The Perfect Pillow Positions for Reading in Bed

stack of books and eyeglasses on bed with perfect pillows

Reading in bed is one of the great joys in life. Or, if you're not a big reader, skimming social media, playing phone games, and watching videos in bed. There's something magical about a lazy Sunday morning or a late night sprawled out over your bed, absorbed in a good book, game, or movie.

The problem, of course, is that when you get immersed, the strange lounging positions you get into can take their toll on your shoulders, neck, and back. It's easy to get started stretched out on your side or flopped on your belly. But over time, that once-comfy position can get pretty achy.

So, what’s the key to a long lounging-in-bed session? It's as simple as knowing how to position your pillows properly. Trust us; if you don't already know these tricks, they will change your whole world of reading in bed and other forms of bed-lounging.

Note: for the sake of brevity, we'll be referring to reading. But really, these tips can be used by anyone with a book, notepad, or mobile device who wants to lounge in bed with their portable entertainment.

The Pillow Stacker

By far the most common (or at least, commonly depicted) reading position is one where you prop your back upon a pile of pillows, lean back, and relax into your book. Of course, if you've ever actually done this for yourself, you probably discovered that this ideal position has more than a few potential downsides. Like a cricked neck or surprisingly strained shoulders. But that means you haven't got your pillows just right yet.

The Perfect Pillow Stack:

  1. Place firm supportive pillows behind your lower and mid back. If you don't have a firm enough cushion, roll one or two into cylinders for the purpose.
  2. Place a softer, more flexible pillow behind your head, focusing on support around the neck. Feather pillows are best; fluffy pillows will be uncomfortable as they push your head forward.
  3. Place a fluffy-firm pillow under your knees, making it easier to keep them partly propped up to brace your body and hold your book.
  4. Place two fluffy pillows on either side of you to act as armrests. Your shoulders will thank you later by not hurting.
  5. Place one thin pillow atop your knees to prop up your book.

The Side Lounger

A great many people also read while lounging on their sides with their heads propped in one arm. If this sounds like you, or you occasionally read on your side for comfort and convenience, you also know that ache in your head-holding shoulder after a long reading session. If you're tired of rolling your shoulders out, consider side lounging with the assistance of pillows.

The Perfect Side Lounger Pillows:

  1. Place a fluffy pillow between your shoulder and your head, providing extra support.
  2. As a bonus, make that shoulder pillow extra large so you can drop the bed-side arm entirely into a perfect lounge.
  3. Place a thin or flexible pillow between your knees if you're not comfortable with the sideways knee spill.
  4. Use a pillow to prop up your book or device instead of holding it in bed.
  5. You may also be more comfortable with a smaller pillow under your torso.

The Stomach Reader

Reading on one's stomach is another classic that happens up on your elbows. Except that just like the side-lounger, it's a lot more comfortable properly propped up with pillows than in the position you naturally take when flopping forward onto the bed. If you read on your stomach, both elbows and both shoulders can get pretty sore. But not if you do it with pillows.

The Perfect Stomach Pillow Stack

  1. Place a pillow under your chest as you lay down.
  2. Now stack pillows between your elbows and under your chest until you are held aloft, not just comfy.
  3. Use a pillow to prop up your book or phone.
  4. Bonus: place a pillow on the back of your thighs, which will make it easier and comfier to bounce your legs at the knee.

The Crouching Curler

From stomach reading or from leaning back, many people find themselves sitting more upright while curling over the bed. That crunched position can happen with your legs crossed leaning over or up on your knees and elbows. It usually occurs when the book gets good. But you'll still find yourself sore afterward. The key is to wrap yourself around supporting pillows.

The Perfect Curler Stack

  1. Start with a fluffy pillow under the book from whatever your starting position is.
  2. When you find yourself curling up, add pillows until your body is fully supported.
  3. Remember to change positions soon, because this isn't great for your neck—no matter how good the book or activity might be.

The Back Sprawler

After you've been reading in bed for a while, you may find yourself in a problematic reading position, sprawled flat on your back holding the book or phone above your head. Or, possibly, bracing it on your thighs with your legs propped up. Both can be alternate reading positions to stay limber and interested. Some variations even include hanging your head off the side of the bed, if you don't mind reading with a headrush. But here's how to not drop the book on your face or get sore in this position.

The Perfect Sprawler Pillows

  1. Place a pillow under your head, propping it at the ideal reading angle.
  2. Add a fluffy pillow under your knees to make it easy to keep them propped up.
  3. Place another pillow on your stomach/in your 'lap' to act as a book prop and armrest
  4. Stack pillows on your stomach and at your sides if you want the book higher.

Reading, texting, watching videos, or working in bed can be an incredibly comfy way to spend your time. And we can make it even more comfortable with the addition of a few clever stacks of pillows—which, by the way, will also come in handy when you're ready to build a pillow fort, have a big pillow fight, or build yourself a nest out of bedding to drift off to sleep in.

Here at Nest Bedding, we know all about what it takes to be ultimately comfy in your bed. For more great sleep, bedding, and the perfect pillow contact us today!

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