How Long Should I Read Before Taking a Break?

A woman is taking a break while reading or working

How Long Should I Read Before Taking a Break?

Do you ever get tired while you’re reading? Have you ever nodded off with your book in your hand? Or have you almost fallen asleep while in the middle of a chapter that seemed to go on forever? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it’s probably time for you to take a break.

Even if you are reading in bed to unwind before falling asleep, taking breaks will help you relax and could be just the thing that you need to get to sleep.

To read comfortably, you have to take breaks from time to time. Taking breaks while reading is important because it helps with eye strain, back and neck pain, headaches, dry eyes, and more. It also prevents you from reading too much at once, which can cause a loss of concentration, drowsiness, and fatigue.

This article will help you understand why it’s important to take breaks when reading, as well as the benefits of taking a break. And finally, we’ll talk about how often you should take a break when reading for the best results.

Should you take a break while reading?

When we’re reading for long periods without taking a break, our eyes, neck, and back become fatigued. We sometimes lose our focus on the content because our body tells us to stop and rest. This is when we mindlessly flip open the next page or stumble through the chapter looking for something interesting that might make it worth continuing.
These are all signs that you need a break from reading.

When we read for long periods, our eyes can become fatigued, causing them to strain and crossing them to focus on the text.
In addition to this, our necks can become strained from looking at pages up close and focusing in one spot for too long.

As you can see, by not taking a break when you start to feel tired, or your neck starts to hurt, you are only causing yourself more pain and forcing yourself to read further than you should. Instead, you’ll get more enjoyment out of what you’re reading if you allow your body to adjust and relax.

When we take a break, it refreshes our minds. We can then re-engage with the content with fresh eyes and a mind. Not only do breaks allow us to read better, but they also allow us to remember the information that we have just read. It is commonly said that we only remember about 10% of what we read. This is why it is important to take breaks from reading and allow our minds to rest before re-engaging with the content.

Benefits: Why should you take a break?

It is important to take breaks so that our bodies can relax and not become fatigued. For example, our eyes need a break so that they can rest, and our necks need to be relieved from the strain of holding up our heads for long periods.

The benefits of taking breaks while reading can be seen in the following ways:

Your eyes will become more relaxed

Taking periodic breaks facilitates better reading ability and reduces eyestrain. In addition, taking breaks will prevent eye fatigue. Eye fatigue occurs when vision is strained because of over-stretching, constantly looking down at a book, or reading for more than two hours at once. It can lead to a loss of focus or concentration, headaches, or tired eyes.

Your mind will be refreshed

Remembering what you’ve read and understanding the presented content will also be easier since your brain has enough time to rest. The benefits of taking breaks allow your mind to rest and enjoy the reading experience at its best.

Instead of pushing yourself to continue reading when you’re tired or your neck is hurting, it’s better that you take a break. Taking a break to rest your eyes, your neck, and your mind is one of the easiest ways to enjoy reading for long periods.

Increases concentration and focus.

This can be a vital benefit of taking breaks from time to time when you’re reading. If you’re reading a book or article that you’ve had trouble paying attention to before, then it helps to take a break. Taking breaks will help your concentration and focus on the text so that you can truly understand the meaning behind what you’re reading. Learning to increase your focus on your reading is one of the most important parts of building good comprehension skills.

Your body will begin to refresh.

Your body can rest and relax while the mind goes back to reading.
You will feel more energized. Taking breaks gives your body a chance to stay in charge and maintain an optimum position for absorbing information from the book or article you are trying to read.

How often should you take breaks while studying?

When we should take breaks while reading a complicated subject, there are so many factors to consider before deciding on the right time to step away from the page and take a breather. Whether you are reading a book, iPad, Kindle, or laptop, reading duration, and overall health are essential to consider when deciding how often you should take a break from reading.

For example, If you’re reading for a short time, say 20 minutes or less, you can read continuously without taking any breaks. But, on the other hand, if you’re reading for an extended period, say more than one hour, it’s a good idea to take a break after every 20 minutes or so.

There is no set rule for taking a break from reading. It is on an individual basis. However, some people read for over 30+ hours per week. It is, therefore important to spread out the time spent reading through the day so that our bodies have an opportunity to rest and recover between each reading session.  

In addition to this, your overall health is something else that you should consider when deciding when to take a break. For example, if you suffer from an illness like glaucoma or diabetes, you may want to be careful not to read continuously for too long. On the other hand, if you have a chronic disease, like asthma or diabetes, it’s good to take breaks from reading because you may suffer from eye strain or other minor discomforts.

For the best reading experience, it’s important to take breaks from time to time and give your body a chance to re-adjust and recover.

What to do when taking a break?

You can do several things while taking a break from reading. Aside from simply stretching your neck and back and getting up and walking or moving around, you can also do different activities to ensure that you are fully refreshed.

First, you can take a quick walk around the house, around your neighborhood, or anywhere in between. This will allow you to stretch your legs and give you a chance to get up and move around for a few minutes.

Another thing that you can do is drink a glass of water before continuing where you left off. This will help hydrate your body and make sure that it doesn’t get dehydrated from sitting at a desk reading for hours at a time.

If you are reading in bed or on the couch, you can close your eyes and put a pillow under your chin to give your body a chance to rest and relax. It is also helpful to get up for some time every so often, even if it’s just for a few minutes each time you can go outside or take a short walk around the house. All of these things will help your body recover and adjust from reading for extended periods at one time.

Take advantage of the view in a plane or car to take your mind off reading for a few minutes. You can do this by looking around at the buildings, nature, or other people on the flight or in your car.

If you are reading at home and want to take a break from reading for a while, you can go out on your back patio or balcony and read under the stars. You can even bring a few pillows from the couch and lay down to relax outside under the stars.

If you are reading on a computer at work, find another place for the break duration. Also, move around every hour to release the pressure on your eyes and keep them comfortable. During the break, enhance your vision and change the focal point you use when looking at things around you. For example, look into the distance for about five seconds and then look at objects close to you (like a computer or book).


In summary, take breaks from reading because it refreshes our minds and allows us to remember more of what we’re reading.
Therefore, ensure you do not read continuously for long periods because this may cause physical harm by straining your neck and eye muscles.
Lastly, determine the right time to take a break depending on the length of time you are reading and your overall health.

What’s Next: What can you do besides take breaks for a comfortable reading experience?

Reading with comfort requires that you read in a relaxed and ergonomic posture, have enough light, and take periodic breaks so that your body gets a chance to move and your mind gets a break.

Now that you have read this guide on how to take breaks from reading, hopefully, you can read more comfortably.

However, you can still improve the way you read by adjusting your posture and illumination during reading.

Here is a post on

  • How to read in an ergonomic position
  • How to get sufficient lighting for reading.

Disclaimer: This article is only a general guide on how to take breaks from reading. It is not intended as medical or health advice, nor is it meant as a replacement for proper medical treatment. If you have any questions about your health, please consult your doctor.