Environmental Factors and Reading
- Lighting. Often it is helpful to do your reading- the bulk of it, at least- in the same place. Check the lighting there. Is it adequate? You should be able to see the page without strain. Does the light create a glare, or are you in the habit of reading in the direct sunlight? Either extreme-too much light or too little- can cause strain and fatigue, and lower your reading efficiency.
- Ventilation. Stuffy rooms put you to sleep. You should have plenty of fresh air (but not a draft) and the temperature should be fairly cool.
- Reading Position. Your position should be neither too comfortable nor too uncomfortable. The first condition puts you right back to sleep again. In fact, some people "read themselves to sleep" in bed every night- which is fine if sleep, rather than reading, is what you're after. An uncomfortable position can create a strain, however subtle, which results in fatigue.
- Focal Distance. Hold your book at an angle and keep it about 18 inches from your eyes. Remember: Long arms are not a substitute for corrective lenses. If you need glasses, wear them while you read. Persistent fatigue while studying or reading might be Nature's way of telling you that glasses are needed. Have an optometrist check your close-range vision.
- Distractions. Most important, what about distractions you can see and hear? No matter what you think, tests show that you can only pay attention to one thing at a time. If you sit near a door or window, every movement will claim your attention. If you have a radio or record player going, your concentration may continually wander from book to sound. And reading with the television going combines the worst of all possible distractions.
- Give yourself every break. If you are going to read, prepare things so you can read unhindered. If there is something more important, put the book aside. There are times to read and there are times when reading must give way to other considerations