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As an ardent reader myself, I discovered that light color for reading at night is an essential consideration for many night readers.
This is because If you are the ‘typical’ contemporary working person who loves reading, you might probably be doing most of your page-turning at night.
In this article, I will provide you with an answer to which color light is best to read at night without stressing your eyes in any way.
As you already know, a good reading light also will not hurt your eye or affect your sleep even when used over long periods.
Now a quick answer to the question;
The best color of light for reading at night is 3000K; it is a color temperature that has a warm tone or a yellowish color. It is the most suitable color for night reading on the bed and sleeping. Its easy-on-the-eyes and doesn’t cause eye strain or stress.
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Also, below are 3 of the best light for reading at night. They offer flexibility of use, less stress on the eye as well as the best color temperature for night reading.
If your interest is beyond the color of the lights, then you may want to see the these article where I reviewed some of the best eye-friendly desk lamps.
Let us continue.
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The Role of Lighting Color in Reading
The color of your lighting plays a significant role in determining how comfortable your reading will be, and ultimately, how much you’re able to get out of it.
It could be the difference between delightfully waltzing through prose and laboring over a few pages for hours.
Even if you adopt the ‘perfect’ positioning, poor lighting could still mar the whole experience.
Further in this article, we will look at the alternative light colors for reading, and find out why warm yellow light works best.
Let’s cut through the various alternatives.
Alternative Colors for Reading Light
In principle, you could try reading with lights of any color. The light would include green, red, and blue. Except that these hues aren’t conducive for catching text with the eyes. You only need to imagine it to understand how difficult- and pointless –such a task would be.
Green lights are good for surveying environments for movement and hidden objects at night, but they are no good for looking at text for prolonged periods.
Red and blue lights have their functions too.
But if you tried reading with them, they’ll leave you feeling disoriented. Plus, you won’t be grasping much from your study either.
There are also darker shades of yellow light, which we might try to read with sometimes- or when there are no better options available.
But if you have used it for this purpose, you’ll know that they can be fairly inadequate.
It does a far better job than the ones we’ve already mentioned, but it’s not the best there is.
There are three other shades and colors of light to consider: cool white, yellow-white (or warm white), and natural light (or artificial light that closely matches this).
These are the ones most commonly used for reading at night. There are also shades of white.
What we’re saying in effect is that yellow lights, or white lights tending in the direction of yellow, are best for your nightly reading
Here we’ll be dealing with two of these, cool white and warm white, and finding out whether one provides better lighting for night reading than the other.
Warm Vs Cool Light, Which one offers the best Light for Reading at Night
So we’re down to two lights: warm light and cool light.
You might be wondering what we mean when we refer to ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ lights. Here’s a brief explanation.
The warmness and coolness of lights can be understood as a spectrum, which runs between yellow and bright white. This spectrum also corresponds to light temperature, which is measured in Kelvin (K). The yellow light from candles is rated at about 1,000 K; normal daylight has a ‘temperature’ of 6000 K.
The artificial warm lights we refer to here are rated at about 3000 K. Cool light is measured at about 8,000 K.
The suitability of these lights comes down to the reaction of our eyes to them. Warm lights have a relaxing effect. This is why they tend to be used in bedrooms and living rooms, where our resting and relaxation takes place.
Cool lights are ‘sharper’ and more ‘energetic’. They ‘summon’ us to focus our gazes on things. As such, they are the preferred option for workplaces, kitchens, and bathrooms.
All of this means that we should be applying these lights differently to our reading.
Because warm lights (yellow-white or warm white) have a relaxing effect, they are suited to regular or leisure reading. You’re more likely to fall asleep while using warm lights. It’s your go-to for gliding through an interesting novel or comic book.
Warm lights allow for the production of melatonin, the hormone which gets you into a relaxed (and eventually sleepy) mode.
But if you’re engaging in a demanding study, you should go for cool lighting. Your aim here is to keep your mind working as you grapple with potentially complex ideas and try to register them in your memory. For this, the focusing effect of cool white wins over the relaxing powers of warm yellow.
Cool white light is closer to blue color temperature. Lights on this portion of the spectrum tend to inhibit the production of melatonin by causing your brain to interpret the visual stimuli as though it’s daytime.
Not surprisingly, some studies have established a link between reading with cooler lighting and better academic performance. One found that lights on the higher end of the color temperature spectrum produce greater agility and concentration, with the commensurate increase in heart rate. On the other hand, warmer lights enhanced performance in recess activities.
However, there’s also some degree of individual preference at play with these things.
Research suggests that people who live in regions exposed to whiter lights will work better with artificial lights that closely mirror their natural realities; but if they live in areas illuminated by warmer-colored light, they will prefer artificial lights that are akin to those.
Other Factors Worth Considering
The brightness of the light you read with is just as important as its color. If your light is too bright or too dim, your reading will be hampered.
Physicians say that older people- especially when they are over 60 years –require reading lights that are up to 80% brighter than what young people can manage.
The reason for this is that as we age, the ability of our iris to adjust to light intensities decreases. The older they get, the less able they are to open up wide.
If you have short sight, you will need to use brighter lights than many people your age. You may also prefer lights that match natural illumination to warmer alternatives.
Also, note that battery-powered lights dim as they exhaust the energy stored within them.
It’s advisable to recharge them when they are past their specified maximum performance periods, or when they begin to dim. Dull lights may damage your eyesight.
The Best Lighting Technology for Reading
What kind of bulbs gives the best warm and cool lights for reading?
Halogen lights are better at illuminating working spaces than incandescent bulbs because they yield whiter lights than the former.
Perhaps incandescent bulbs have the advantage of bathing your home in a warmer, more relaxing glow. But they are also notoriously inefficient with their energy consumption, and they don’t dissipate heat very well.
However, LED lights can produce lights just as bright as, or even brighter than either halogen or fluorescent bulbs while consuming far less energy.
Some LED lights are also capable of producing several colors and intensities of light, including warm white and cool white.
And when you inadvertently strike your hand against the bulb or surface of the light you use, you don’t want to get burnt by the heat that it emits. With LED lights, you’re safe from this sort of thing.
You could use LED reading lamps or task lights that shine in the color (or with the brightness) you want. Whatever the warmth or coolness of your preferred lighting, make sure it has a Colour Rendering Index (CRI) of 90 or more so that it’ll give you good color quality.
Whether you’re a bookworm or an occasional reader, you will want to enjoy your reading experience. If you intend to slide along an interesting book and sleep on it in the process, warmer lights are your best bet.
But if you are wafting through heavy-duty material with dense concepts, cooler brighter lights should help keep you focused on the task.