I have a confession to make: I love to read and sleep at the same time. Well, not literally at the same time (that would be impossible). But interchanging napping and reading is one of my favorite ways to learn new material.
In my work as an academic coach, parents are often asking me whether it’s ok for kids to read and study in bed, and I have a hard time saying “No” when I do it so often myself. There’s something to be said for doing something hard and potentially distasteful, like reading, in a comfortable place. It makes the act a bit more tolerable.
But falling asleep can be a huge problem, especially if (like many teenagers do), you forget to return to your task once you’ve awoken from the blissful nap. It’s also problematic if your brain is starting to nosedive into sleep-land and therefore is not fully paying attention to what you’re reading. Then you can’t take notes, annotate, or think actively about what you are reading.
On days like today, when I allow myself the luxury of reading-and-napping, I usually read in about 10 minute segments, and the very instant I feel myself getting tired, I put the book down and doze. A little later, I’ll wake up (thanks, perhaps, to a well timed snore), and then I’ll take the book in hand again. At some point, I’ll be totally refreshed that I wont sink into sleep anymore. That’s the point that I take up my pen, skim over what I’ve just read, and take some notes. It works for me!
I’m not necessarily advocating that teenagers try this at home. But I AM advocating that students have permission to find their own methods, even if those methods seem crazy to others. If I can prove that the ultimate learning goal is being achieved ( for example,I have a detailed page of notes from the 80 pages that I read), why not accomplish the task in m own, unorthodox way?