If you are a student like me, proper lighting is the foundation of good studying. You may have noticed how gloomy weather makes you lethargic and sluggish while good sunny days make you feel energized and lively. This is because we have evolved to depend on light in the way we respond to our environment.
Lights have a great impact on bringing the best out of us. It affects our mood, our perception, and even our response to a stimulus. Thousands of years of evolution have made our eyes adaptive to light to survive and thrive. And we can’t deny how essential proper lighting is in the way we live in today’s world.
So how do we use this knowledge to our advantage? If you are struggling with your studies, changing or choosing the right LED lighting in your room is the answer. Join me as we try to uncover which LED light color is best suited for studying.
Why Pick LED?
Deciding on the best study lights for your room set up requires an ample amount of time for consideration. One thing is certain though, choose LED. Light Emitting Diode, or simply LED, is undeniably ahead of its predecessors in terms of usability and efficiency.
Before incandescent light was invented at the end of the 19th century, people relied on doing their work mostly during the daytime. The productivity is therefore limited. Nonetheless, though incandescent bulbs provide a yellowish glow to aid the night they easily burn out.
It wasn’t until LEDs became a choice for indoor lighting in the 1990s. LEDs provide a reasonably better color rendering index of greater than 80. Meaning, LED lights are better at projecting the color of the objects within their area of illumination.
LED lights also provide an efficacy of up to 50 lumens per watt. Almost twice better than incandescent bulbs. It is also smart to switch to LEDs because they consume minimal power of only about 3 watts. That is five times lower than a traditional light bulb that consumes 15 watts of power!
But it is not only economical to choose LED. It also entails benefits that would give your study the boost it needs.
Eyes on the Prize
Your eyes work the most when you study. They are essential for information to be read and received by the brain where it is processed. And your eyes rely heavily on the quality of light it is subjected to. As stated, our eyes have evolved to adapt to changes in light. But it is not absolute. Constantly abusing your eyes could lead to certain diseases.
Frequently reading in dim light can cause you nearsightedness. A paper by the Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science published in 2018 has concluded that dim light contributes to the contraction of myopia or nearsightedness. This happens when the pupils need to expand for a sustained amount of time to allow more light in. This strains the eye and could lead to myopia. Thus, having the best reading lamp is essential to reduce this risk.
Too bright of a light, on the other hand, can damage your eyes as well. Various sources of could be the glare from your computer monitor or from your smartphone. Plus, the added brightness from your study lights. This time, the retina of the eye becomes overstimulated after long exposures to light. According to Sandy T. Feldman, MD, if not taken seriously, our eyes would develop more serious vision issues due to overstimulation.
You need to consider this when you choose your study lights. Incandescent bulbs have very low luminosity and produce ultraviolet light as well. They are dim in comparison with LEDs that could provide up to 6000 Kelvins of color temperature.
Your Brain Loves a Good Light
Appropriate lighting is not only healthy for the eyes. They are good for the brain also. Poor academic performance has been linked to lighting. A comparative study by Mott et al. (2012) shows students’ performance varies with different lighting. Furthermore, LED lights are prescribed to be used in order to improve the cognitive abilities of learners as proposed by a 2010 study.
Low light lowers the ability of the brain to process and retain data. It also induces a feeling of listlessness and apathy. You may have already experienced how poor lighting takes you out of focus or drains the energy out of you. This is the reason why.
But if you have good lighting, you are less distracted. You are less agitated with a well-lit study area. Not only is eye strain is reduced, but your brain can also easily synthesize the data passed from the eyes.
Choosing the best LED lighting could give you just this. Which one, you ask? Here, let me tell you.
Which LED to Choose?
Light, or visible light, is just a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. This band of waves carries energy in the form of perpendicular electrical and magnetic waves. Within the 380 to 700 nanometers of wavelength, we have the visible light spectrum. This spectrum can further be divided into bands of colors as we see from a rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
But to choose which LED color is best suited for you, we need to take a look at the lights based on their color temperatures. Color temperatures are measured in Kelvins. It gives us an idea of how bright color seems to appear. Here are some of the color temperatures and how they affect your cognitive abilities.
Warm White (WW)
Warm White lights have a color temperature rating ranging from 2200-3200 K. This range is best for relaxation and creativity. A 2018 study in Massachusetts has shown reduced physical activities for children. This suggests more relaxing and less active tasks like drawing or painting.
Schools often use lighting within the warm white range. It is seen that this sort of lighting allows students to listen attentively and still gives them a leeway to think as well. This is supported by the findings of a 2012 research in the Netherlands by the Society of Light and Lighting.
Within this color temperature, the brain is favorable for scattered thought patterns for an abstract art you want to build, brainstorming ideas for your business project, or developing the plot of your next short story.
Natural White (NW)
Lights with color temperatures of 3500-4500 K are conducive for reading and concentration. Natural white lights fall in this range. This range of lighting is commonly used in commercial buildings and offices. It is proven in a 2018 research by Sun et al. that LED lights with temperatures from 3500 to as high as 6500 K improve employees’ productivity. Another study was by Wei et. al that says lights at 3500 K provided more visual comfort than that of 5000K.
Natural lights imitate tints of a winter morning or a breezy mountain trail which is perfect for reading through the chapters of your textbook or even memorizing your Bride’s Maid speech. It is also optimum for repetitive tasks such as encoding or sorting through a pile of folders on your desk.
Cool White (CW)
Cool white LED lights have color temperatures of around 5000-6500 K. This color temperature makes the mind more alert and active. It was suggested by Mogas-Reglade and Palau (2020) that using LED lights with higher temperature ratings in schools will boost the alertness of students.
LEDs with Cool White temperatures are conducive for crunching your Maths, practicing for your SATs, and even answering a Sudoku puzzle that you are stuck with.
Aside from those mentioned above, you can also opt to choose dimmable lights. This type of light allows you to control the brightness or color of the LEDs based on your liking. You can switch from Warm to Natural to Cool White to suit your study needs.
You also have the freedom to explore other features of LEDs. There are options that have timer settings or adjustable lighting and beam angle. With the number of products available today, there will surely be an LED that is just right for you.
RGB+ Warm White (RGBWW)
This type of LED light can change from one color to another. You have the option to switch from red, green, and yellow hues as you wish. But it also has the added monochromatic warm white light that allows a consistent color temperature within the colors.
Still in the range of 2200-3200 K, this special type of LED light is best for accessorizing your tables or your desks. It could also be used to outline your room or your under-bed to set a mood.
White+ RGB+ Warm White (WRGBWW)
Another one of the special LEDs is the WRGBWW. It is a combination of RGB lights with White and Warm White lights. This makes the color temperature of the LED to be adjustable from 2500-6500 K.
With this feature, you can set up your study area and change the lighting based on your preference. It allows more freedom for you to customize the temperature of your LED lights based on which setting works for you best.
How about now? Did this article shed light on choosing the best LED for your study? (No pun intended). But wait, there’s more.
It is also important to note that the color rendering index or CRI of the LED should be considered. If the CRI of the light is poor, the expected effects of these hues might not be achieved. In choosing your LED lights, make sure to choose one with an efficacy of 85% or higher and a CRI of 90 or more.
Another fascinating fact is that you are not limited to using a single-color LED! You have the option to mix and match the LEDs depending on your liking. You can combine an overhead warm white with a Warm White study lamp. How about natural white for the under-table and a strip of RGB LEDs behind your desktop? The choice is all yours! There are a plethora of combinations that you can choose from.
Just remember that lights should not distract you from your study. As much as we want it to be functional, the aesthetic aspect should not be neglected. You don’t want your study table to be all lights and strings of wires, right? That’s why you should choose the most efficient and convenient LED lights based on what you have learned in this article.
With all this in mind, I am now confident that you’ll be able to overcome your plight in choosing your study lights.
Best of luck, my friend. Have a deLIGHTful study!
Basics of Light and Lighting. Darkless Lighting Academy.
A Brief History of Lighting https://www.osa-opn.org/home/articles/volume_19/issue_9/features/a_brief_history_of_lighting/
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science October 2018, Vol.59, 4804-4811. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.18-24415
Sleegers, P., Moolenaar, N., Galetzka, M., Pruyn, A., Sarroukh, B., & van der Zande, B. (2012). Lighting affects students’ concentration positively: Findings from three Dutch studies. Lighting Research & Technology, 45(2), 159–175. doi:10.1177/1477153512446099
Mogas-Recalde, J., & Palau, R. (2020). Classroom Lighting and Its Effect on Student Learning and Performance: Towards Smarter Conditions. Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies, 3–12. doi:10.1007/978-981-15-7383-5_1