What Color Light Is Best For Reading At Night? (Detail Explain)

Reading before sleep reduces stress & significantly enhances mental ability in all stages of life. However, if you don’t want your passion for reading to disrupt your sleep pattern – you must opt for the right color light for reading at night. 


Light color refers to light temperature which is measured in kevin (K). The lower the count is (below 3000K), the warmer or yellowish the light will be. Again, if the count is above 5000K – you’ll encounter a white & natural day like lighting experience. 

The ideal color for a nighttime reading light is yellowish (warm white) and the temperare should be around 2700k to 3000K with a Color Rendering Index (CRI) of 80 to 89. As CRI indicates the light quality, it’s also an important metric. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to determining the ideal light color, due to different needs & preferences. Don’t worry, I’ll explain when you may need to adjust the Kelvin & CRI count while getting a nighttime reading light. Without further ado, let’s get started. 

How To Select the Ideal Light for Late-Night Reading

Depending on your need & preferences, you have to select your ideal light for late-night reading. Some light colors/temperatures will help you to get a good sleep, whereas others will force you to stay focused & forget about sleeping. 

Night Light For Good Sleep 

If you’re just passionate about reading & don’t care whether or not you fall asleep during reading, opt for a light of warm white color. Warm white light along with soft white or yellow light promotes good sleep as they don’t disrupt the circadian rhythm. 

Warm white light normally has a color temperature range of 2700K to 3000K. That being said, aim for buying a nighttime reading light in the 2700K-3000K range. You should also look for the CRI count to be 80s (80-89) & it will significantly enhance your reading experience. 

Night Light For Focus  

If you have exams onward or any urgent material to read, you should stay focused leaving your sleep aside. Though it doesn’t sound healthy, sometimes we have to prioritize reading over sleeping. 

Cool white color light of 5000K-6500K & CRI of 90s (90-100) will keep you focused on your work. As white light decreases melatonin (sleep hormone) production, it disrupts the circadian rhythm responsible for your sleepy feel at night. 

Overall, you can expect to delay your sleep time up to 3 hours if you’re using a white light of 5000K or above.

A friendly advice – “Don’t stress your sleep pattern too much if it’s not that urgent.”

How Many Lumens Do You Need for Reading Before Sleep?

Depending on your need, you can get a nighttime lamp/light of 100 lumens to 250 lumens for reading before sleep.

If you’re getting a neck reading light or clip-on reading light, don’t exceed the 100 lumens mark & make sure it’s adjustable. On the other hand, if you’re trying to get your reading done with intense focus – opt for a table lamp that offers around 250 lumens. 


I hope this article was helpful enough to inform you what color light is best for reading at night. Now you know which color (light temperature) is suitable for you & how to choose the correct one for reading. 

If you’re still confused with your choice, I would recommend you to check two of our detailed guides on What Led Light Color Helps You Focus & What Color LED Light Helps You Sleep. After reading these articles, you’ll have even more information to make an informed decision. 

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