I am living on the same floor with a person going to bed early (around 11pm) while I normally work till 2 am. So, I try to reduce the sound of flipping the page. Could you please give me some tricks?

I normally read the page on the page-standing as in the picture because it gives me the good angle to focus and I do not need to bend my neck too much.

Loose pages on a reading frame

  • 1
    As stated, I do not understand what the problem is that requires a lifehack—an out of the box solution. All the detail—standing, the reduced angle for reading, reading the page sideways (according to the photo), some implied eye-focus problems, the hour of the day, etc.— has nothing to do with (in effect) how to move a piece of paper without waking someone asleep on the same floor (not room). How is the page flipped, with dynamite? This question got two upvotes? What am I missing?
    – Stan
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 21:23
  • 1
    Considered using a Kindle? It'll save on paper too
    – Caius Jard
    Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 6:08

4 Answers 4


Do What The Professionals Do… [a How To, and WHY]

Professional broadcasters (radio announcers, voice actors, etc.) read material from different sources such as news stories, scripts, public service announcements, and commercials printed on sheets of paper. These sheets of 'copy' are usually placed within view in close proximity to a sensitive microphone.
Any irrelevant sounds/noise(s) generated inside the studio are minimized and any production with background noise is considered unprofessional.

Early in a successful audio announcer's training is the technique to deal with sounds of handling paper:

  • All pages are printed on one side only.
  • Pages are stacked, loose, in reading order.
  • No pages are attached to each other.
  • Each page has a 'dog-eared' lower-right hand corner** so that it can be grasped individually.

In practice, the voice artist grasps the uppermost dog-eared corner and the top-most page is lightly (AND SILENTLY) slid from the pile onto a secondary 'read-it' pile to the side- facing upwards to avoid handling noise.
Pros NEVER flip a page.
Only amateurs and untrained public speakers turn pages.

** This technique has the added benefit of easily continuing on to the starting point of the new page as you finish reading the top page as you slide it away.
[mini 'reading direction' tutorial… English (& LTR reading language) readers start a page at the top left corner of the text block and continue reading to the bottom right. As the reader gets near the end of the top-most page, it is pulled slowly, and slightly downward and to the right, while reading, to reveal a few lines at the top corner of the next page. Now, when the end of the text is reached, the eye can quickly jump to the beginning of the next page—without a pause—as the previous page is put with the pile of pages already read.
Rinse and repeat until the end of the narrative.]

Good luck.

  • "Thanks a heap, @Stan, can I ask what does "Pages are piled loose in reading order" mean? In specific, what does "piles loose" mean? Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 2:00
  • I really love the "dog-eared" idea, it really works Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 2:02
  • Yes, and I should not turn the page over, it is better to grasp the "dog-eared" top and turn head to the top left of the page and it can avoid the noise to some extents Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 2:07
  • I do not totally understand this one, could you please kindly explain it to me "This technique has the added benefit of easily finding the starting point of the new page as you finish reading the top page as you slide it away"? Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 2:08
  • 1
    I did some voice acting many years ago, and that is how we managed our scripts: slide instead of flip. When the script is printed single-sided, sliding ensures that you have two written pages up. When we came to a natural stopping point on the second page on the right, we would pause the reading and everyone would slide pages at the same time, making it easy for the producer to edit out the sound of paper sliding. There was still some noise from rattling paper, however. Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 6:24
  • If you have many pages, then bind your pages with a thick cardboard or similar material. Now while flipping to the next page, if you do it by holding the previous pages along with the outer cardboard, the noise will be much less than flipping a single page.

  • You can use a folder with plastic sleeves. Here, the thickness is more when compared to a single sheet of paper, so the noise produced will be less while flipping. Also as the plastic sleeves are smooth, they'd produce less noise.

enter image description here


I assume that getting a flat-mate who is a heavier sleeper is out of the question. (As an aside, I had a flat-mate who had once slept through a tree falling on her house near her bedroom. Yes.) I also assume that your flat-mate won't use earplugs (but they probably should consider it if they're such a light sleeper).

I find that white noise helps to cover up the minor sounds of things like rattling paper (and squeaking chairs and floorboards, the sounds of which are even harder to manage than rattling paper). Many different selections of white noise are available on Apple Music and YouTube, and I assume there's a similar selection available on other services like Spotify. There are phone and tablet apps to play white noise. You can also get Google Home and Amazon Echo to play white noise. There are also .mp3's of white noise available from numerous sources. You can buy dedicated white noise generating machines, but I would say they are not a good deal given all the other options.

I actually prefer some "pink" noise over pure white noise (e.g., ocean sounds, rain storm sounds, etc.).

It would probably be best if the white noise generator were playing in the room with the sleeper, so that the sound doesn't have a sense of direction (i.e., coming from your direction). You could play white noise in multiple different locations, say every room in the house which would enhance the lack of directionality to the sound and help cover up sounds like moving through the house.


Assuming your room of study is not the room the other person intends to sleep, collect a base line; perhaps flipping pages behind closed doors does not disturb the other.

On a silent weekend night you both are awake, close the door(s) between the two rooms, and flip pages. On the other side of the wall, is it considered as too loud on the other side of the door(s) compared to the noise from the street?

By the photo in the original question which shows what looks like a computer screen, I would be more concerned about noise by touch typing which you might engage to enter your notes into a computer. Though sliding a mat between the keyboard and the table, and selecting a less noisy/silent keyboard may reduce this potential source of noise, it equally is possible that this does not pass as loudly across the wall as you may assume.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.