How Room Temperature Affects Studying

Finals can be stressful. Some take studying pretty serious and are willing to try anything for the possibility of a few extra points. You might have heard about a few different tips and tricks to try while studying. For example, chewing gum while studying and chewing the same flavor while taking the exam can supposedly help you remember material you covered. Or listening to classical music while studying can help you retain information and focus better than without.

No matter what you may have tried or what your current study habits may be, perhaps there is another factor you can consider to get the most out of your efforts. Is it better to study for finals in a cold room or a hot one? Is there an optimum temperature for learning?

The Environmental Protection Agency special award winners set out to answer that question. Does the temperature you set for your air conditioner or heating system impact student performance? They conducted several experiments that included testing students in different climate-controlled rooms. Their study concluded that temperature does have an affect on student attention span. Students in both the colder and warmer rooms tested poorly compared to those in the control room which was maintained at around 70 degrees. While the data may not be enough to explain the magnitude of the effect, or give an exact temperature, it is a good supporting case among other studies.

A similar study at Cornell University shares the same results with the optimum temperature being between 70-78 degrees. This study continues its research to explain why climate might play such a significant role. The discomfort in your environment is not the only problem that affects your memory and learning capabilities. Your mind becomes focused on maintaining its body temperature, either cooling or heating, in a room that’s too cold or too hot – taking away from your concentration. Warm rooms can make you feel tired and sleepy. Colder rooms may have a shock factor to help you feel awake, but your body is having to use its energy to keep you warm instead.

Overall the ideal studying habits for someone can be as different as the next individual. For optimum productivity, a variety of factors should be considered – your environment being an important one. Consider not only the temperature but the lighting and noises around you. Putting on a sweater or using a small fan is not a bad idea to try to reach a nice balance. Finding the right combination of what will work best for you can be hard as you work to improve your studying skills. Just remember that maintaining a moderate temperature can also help you maintain good grades.


Ben Hubbert is a retired Combat Controller with the United States Air Force. He started Champion AC in 2007. Ben is originally from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He is happily married and an avid fan of the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Saints.