What is the Best Light for Studying?

Lights are an important factor when it comes to studying. Even if your mind is focused now due to my articles on meditation and hypnosis if your eyes cannot keep up because of wrong lighting your study success is severely impacted.

So what is the best light for studying? Without any question, the best light for studying is natural light. A well-lit room with big windows is favorable. Make sure to avoid a desk position where you face direct sunlight because it is distracting and too bright.

If you are a night owl or your study room just doesn’t have as much natural light as you would like there are still things you can do to optimize your lighting for a comfortable study environment.

Why good light is important for studying

The main reason good lightning is important is that your eyes can keep up with the workload and don’t get tired. First of all, the light should not come from only one direction to avoid shadows. An even lightning is important that’s why placing the desk in front of a window with direct sunshine is a bad idea. But natural light is not always an option. I am quite an early bird so I experimented quite a lot with light and color temperature to get me started fresh and energized even if no natural light is available. From my personal experience, I work and study most efficiently if I start my day with a bright white light. 

What is the right color temperature for studying

Before we talk about the right color temperature let’s take a quick look at what that is. In the chart below you can see what time of day matches which light temperature and what is considered a warm light.

What is the Best Light for Studying?

Warm lights like they occur naturally during sunrise and sunset are a yellowish orange light. This color temperature is more relaxing not only for your eyes but also to your mood and eases the day in and out. For me, in the evening that works fine, after a long day at the computer I use the little free helper tool called f.lux which is available for all platforms. This slowly adjusts the color temperature of my MacBook to comfort my eyes in the evening. Just go here to download it. Switching the light temperature to a warmer tone in the evening is important for your sleep quality. Research has shown that blue light before going to bed affects your sleep and I emphasized already in other articles how important good quality sleep is for an effective study. 

In the morning I don’t want to have a nice and cozy sunrise with warm colors. I tried that out for a couple of days both, waking up with the sun going up slowly and simulating the effect with the Phillips Hue bulbs. With both methods sleeping in and turning around one more time for another five minutes was the result. What works best is to get up quickly and start the day fully energized. I use Philips Hue lights for that which I put into the bedroom and every morning at 6 the house gets flooded with bright white light to get me on my feet. You can check out the Starter-Kit here on Amazon (they even throw in an Amazon Echo Dot to control the lights with your voice). This method of waking up might sound cruel but for productivity, it is the best recommendation I have and you get used to it very quickly. 

What is the best light for studying in bed before sleeping

There is a very simple answer to that: No light at all. Studying in bed is something to avoid completely. The bedroom is for relaxing purposes only. You should keep work or anything that reminds you of your duties and obligations out of your bedroom. Enough sleep and a quality night to recharge your batteries is the best aid to your study. I know when I enter the bedroom that today’s work is done.

How bright should a light be for optimal studying

A rule of thumb says that general lighting of 300-500 lux for your work area (working on a computer and taking notes), 500-1000 lux for normal office desk work and 1000+ lux for visual performance (Like detailed drawing or precise mechanical work) is a good value. But what does that mean? Lux is the amount of light in a specific area, basically the light intensity. Unfortunately, all the Apps available on the mobile stores do not accurately measure the light intensity according to this very detailed test. This basically means if you want to adjust your desk and light environment to the perfect brightness you would have to buy a light-meter. I was stunned at how expensive they can get, up to $2000!. That is certainly too much even for the perfect study environment. I found this lightmeter on Amazon for an affordable price so if you don’t want to leave anything to chance you might think about it. The other option is to buy a desk lamp that clearly states how much light it brings to the table. The Lighblade 1500S from Lumiy has (as the name indicates) 1500 lux and can be dimmed and has an adjustable color temperature. This is the perfect way to adjust the light to the task at hand. It got great reviews on Amazon and looks great – check it out for yourself.

More ambient light means better study performance

A study conducted by Lund University and the London City University showed that an increase in ambient light increased the performance of the students. The 8-9-year-old pupils in the classroom with 3x the ambient light on the walls and ceiling showed much better results in reading, writing, and math. The effect was even more visible during the naturally dark month of January and October. So even though a good desk lamp is important for your studies to make sure it is not the only light source in the room.

Related questions

Is LED light good for studying? LED lights have quite some advantages over traditional bulbs. They have a much better energy efficiency (50% savings & Climate impact), long life (20000 to 50000 hrs) and are tougher (no filament or glass to break). In terms of studying the huge benefit is that if you invest in products like Phillips Hue you can adjust the color temperature to the optimal value as discussed above.

Which is the best desk lamp for studying? I think what is important for a desk lamp is that it is flexible so you can minimize glare, reflexions, and shadows. Again, I picked a desk lamp where I could fit in a Philips Hue bulb to adjust the color temperature to my needs. I just grabbed a cheap flexible lamp from the supermarket and invested in one more Hue bulb. If you are not a fan of Hue the most recommended desk lamp I could find is certainly the Lighblade 1500S from Lumiy as mentioned in the optimal light paragraph. It has all the important features described above, can adjust the color temperature and looks very stylish. Take a look on Amazon if you like. After all this research I will get one for myself right away.

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