Reading in bed seems like a leisurely, easy activity, doesn’t it? I mean, why would you need hacks to help you read? Yet if you are among those of us who have joint pain, muscle fatigue, difficulty seeing, or weakness, you know that even reading in bed can be a challenge!
So, to address our literary limitations, here are some ideas to make reading in bed a little bit easier.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you purchase through those links. I post links to products that I have used personally, or that I feel might be helpful or useful to my readers. I particularly like to support small businesses, socially-responsible sellers, and other disabled/chronically ill individuals whenever possible.
1. Reading Pillow
I know from experience that gripping a thick novel (or, let’s be honest, even a thin one) can make my hands feel absolutely exhausted. It doesn’t take long before my whole forearm is trembling and I’m trying to find creative ways to hold the book in place with my elbows or the edge of my blanket to give my hands a break. It’s a little ridiculous!
Of course, I also find myself leaning down to look at the pages wherever the book is propped, so that my upper arms are spared the work of holding the book up high (or else they have a tendency to turn to jelly!).
Which all leads us to the first solution: a reading pillow. These things are available everywhere, or easy to DIY at home. A reading pillow basically consists of a small-medium firm pillow that can be held on the lap or next to you in bed. Small lengths of elastic or ribbon secure the corners of the open book (and accommodate several sizes of books), so that all you have to do is slide the book in and read. The pillow brings the book up closer to you for easy reading. And, hey, if you doze off mid-chapter (not that I ever do), what’s another pillow in your bed??
2. Book or Device Holder
Another great option (less cushy) is a book or device holder. Again, options abound! The general idea is that this is a stand made of a solid material, such as wood, that sits over the lap and holds an iPad, Kindle, or a book. While some of us spend our recovery hours flipping through the pages of a traditional book, let’s be honest: many of us also binge watch our favorite shows on a device. No shame in that! If you’re like me, your hands can get equally tired holding a device, leading to all kinds of crazy MacGyvered positions for supporting the device without wearing out muscles. A holder would be so much easier…
Some holders come with collapsible legs, so it can also be laid flat on the bed next to you. The back is often angled and adjustable, too, to make it easier to see the screen or pages from different positions.
3. Overhead Device Holder
Chuck those old paper books for a minute, and let’s talk about the hours we all spend on our devices when we’re laid up in bed… As I’ve mentioned, it can cause some serious problems to have to grip a phone or tablet for long periods of time (like the duration of that six-season show we’re bingeing). It’s also tricky to get the right angle to minimize glare when we’re propping the thing up in bed next to us. Enter this little gadget (which makes a great gift, too!). Fully adjustable, hands-free… It’s the device equivalent of having someone next to you feeding you grapes and fanning you. Ahh…
4. Hands-Free Magnifier/Light
Whether because of eye fatigue, blurred or double vision, vision impairment, or other issues, sometimes it can be difficult to clearly see what’s on the page or screen. A little light and magnification never hurt any of us!
For an option that makes things a little clearer without extra energy expenditure, consider a clamp magnifier/light. There are dozens of options available, with varying levels of magnification. Some even have USB ports/chargers to keep your device powered up!
5. Portable Magnifier
An option that’s not exactly hands-free, but very classy, is a portable magnifier. There are dozens of options (think, Mr. Peanut and his monocle!). These magnifiers are typically worn attached to clothing or around the neck so they’re readily available. They’re lightweight and small, and perfect for occasional magnification. Plus, how cool would you look leaning in and pulling out a beautiful magnifier to see something up close?
What tips and tricks have worked for you? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Happy reading (and binge-watching…)!