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What is the best lighting for studying?

Good lighting when you are studying will help you concentrate and take care of your eyes. The location and orientation, the intensity, the colour and consumption are decisive to get the best lighting when you are studying.

We spend an average of 2 years of our life studying. But are we studying in the right way?

It is essential to choose a suitable place and conditions for the good of our concentration and health in order to get the best out of the time we study. And lighting has so much to do with this. Bad lighting puts a strain on your eyes, damages them and causes problems like stinging and reddening of the eyes, as well as headaches.

 

How to choose the right light for studying

Generally speaking, the most suitable lighting for studying and activities that require focussing on something is that which has the following characteristics:

  • Homogeneous light: the light should be uniform both where you and whatever you are using to study are located (books, notes, screens, etc.) which is what you are looking at.
  • Light with the correct intensity: neither too intense, nor too dim.

Tips to get the right lighting for when you are studying

Location and orientation:

Overhead light: make sure that the main lighting in the area comes from above. If you are right-handed, the light should come from above your left shoulder, so as not to generate a shadow that is projected over your study materials. If you are left-handed, always try to get the light coming from over your right shoulder for the same reasons.

Directed light: add a light that focusses on your study material. Use a focus that can be directed to adjust it to your needs and avoid annoying reflections.

The combination of these two types of lighting is the key to creating a perfect environment for studying.

 

Intensity:

It is recommendable to be able to adjust the lighting to adapt it to your needs, especially in the case of directed light. When you are studying, reading a book is not the same as underlining notes or studying directly from a computer or tablet.

To control the intensity of the lighting in an area it will be useful to know what a lumen is. It is a unit of measurement used to determine the actual amount of ambient light (luminous flux) emitted by a light source. The greater the number of lumens, the more illuminated the room will be.

And then there is the lux unit, which determines the illuminance or level of lighting. One lumen per square metre is a lux. This simple example will help you understand: If your room has a lamp of 1,000 lumens, and the surface of the room is 10 square metres, the lighting level will be 100 lux.

Knowing this, you can choose the bulbs that will give you the lumens necessary to light your room correctly, with an estimated 90 lumens per watt (90 lm/W). You should also take into account that the number of lumens required to properly illuminate a square metre used for study is as follows: between 400 y 500.

 

Temperature:

The temperature or colour of the light can be cold, neutral or warm. Cold lighting is especially suitable for activities that require concentration, detail and focussing over short distances. It is measured in Kelvins.

In this regard, cold lighting activates the circadian rhythms, that is, it acts as a stimulant since it slows down the production of melatonin, the hormone produced by the body that regulates the day-night cycle and the sleep-wake cycle. It has a narrower wavelength which is similar to that of a clear sky at noon.

This is why warm lighting, which has a broader wavelengths that simulate sunset or candle light, is not recommended for studying. This type of lighting is recommended for places where you go to rest, including the living room where you do not undertake complex activities and the bedroom.

The Colour Rendering Index (CRI) is the unit that measures the ability of a light to faithfully reproduce the colours of an object, taking natural light as a reference.  For studying, a low CRI is recommended, because it helps you to concentrate and is restful on the eyes.

Taking these two recommendations into account, you should choose cold bulbs (4,000-5,000 Kelvins) with a low CRI for the lamps in the area where you study. However, if you are going to spend a lot of time studying over a long period, we recommend that you moderate the temperature of your bulbs and look for a more neutral light.

Natural light

If this is available, take advantage of it as it is a healthier and more economical option than artificial lighting, especially when you are looking for an alternative for overhead lighting. However, do not forget that natural light changes depending on the time, day and season, so you should always adjust the complementary lighting you use so you always have suitable lighting.

Another aspect to take into account with regarding to natural light is the sun. Avoid that the rays hitting you directly on the face or on your study materials, since this can be annoying and reflections can cause damage.

 

LED Lighting

This type of bulb has many excellent features, including extraordinary performance, variety, efficiency and very low consumption, making it extremely economical. This makes it the type of bulb that we recommend for studying. Returning to the previous hints, here is an equivalence between power and luminous flux to serve as a guideline when it comes to selecting the lighting for your study area.

Luminous flux LED light bulb
1.600 lm 16 – 20 W
1.100 lm 13 – 15 W
800 lm 9 – 13 W
450 lm 5 – 8 W

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