Nobody told me that when you’re in your 50’s, reading will put you to sleep.

I have this week off from school, so of course I thought why not spend at least one day reading.  Just me and the sofa and a small stack of paperbacks.

I’ll tell you why not….. since I entered my 50’s, reading makes me fall asleep.

Apparently this is what it’s like to be in your 50’s.  You lie down, just like you always used to do, with a really good book in your hands, one that you know you won’t be able to put down.  You read a few pages and

you doze off.

Just about every time.

I used to read 50 to 200 pages a night almost every night of the week.  I could knock off 75 pages in just over an hour, get up and cook dinner, grade a small stack of papers then throw on my dancing shoes and hit the clubs til they chased me away at two in the morning when by law the booze stopped flowing.

This week I tried to read the same Ursula le Guin short story three times and still haven’t made it to the end.

If I lie on the sofa while reading now-a-days I drift in and out of the story until it becomes a kind of late night slow jazz improve evoking a mood instead of a melody.  It’s a dreamy experience suggesting events and images that sometimes take a brief form for a while before drifting off into a gentle mix of fading colors and a restful slumber.

It’s nice, but I don’t get much reading done.

So now when I really want to get some reading done, I have to sit up straight in an actual chair.  I can still sit in my comfortable leather arm chair with the matching ottoman for now at least.  And I can still knock off 75 pages in a hour if I’m reading in the morning and I have a steady supply of coffee.

But once I hit my 60’s, all bets are off.




  1. Sam Sattler says:

    Yes, sir…you nailed it. I’m in my sixties and the only thing that limits the number of pages I read in any given day is how long I can maintain consciousness after picking up a book and settling in comfortably someplace to read it. No doubt about it.

  2. Jeanne says:

    It’s true, and occasionally disturbing. I don’t even like to nap.

  3. I’m sure when I turned 50 someone somewhere flipped a switch, and what you describe is just one of the outcomes 🙂

  4. Laughing here. We have a close relative staying with us for a month and after all the activities of a day I am lucky if I can hold a book much less read it. I keep telling myself I have all of winter before long to catch up without turning into a zombie when I put a book in my hand.

  5. tracybham says:

    I thought that was mainly a male thing, but guess not based on some replies here. I am in my sixties and my main trouble is not getting enough reading done before bedtime.. But I don’t usually lie down to read, so maybe that saves me. Still have trouble getting enough reading done after work and TV or movies and blogging.

  6. Don’t lose hope James! I’m closing in on 66 and still able to read. No dancing shoes for me, but garden work always provides some audiobook listening.

  7. Lisa says:

    It’s the lying down that does me in. If I’m going to read, it has to be sitting up, otherwise I’m nodding off in no time.

  8. I think that started happening to my in my 20s. I’ve logged a lot of hours of napping/reading on my couch.

  9. yodcha says:

    James, don’t worry too much, I am 68 and can easy read 200 pages a day, real literature, it seems if you never quit reading you can read on into the years.

  10. Last night I read almost 100 pages. I was sitting up in my good leather chair at the time.

    Thank you all for your comments here.

  11. Rob says:

    I’m in my 30s and facing the same problem. At this rate, I’ll barely be conscious by the time I hit 60.

  12. Molly says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  13. Bree @The Things We Read says:

    Oh man I do this now in my 40s. too funny

  14. Ha! This is me………hang on………………….but I’m 29!?

Comments are closed.