I’m sure you’ve heard or at least know that it is essential to take breaks when reading.
Breaks are vital in giving you the needed time away from constantly taking in and processing information.
Reading non stop can cause eye fatigue as well brain fatigue which can make comprehension difficult. Healthy reading is therefore integrating breaks into your reading sessions.
This article will cover how long you should read before taking a break, because most people usually struggle with this.
Most people think they should read for hours upon hours in order for them to justify taking a break. This is obviously a flawed mentality because you need to take frequent breaks.
Now that we have that out of the way….
How long should you read before taking a break?
You should generally take a 10 minute break after every 35 to 45 minutes of reading. After 45 minutes the brain starts to lose focus and concentration so you might want to use that time to take a break and let your mind refresh before returning to your book again.
Taking a break all depends on how long you can stay focused without losing momentum and comprehension.
Always remember that reading is all about comprehension and nothing else. So you should value retention over how much time you spend reading.
When to take a break
Below are several hints that can be your warning sign that a break is needed. Most people ignore these hints because they believe in beating their brains into submission.
Disciplining your mind to focus for longer is of course vital but it has to be done in moderation because you could affect your comprehension and information retention. So, you might want to consider becoming aware of your brains ability and only pushing it slightly and slowly to form new ways of doing things at a reasonable pace.
The brute force approach is your enemy in this case.
So let’s get into when you should take a break when reading.
One of the signs that you need to take a break from your reading sessions is eye fatigue.
Eye Fatigue is sometimes called eye strain which is what happens when you focus your vision on an object for a long period of time without looking at something else.
When you read for extended periods of time, you’ll like start to feel your eyes either twitching or slightly hurting.
At this point it is wise to take a break because eye strain eventually leads to a headache which can make if difficult for you to concentrate and read.
So tread lightly.
It’s healthy to zone out when you’re doing something but it should raise eye brows when it occurs one-too-many times in a short span of time.
When you’ve been reading for quite sometime and you suddenly start to zone out frequently as you read, it is time to take a break.
Your brain is likely signalling to you that a break is needed to refresh the mind.
In such situations it is important to take a good 10 to 20 minute break away from reading.
Take a short walk outside, take a glass of water and relax until your 10 or 20 minute break elapses.
Anxiety kicks in
Some people start to feel a pinch of anxiety when they spend too much time doing the same thing.
This is of course not a universal thing and isn’t experienced by everyone.
However, if you start to feel jittery and on-edge after having spent a lot of time reading.
You need to take a break.
In such situations you’ll need to calm yourself down and let your mind and temperament gather.
Breathing exercises can be effective in such situations.
You can try deeply inhaling allowing your air to fill your stomach and then exhaling through your nose.
Carry out this simple exercise for at least 5 minutes then take another 5 minutes relaxing and you should feel a lot more relaxed and ready to read again.
Harder to grasp concepts
You should take a break whenever you start facing difficultly comprehending or understanding the material you’re reading. Your brain can only process so much information.
A break will help you go from stuck to well-adjusted with the material you’re reading.
Pushing too hard
When it starts to feel like too much work to read and you’re forced to push too hard when reading. Take a break for 20 minutes and then come back to read.
It’s unhealthy to engage the mind on an activity it is having difficulty engaging in.
How to schedule breaks when reading
Below are some ways you can schedule breaks into your reading sessions. With that said, choose the schedule that works for you because reading is a different experience for everyone.
20 minute sessions, 5 minute breaks
A good 20 minute session should be paired with a good 5 minute break for people that may find it hard to be engaged in reading for long periods of time.
This can work best too if you have a lot of material to get through so make sure to utilize this schedule.
30 Minute sessions, 10 minute breaks
A good 30 minute reading session can be paired with a 10 minute break to gather your focus and concentration before diving back in.
Most people don’t want to engage in activity for more than 30 minutes therefore scheduling out reading like this can be helpful and essential.
40 minute sessions, 20 minute breaks
If you have a lot material to read up, like maybe you have a test coming up. You could use each hour studying for 40 minutes and breaking for 20 minutes.
This will allow you to spend a huge amount of time taking in information whilst affording yourself a decent break.
1 hour sessions, 30 minute breaks
For those of you that can concentrate on reading for an hour without losing steam. This schedule is the one for you.
Read for an hour and then take a break 30 minutes.