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Why You Can’t Focus When Reading a Book

It is fun to read a book on a lazy morning or afternoon, especially if it is the novel of your favorite author. 

But is there a point where you cannot concentrate even if you only read a paragraph? You might experience that a couple of times already, and it is extremely disappointing. 

If you do not have a quality night’s sleep, you probably know why. Whether you stay awake overnight to finish a pile of paperwork on your table or edit a business presentation, you cannot fix your attention on any task like reading. 

Reasons Why You’re Unable to Focus While Reading Your Book

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According to WebMD, lack of sleep is one of the factors that contribute to the difficulty of staying focused while doing a specific task like reading. 

It is said that an adult should have at least seven hours of sleep at night for overall health and well-being. 

However, studies revealed that 1 out of 3 Americans does not get enough sleep, based on a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s high. 

If you encounter trouble focusing, your sleeping hours or pattern can be the culprit. 

Divided Attention 

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The average attention span is 12 seconds. But it dropped to 8 seconds, according to researchers in Canada. 

Why is that, you may ask. While several factors affect our attention span, multitasking is one. 

If you chat with friends, watch movies, or read a book, you need to shift your attention from one thing to another, which can be exhausting. 

It is best to focus on one task at a time, even if you have a hectic schedule. After reading a few pages, you can then move on to other activities on your list. 

A study made by Stanford University revealed that multitasking negatively affects our mood and adds stress to our lives. 

Another research from the University of California found that interrupted work led to higher heart rates for participants with access to office email.


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Stress is another reason you cannot concentrate. Do your partner recently break up with you or have high utility bills to pay off? That could be really stressful. 

Experts say reading may help. But it may have a negative effect on others, and a lack of focus is a common sign. 

The best way you can do is have enough sleep, engage in sports, meditate, and avoid the things that make you stressed. 

If you are unproductive in the office, it is time to unwind. You can go to any of your favorite attractions. It could be a beach, a museum, or a park. 

Aside from that, you can try some sports like badminton, basketball, chess, volleyball, or football. You will get physically, mentally, and emotionally fit for sure. 


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Smartphones are among the best creations of man. They can help us connect with the world, search for factual information, shop for a clothing brand, or even watch entertaining content without any hassles. 

But using smartphones also has drawbacks everyone should understand. Social media, in particular, expose us to a massive amount of information that we cannot process instantly. That’s why we only scan every data. But it could affect our ability to focus and shorten our attention span, studies show. 

So, is it best to stop using mobile devices? I don’t suggest that, as they make our everyday lives more comfortable. Before, we needed to visit the physical location of a clothing store. Things changed today because you can buy what you want online. 

However, when using a smartphone or social media platforms, we need to have some discipline and know our boundaries. Instead of browsing Facebook or playing a game for hours, it is ideal to find other ways to stay entertained. You can find a new hobby, engage in gardening, or start reading. 


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Another reason you cannot focus on reading is that you may be bored. Yes, reading is fun. But sometimes, it can make your boredom even worse than expected. 

If that happens, there is nothing to worry about as there are ways to address your boredom. You could watch a series on Netflix, play a video game, bake bread, create a photo album, clean your room, or unclutter your closet. 

That’s not all. You should also socialize with your family and closest friends. Their stories would make you smile, forget what you are going thru, and relax as well. 

When your boredom is gone, try to finish the novel you are reading. In case you cannot still focus, there is no need to rush. Do not forget that you can take your time. 

How to Stay Focused when Reading a Book? 

Losing focus whenever you do a specific task like reading is disappointing. The frustrations would be more intense if you tried everything you could and nothing happened.

Don’t worry. Here are some useful and simple tips that will help you stay focused when reading a book: 

Turn Off the Notification in Your Email and Instant Messaging App 

What do you usually do when your phone rings because someone chats or sends you an email? You are more likely to check your device. That’s all right, especially when it is urgent. But if you receive too many chats or calls a day, that can be a huge problem. It will be helpful if you turn off your phone. 

Meditate to Clear Your Mind

It is useful to free your mind from any negativity before reading, and meditation for at least a few minutes is a brilliant idea. This prepares your brain to absorb and interpret new information. 

You Should Have a Specific Goal in Mind 

What’s your goal every time you read? Don’t you have a specific objective yet? Create one now to improve your ability to concentrate. It also allows you to get thru any material as quickly as possible. 

Use a Good Strategy 

Yes, there are various techniques to pick from while reading. While it can be an advantage for some, it can be confusing to others. Don’t worry. Reading in a 50-minute interval is a perfect choice. There is also nothing wrong with exceeding that amount of time. Unfortunately, it would be difficult for you to interpret things. You can take a few minutes of break, of course.