Does Reading In Bed Hurt Your Neck?

Reading in awkward positions can cause strain to your body parts which is why it’s always best to be comfortable …..otherwise, your study sessions won’t be very fruitful or easy.

People usually experience pain in different areas when they read in uncomfortable positions.

One of the most talked uncomfortable reading experiences is experiencing neck pain during reading… Especially for those people that like to read in bed.

This post will discuss neck pain and reading in bed to answer a specific query that I found in a number of reading forums online.

Without further ado let’s get into it….

So, Does reading in bed hurt your neck?

Reading in bed can sometimes hurt your neck when you do it in uncomfortable positions like lying down with your head on a thick pillow. Straining the neck is a bad idea and may eventually lead to serious damage that may need to be corrected by a doctor or a chiropractor.

How to read comfortably in bed

Pillows on back

One way to avoid straining your neck while reading in bed is by placing pillows on your back while you sit up…

Avoid lying on your back with thick pillows supporting your head because that will just make your neck hurt.

The general rule here is to sit upright and many doctors say this is the best way to read.

Lay on belly

Sitting upright as we’ve discussed is a better way to read rather than having a bunch of pillows propped under your head…

Another alternative to having pillows under you head is laying on your belly while you read.

I’ve found this way of reading to be quite effective.

(It may be effective but it’s still not ideal according to doctors and chiropractors.)

Reading while laying on your back has to be done with a small pillow under your belly in order to prevent your back from arching.


We need breaks from everything.

Even with reading, the last thing you want to do is strain your body for hours.

Get out of bed and try to give yourself a little break.

You can take walks between your reading sessions so you keep the blood flowing and reserve some of your energy.

Prepare some coffee or snacks or shake a leg, just do anything that gives your body a break from being in one posture for a long period.

I have an article detailing some of the snacks you can consider eating while you read, you can check it out here.

You need to take breaks because they will help you enhance your concentration as well as the curiosity to get back to what you were reading….

therefore making the read an even more pleasurable one.

Reading pillows

To avoid sharp pain in your neck, shoulder, or back, using a reading pillow can allow you to enjoy reading for extended periods of time.

A reading pillow is essentially a backrest pillow chair with arms that stop you from propping up at awkward angles which could potentially cause pain in your neck as well as your lower back.

Reading pillows provide the necessary support by cushioning your upper body and keeping your back and neck firm. Which is very important in ensuring that you don’t cause any damage or end up hurting your neck or your back.

These pillows relieve any aches or pains in your shoulders while reading.

i believe that your reading experience should be with utmost comfort therefore, using reading pillows will  ensure that you don’t to stack up pillows for back support in order to stay up to read in bed which may hurt your neck.

The bed

The idea of reading in bed is usually to keep you awake until you eventually fall wsleep while reading and in the comfort of your own bed. In order to wake up feeling well-rested.

Therefore its cardinal that you have a good quality bed and beddings which can add value to your reading experience.

Choose sheets with a higher thread count that are very soft to the touch so you can be comfortable while reading.

Irritating beds, bedding, unclean sheets, or items that aren’t suitable for certain weather can end up being uncomfortable for your reading experience.

You might fall into restless sleep or continually feel like you have to adjust your position.

Also having too many things on the bed can make you get into an uncomfortable reading positions that would essentially hurt your neck, back and other body parts.


Is reading in bed bad?

Reading in bed is not bad if you do it in a comfortable posture. If you however are uncomfortable while reading, I’d advise you not to do it and just stick to sitting positions.

Reading uncomfortably will make reading unpleasurable and you’ll constantly have to fight your body to keep it in one position before switching to the next when you start to feel pain.

Causing too much strain on the back, shoulders and neck and your other body parts can cause severe damage. Therefore, if you want to avoid needing medical attention then I suggest you give up entirely on the idea of reading in bed.

Alternatively, use one of the techniques discussed above to make your reading easier and convenient.

What type of book should you read before bed?

Reading before bed should be easy on you and I advise you not to put too much pressure yourself.

Therefore I recommend just reading a short and simple book that can keep you engaged before you eventually doze off.

Rather than picking up something complex.

You can read a few pages of a long book that is easy to grasp.

The last thing you want to do is engage in a hard book that will make your head hurt.

How long should you read in bed?

Reading in bed should be brief really. I know some people like to spend a lot of time reading in bed but I generally prefer not.

I believe reading in bed should only be about 10-15 minutes.

Most people easily fall asleep within the first 10 minutes any way.

Helpful Resources

Pain In The Neck: Tips To Alleviate Symptoms – Spine MD

How To Read In Bed Without Hurting Your Neck – Norwest Chiro

Reading in Bed May Lead to Neck Problems – Pollack Health and Wellness

How bookworms can avoid neck pain – Inspired Health