Has this ever happened to you? You check out an exciting new book from the library. You can't wait to read it, but you have dinner to eat and homework to do first. You don't procrastinate, but instead tackle your homework first thing.

Before you can open your book, though, chores are also calling. So you mow the grass or do the dishes and clean your room. Then you set out your clothes for the next day of school and take a bath to wash away the dirt of the day.

After brushing your teeth, you're finally ready to snuggle up in bed with your book. You open it and begin reading, excited for the adventure to come. The next thing you know, though, you wake up and it's morning. You fell asleep while reading!

Getting sleepy and eventually falling asleep after reading a few pages is a phenomenon that many, if not most, of us can relate to. So what is it about reading that can make us conk out?

Not everyone gets sleepy while reading and, of those who do, not everyone gets sleepy for the same reason. Experts believe there are a variety of reasons why people might get sleepy while reading.

The act of reading requires regular eye movement as your eyes follow the words across the page. It also requires brain power as your brain interprets the letters your eyes see and converts them into meaningful words, sentences, and paragraphs. As your brain works hard and your eye muscles tire, it's only natural that they would need rest, leading to eyes slowly closing and sleep taking over.

Reading isn't bad for your eyes. We can only keep our eyes open for so long each day before we need to let them rest. If reading is easier when you wear glasses, be sure to wear them when reading to make sure your eyes aren't strained unnecessarily.

When you read, you usually do so in a comfortable location, such as your bed or a favorite chair. When the majority of your body gets into a resting state and you're in a comfortable position, the rest of your muscles often follow suit and a nap can easily ensue.

If you wait until right before bedtime to read, it's likely that your mind and body are tired and already ready for sleep. If that's the case, it doesn't take much of any activity, whether it's reading or even watching television, to lull you the rest of the way to dreamland.

Of course, if you're not all that tired when you go to bed, you might be able to read for a while without getting sleepy…unless, of course, the book you're reading doesn't interest you. If what you're reading bores you or just doesn't capture your imagination, your mind is likely to wander, and it often wanders right off to sleep.

If you have a book that you really need to finish or you simply want to read longer without falling asleep, there are some techniques you can use to maximize your reading pleasure. First, find a place to read that's comfortable, but not too comfortable.

Rather than lying down on your back, sit up in a comfortable chair. Use extra lighting to reduce eye strain. Also make sure that the temperature isn't too hot. Reading in an environment that's too warm can make you sleepy in a hurry.

If you anticipate trouble staying awake and you really need to finish that book before bed, try waking yourself up before you start reading. Do some light exercise, drink a caffeinated beverage, or take a cool shower. If you're more alert when you start reading, you're more likely to make it to the end of that book!

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow in Wonderopolis we’re bobbing for something much larger than apples!