Before I fall asleep, I like to get into my bed and do some reading. My wife however likes to fall asleep as soon as she is in bed. I have a small lamp on my side which I use but it scatters too much light into the room and bothers her and she can't fall asleep. Any life-hacks which will bring us closer to marital bliss?

Note: The lamp does have a shade on it along with a flexible neck so you can twist and direct bright light in any direction. I keep it facing directly down to minimize the scattering light but apparently, its still not enough.

  • 5
    I was going to suggest you could learn Braille and just read in the dark, but that's probably impractical. ;-) Sep 2, 2015 at 17:28

10 Answers 10


Use E-book.

While costly, this is by far the simplest solution. E-book media can generate enough light for you to read, but be dim enough for your wife to not be disturbed. This also allows you to control where light goes(you can turn screen back from her), as well as read book without generating too much noise(touch screen is silent, paper isn't).

  • This indeed will work for someone, +1. However personally I can't stand e-books, expecially in the dark and expecially before going to sleep: they inevitabily make my eyes hurt after a bit because of the strong backlight, while they're barely readable (at least for me) with a low backlight because of the low contrast. Also any type of screen (TV, computer, smartphone, e-reader) will usually awaken you rather than inducing sleepiness. webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/power-down-better-sleep
    – kos
    Aug 27, 2015 at 10:29
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    Depends on your organism, you might not get that awaken. However, there are many different programs that allow you to counter this effect. I strongly believe that you would find some for your tablet as well, if you used that instead of E-reader. Edit: quick search showed this application which could help. Aug 27, 2015 at 10:39
  • Ah I wasn't aware of these. I'll surely give them a shot. Thanks for the input
    – kos
    Aug 27, 2015 at 10:52
  • Glad to help :) Aug 27, 2015 at 10:54
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    Some E-Readers (eg Kindle Paperwhite) do NOT have a "backlight" - they are lit from the front, and do not strain the eyes in the same way as trying to read on a tablet for example. The light reflects off the "page" in the same way as on a book. I can't read my tablet for long at night without eye strain, but I can use my Kindle for hours at a time without issue.
    – Jon Story
    Sep 2, 2015 at 13:19

I have stumbled upon this issue myself. I think a book light will suite your purposes. It's a small LED lamp that you clip onto your book and in most cases can be adjusted so that it points to the pages of the book without lighting up the whole room.

One model of book light.


Use a headlamp.

Many headlamps come with dim light and red light settings, which you can use to make the light less bothersome for your wife.

enter image description here

[Note: I am not recommending this specific product, just using this one as an example.]

  • I imagine the angle might not be right for reading in bed. While some headlamps can tilt, the OP could also DIY the torch angle by taping a white piece of cardboard on top of the lens to throw more light downward.
    – piojo
    Aug 31, 2015 at 8:51

If you plan to read for 30 minutes, get in bed 30 minutes before your wife. When she gets into bed with you, turn out your light, and both of you can fall asleep together at the same time.

  • 4
    I don't see how this is a solution. You may as well tell him to read in the living room, or just read it another time... Aug 27, 2015 at 7:46
  • 8
    ... or find a less-complaining wife :-)
    – Laurent S.
    Aug 27, 2015 at 11:51
  • 3
    @MatthewRock "Before I fall asleep, I like to get into my bed and do some reading. My wife however likes to fall asleep as soon as she is in bed." The OP has 2 requirements: read IN BED, and read RIGHT BEFORE HE FALLS ASLEEP. The OP didn't say he likes to read in bed WHILE his wife is there. Saying he could read in the living room doesn't fit his requirement of reading in bed. Saying he could read another time doesn't fit his requirements of reading before he falls asleep. My answer addresses both of those. Aug 27, 2015 at 17:43
  • Well, I think if that would be the case then OP would simply do it; also, this is hardly a lifehack. Whatever; this site is not created for people to discuss who's right. Let the people decide which answer is most useful to them :) Aug 27, 2015 at 19:21
  • 2
    I just know people get stuck in preconceived notions, like "I have to get into bed the same time as my wife". That was the motivation for my answer: to reexamine that notion. I guess you and I just have different ideas of what constitutes a life hack! Like you said, we'll just let the other forum members decide. Aug 27, 2015 at 19:47

If you utilize a reduced output lamp and that still isn't suitable to your wife then apply a yellow filter on your lamp. Ideally you want to eliminate any and all stray white light.

Alternatively rather than constructing a filter purchase a yellow output LED. Just ensure that the output is in and only in the yellow range.

This should significantly lower any irritance your wife maybe experiencing while you read. Additionally it shouldn't cause her to wake up fully in the event she does for whatever reason open her eyes for a fraction of a second, even longer.

Our brains do not perceive such light as an indication of daytime or the need to change our waking state.


The e-book reader is already mentioned, as are the mini head/clip-on lamps.

But I don't think anyone's suggested reading on your smartphone if you have one. There are plenty of ebook reading apps you can get on your phone; some even have the option of having white text on a black background.

One thing to note if you use your phone is that phones emit high frequency light that keeps your brain active for up to 30 minutes after you stop looking at the screen. There are other apps you can install on your phone so that it adjusts your screen to stop emitting these lights towards the end of the day (I have it just for normal phone use even when I'm not reading).

Bonus lifehack: if you don't have a smartphone, get one that uses LED technology in its screen rather than an LCD. LED's turn off their light source to display the color black whereas LCD's cover their light source with all subpixels to display black. If you want a truer black color that's least abrasive, choose an LED/OLED technology screen smart phone. :)


As an alternative to the above suggestions, which seem to focus mainly on reducing the amount of light being cast into the room, have you considered trying any of the following;

Try an audio book. Many novels are available in an audio format and if you get some decent in-ear headphones, there should be no noise in the room.

Try reading downstairs before you come to bed, provided that you are able to get into bed without waking your wife.

Learn braille, a braille book can be read in total darkness.

Get a divorce, removing the wife from the equation would be one solution.

Okay, some of my suggestions are a little tongue in cheek, although they would all be effective. Definitely consider trying an audio book.


The SleepCurtain was designed to solve this exact problem: it enables a partner to read an electronic device (or book) while blocking the light from interfering with the sleep of their partner, and goes back in storage with a simple movement without leaving your bed.

The product is simple, easy to assemble and set-up, and highly effective.

Check mySleepCurtain.com for more information and ordering info

The SleepCurtain

  • + A great idea that addresses the problem. + Affiliation of the poster is sufficiently clear. + Even a low skilled DIYer can make something like that him/herself. Definitely +1
    – Flint
    Sep 30, 2017 at 15:31
  • Thanks for liking my idea. I am less happy about you thinking it is OK to steal it. Oct 2, 2017 at 8:30
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    My take on these situations is: it's ok to 'get inspired' by a product when you make something for yourself. Stealing would be, starting to manufacture a product based on your design/patent application and selling it. That is not ok and I do not endorse it. Arrrgh, now I completely ruined the flair of my username ;)
    – Flint
    Oct 3, 2017 at 10:14

You could also use something like this:

LightWedge enter image description here

  • Welcome to Lifehacks SE! In general we don't want to recommend products, but rather refer to product categories if that is appropriate for the question.
    – holroy
    Aug 28, 2015 at 14:17

The problem is that the light distracts your wife. Rather than getting a dimmer light, she could wear a sleep mask (if it was comfortable enough).

enter image description here

  • Why oh why did nobody else come up with this. Oct 3, 2017 at 21:36

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