Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Reading Light

A good reading light will illuminate your pages but not interfere with your partner’s sleep.

LED lights lighting up a book
Studies show reading before bed is better for your brain than watching TV or fumbling with a smartphone.Nong Vang

No matter how bad of a day you had, no matter what the weather is outside, you know you can count on that comforting feeling of getting into bed and turning off all of the lights except the one that lights up the pages of your book. Except when it doesn’t, because the lamp is too dim, or the light is too harsh and disturbs your bedmate. That’s why it’s so important to invest in a good reading light, and the best one to get depends on what you read, your sensitivity to light, and how you like to lay in bed while reading. Here’s how to pick a good reading light.

Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light, Book Light for Reading in Bed
This model has an ergonomic fit and three temperature modes.Glocusent

A light you wear rather than clip on a book offers several advantages. One is you can easily read paperback books. A paperback cover isn’t strong enough to hold a clamp-style book light, so you need to clamp the light onto both the cover and several pages. That alters how you can hold the book and makes it difficult to turn pages.

Amber Clip-On Reading Light by Hooga
This model makes nodding off easier.Hooga

One problem with reading at night is most bulbs project blue light spectrum rays that can make it harder for your brain to shut off when you’re trying to sleep. A light that’s designed to block blue light—which can trick your mind into thinking it is still daylight—allows your brain to naturally produce melatonin, ensuring a restful night.

LEPOWER Clip on Light
Upright, it’s a small table lamp. Bent low, it’s perfect for reading a book.LEPOWER

If you like to sit up and read, or if you like to vary the amount of light according to what you’re reading, consider a dimmable book light with a long neck that you can clamp onto a nightstand or headboard. A plug-in light doesn’t flicker, and one with a large clamp and long neck means you can mount it on a headboard and share it with someone else (which is sometimes better than two lights on at the same time). You can dim the light and turn it toward you if your bedmate wants to stop reading and go to sleep. It’s also handy when all other lights are off. Turn it to full strength as you prepare for bed, then dim it and read for a bit before you finally fall into a peaceful slumber.

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