Other people intend to read a few pages before they go to sleep and end up, two hours later, forcing themselves to stop and turn the light out only because they know how they are going to feel in the morning if they don’t. (That’s me. Always has been. I am currently reading A Widow for One Year. It was 1 a.m. for me again last night.)
The falling-asleep-or-not response does not seem to have to do with content. I can stay awake reading books that are so boring they might as well be instruction manuals on how to watch paint dry. And those people who nod off as soon as they’ve opened their books often actually really do want to find out what happens next but, page-turner or not, they just can’t help themselves.
I do not believe this is a gender issue (despite the fact that I have known more men who fell asleep while reading than women, and despite the images I’ve chosen for this article). One of my dearest friends (love ya, Bonnie) wears old glasses that have an arm missing to read in bed because she knows that she’s going to end up sleeping on them anyway.
I also don’t think that those who nod off are more tired than those who don’t. No matter how tired I am, I don’t think I have EVER fallen asleep with a book open in front of me.
Maybe it’s neurological.
Maybe the same people who fall asleep over books also fall asleep in movies.
Someone should do a study.
Maybe someone has.
I wonder if any readers who fall asleep over books are also writers, and if those people also fall asleep while proof-reading their own stuff.
Does anyone out there know anything about this?