nose have survived these encounters. My preferred reading method is a lounge chair in the living room. I read around 250 books a year, but I try not to read at bedtime because I have trouble putting a book down at a sensible time. Last night, I didn’t make it to bed until after 1:00, and I had an early morning appointment. And, sadly, the book wasn’t that exciting.

    And watching news before bed is insomnia and stress waiting to happen. Find some cat or music videos or the cartoon channel or something. Much better for sleeping.

  17. Scotto7 November, 2017

    I try to read a few pages every night and a few chapters on weekend mornings when I wake up before my spouse. I find I prefer my iPad Mini with the black background setting at night because it’s easier on the eyes and projects less light to bother my spouse. My Kindle Voyage has too little contrast to read comfortably on the lower light settings and it’s too bright on the brighter settings. I keep the Voyage by my reading chair in the living room and also use it outside during the summer months.

    I find reading relaxes me into sleep mode after the excitement of watching the increasingly depressing news followed by Colbert’s hilariously funny monologues roasting tRump. I also take the iPad to work to read during lunch because of it’s case’s built-in stand and it’s use as a mini-laptop.

  18. fahirsch8 November, 2017

    I am 72 years old. I read most of the day. But specifically books (or rather ebooks since 5 years ago): I use mostly my Kindle Paperwhite 5th Gen, on public transportation, in bed, in the toilet and the bathtub (my Kindle in a ziplock bag. No more ruined books!)

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