Ideas + Advice


How to Read in Bed Comfortably: 6 Bookish Tips

Reading in bed is an enjoyable pastime for many people, whether to fall asleep at night or as a comfortable place to indulge in their favorite genre. The best reading position in bed isn't one-size-fits-all and often depends on how flexible you are, whether you prefer lying down or sitting up, and whether you have mobility limitations that determine how you can comfortably sit up.

There's plenty of options for comfortable reading in bed, and many people opt for props or other accessories that hold their book or e-reader for hands-free access. These can be used in bed, on the floor, in a comfortable chair, or even a cushioned window seat – wherever your favorite book nook is. 

Adjustable bed companions to prop up a book can reduce neck and back strain for reading – whether in bed or on cushions. A lap desk or even a small bed table can turn a simple night with a book into a relaxing, indulgent experience.

There are a few tips we've collected to help you have the best in-bed reading experience; each is designed to help reduce muscle strain and eye strain while boosting your overall comfort.

Use a reading pillow

Reading pillows are specifically designed to support your neck, back, and arms. They're also called "husbands," or pillows that have a backrest and cushioned arms designed to cradle your upper body and relieve aches and pains in the shoulders.

Invest in an adjustable base

Adjustable bed bases turn your bed into a giant recliner of sorts, so that you can easily change the angle of your backrest for when you want to read upright in bed. With features like massage, zero gravity (in which your legs are elevated for improved blood circulation) and remote controls, an adjustable base takes the guesswork out of finding your perfect position.

Use an LED book light

Ambiance matters as much as the support when creating the best environment for reading in bed. While book lights allow you to see your book (and your partner to sleep), you may, on the other hand, enjoy the cozy feel of an overall dim room. Also consider clipping a light onto your headboard, which gives enough light to see the page in front of you without causing eye strain.

Pay attention to your posture

The most comfortable reading experience includes finding a posture that's comfortable for a long time. (One of the reasons shoulder or back pain can develop is lying in a pattern that promotes strain.)

Stacking pillows is one of the most common ways to get support, no matter what position you're in. Some women, for example, may be uncomfortable lying flat on their stomachs, but adding a slim, cylindrical pillow, or stacking pillows, may provide better support. If you're sitting up against your headboard, placing pillows behind your mid-and-lower back, with a lighter pillow behind your head, can also do the trick.

Holding the book on your stomach

While it's easy to prop a book on your stomach when sitting up or partially lying down, this can start to press on your tummy, especially if you've just eaten. A lightweight, flat pillow between the book and your stomach is more comfortable. (You can also stack pillows under your elbows, too, giving you more control of the book!)

Invest in comfortable bedding

Reading before sleep is a peaceful way to drift off and helps you wake up feeling refreshed. Good quality bedding, with high-thread-count sheets and soft blankets, enhances this experience – but tichy bedding, dirty sheets, or materials that aren't great for certain weather can have an adverse effect on your comfort. If reading in bed is your way to relax, creating an entire mood can help you feel better!

Invest in a book seat

Your arms get tired from holding onto a book for a prolonged period of time without support, and after a long day, even flipping pages can be overly taxing! A solution is the book seat, which keeps the book open so that all you have to do is turn the page. Book seats can also hold snacks or tasty beverages, and many are designed to hold both e-readers and traditional books.


Reading books in bed is a peaceful way to relax and allows you to drift off into a relaxing and refreshing night's sleep. To wake up without neck, back, and shoulder, strain, taking simple steps to improving the comfort and support of your reading position can go a long way.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.