To read in bed without hurting your neck, you need to follow a combination of these 4 things: Read in the natural or ergonomic posture, Use a Stand to hold book or tablet at the right height and angle, Take breaks after every 20 to 30 minutes, and strengthen your muscles by doing specific exercises.
How to read in bed without hurting your neck?
- Read in the natural posture.
You must read in the correct ergonomic posture so that every part of your body is well supported and there is not excessive stress on any single part, like your neck, or back.
- Use reading stand
Use reading stands to maintain that posture easily. They will hold the book in the perfect angle and at the perfect height.
- Take breaks
Take regular breaks to relax your body. Or You can change the reading posture. It is also a break. You need to do it every 20 or 30 minutes.
- Strengthen your muscles
Storing muscles bear if there is any imbalance in your posture. Do some exercise to strengthen your neck, eyes, and shoulder muscles.
1. Read in Natural Posture
You must read in the correct posture such that, there is no excessive stress on a any one part of your body like your neck, or back. You may call it the neutral or the best ergonomic posture. This posture will prevent your body from getting over-stressed. This is the key if you want to read for long period without any pain in your neck, back or shoulders.
But the problem is, you cannot maintain ergonomic posture for long time. The solution is two-folded: 1) Use a reading pillow to support, and keep your body in the ergonomic posture. 2) Use a Book holder stand to position the book in-front of you eyes at the right height and angle. That way, you neck muscles will be at rest. Hence, you will not
How to check if your posture is correct or not?
Our bodies are designed in such a way that one part of the body gets support from the other. It is like a chain. Every link matters.
Focus on the head and neck section of the above shown skeletons.
You will notice that the natural posture is when the weight of your head is evenly distributed on your neck. It is the Ideal or Good posture.
If you are thinking how this relate to lying down posture? Then I would say- everything!
Just imagine the above picture turned 90 degree. Now, it is the position you lay down in bed.
And in this position, you head should not be too high.
The best ergonomic posture is lying down straight.
But it is difficult to maintain that posture, because for that you need to hold books over your head. This would be painful for your forearms.
First solution is to use a book stand that will hold the book over you head, without you even touching the book. Check reading stands for neck pain.
The second solution is to support your body with Backrest reading pillows while reading in bed.
Here is a great video that shows it.
Or you can use a combination of both solutions, that is, use a reading stand and support yourself with the pillows.
Now, this next video shows the right posture to lie down correctly. In my opinion, this is 90% correct. The 10% which is not correct is the placement of hands.
That is where you need a stand. To free your hands as well.
Anyway, watch this video.
2. Take Regular Breaks
This is the second step towards ensuring that reading in bed is not causing you neck pain.
It is helpful in releasing any stress that have build up in your muscles due to the prolong inactivity of the body, or the bad posture.
Taking breaks is so powerful, that even if you do not maintain the right posture, you will still feel good. You might not be able to read for hours, though.
Breaks increases blood circulation in your body and releases the pressure of nerves.
That is why, there are very less chances of getting strained, if you properly take breaks.
When to take breaks?
There are researches done which prove that you must take break after every 20 minutes. Have you heard of that popular productivity technique called Pomodoro?
The people who follow Pomodoro technique, take small breaks after every 25 minutes, and a long break after 4 Pomodoro (A dedicated session of 25 minutes)
So, take after every 20 minutes.
How to Take Breaks?
1. Relax you neck muscles by moving your head. Slowly look up, down and sideways. Rotate your neck clockwise and anti clockwise three times each side.
Here is Dr Jo, showing some stretches that you can do during the breaks.
2. As I mentioned earlier, our body is like a chain. The neck is not isolated. It is connected to shoulders. So move your shoulders and arms as well.
Here is another video to watch:
3. And now comes the lower portion that is linked to the neck as well. Remember the chain effect? Good!
For that, just simply walk for a couple of minutes, look here and there. And you are done.
If that sound too confusion or excessive work then you should think about the pain and pleasure principle.
Learning how to properly take breaks and then actually implementing that will save you form trouble in long term.
The time you will invest in learning these stretches and practicing them will give you higher returns in future.
You will be able to read for long hours and do that constantly for years to come. Is it exciting?
4. And now, the bonus tip. Relax your eyes as well. Look farther for a few seconds and then look at an object near to you. This video demonstrates that in detail.
Strengthen your Neck Muscles
If you do exercises while taking breaks, you muscles will get stronger, and then even if you read for long hours, your muscles will support them. they will bear that excessive pressure.
Strengthening muscles requires you to do exercise and put your body to motion, which is its natural state. That is how, you basically balance the time of inactivity, while getting a long term benefit of stronger muscles.
This step make your body stronger so that even if you read in incorrect posture, or do not take breaks, the loss will still be very less. You will not feel that pain in short or long term.
Here are two videos that will demonstrate the exercises.
Mix or Choose.
Imagine, there are three layers of protection around your body, and each one protects you from Neck pain.
Then the most outer circle would be the step 3, strengthen your neck muscles. If this one is not there, or fails somehow, your correct posture will protect the damage. But if you start feeling pain in your body, then the most inner circle of protection will be to take break and release that stress.
So use all these three things I have discussed, or apply any one of them, and you will feel the difference.
About all the videos I have listed. Just watch them once, and start trying those exercises. You do not have to do all in one day, just take it easy and do whatever you can. Remember, What is the worst exercise? The one that is never done! So take action now, and free your self from Neck Pain. It is not cool. Right?
The Basic Principle.
You have to understand the basic principle.
Our bodies are not built to stay at one place. They are build to move.
There are a lot of bones, and a lot of joints. All of this is designed, so that we can MOVE!
But when we go against that principle, by keeping it stationary, we are actually doing harm to our body.
In that case, we must try to balance it some movements, proper posture. And train our body to withstand that harm by doing exercise and strengthening our muscles.
It is not Subjective.
Some people call it subjective, but I think, that is not true. Especially, if we talk about older people above 60 or 70 years or the ones who do both of these things.
- Read a lot
- Read daily
Because if you read occasionally, for example
You read on a beach, in mountains, in a club, or in a park, on weekends, then your body gets the time to recover from the fatigue.
But, if you read a lot, and do that daily, then you must make a habit of reading in the best ergonomic posture to protect yourself from long term back, neck, or eyes, pain.