Ergonomics When Studying

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes



Spending many hours studying can lead to discomfort, especially if your study environment is not optimized ergonomically.

Most desks and chairs are built for the general population. And that’s why your body is often screaming for pain after a long session of studying.

Fortunately, you do not have to spend a lot of money if you want to improve your workstation. Let us look at a few ways we can get this right…


Pick the right desk height

Arguably the most important factor in having a proper ergonomic workstation is the height of your desk.

It shouldn’t be too tall that it might strain your neck muscles, but also not too short that it might strain your back.

Most desks are 27-30 inches tall. If these tables are not comfortable, you can look for other desks that might be taller or shorter.

It is a good investment and can help lessen back pains in the future if you use one appropriate for your height.


Adjustable height desk

If the budget allows, consider purchasing an adjustable-height desk. This can be the perfect solution for people who want to benefit from both a sitting and a standing position.

However, if this option is too expensive, you can always set a timer for 30 to 40 minutes while studying.

When the timer goes off, you should stretch or walk around for around 3 to 5 minutes before resuming your study session.


Leg room

It might seem a good idea to have a drawer to store your important files and things close by. However, if you want to improve your station, you might want refrain from getting desks that have such a convenience.

When you are properly sitting on your chair, you might notice that there is little for your legs if it has a drawer. That’s why most office executive tables do not have drawers where the chair would be.

If one is a necessity for you, buy a desk that has plenty of room for your legs.


Adjust your chair

Contrary to popular belief, you should not adjust your chair until your feet can lay flat on the floor. While it is advisable to do so, your main concern should be adjusting your chair in terms of how tall the desk is.

If you cannot adjust your desk, that is totally fine. Since most desks are around 30 inches tall, it can be too short or tall for someone.

Adjusting your chair can prevent you from slouching or straining while you are studying.

A lot of chairs can be adjusted to make them more comfortable for the person sitting on them. However, if you do not have an adjustable chair, you can always put pillows to increase the height.


90-degree elbow

So how tall should your chair be? When you lay your hands flat on the desk, your elbow should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Remember that your shoulders should be relaxed and never strained.


Reclined chair

While your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle, your hips and back should be slightly reclined. While sitting straight feels good at first, you might be more prone to slouching after just a few minutes.

Lay back a little and relax your shoulders when you are sitting on your desk. In this position, your muscles are more relaxed, and you won’t easily get strained.


Get a footstool

If your desk is too high, your feet might not reach the floor when you adjust your chair properly. Do not worry, as you can easily get a footstool so that your feet are lying flat.

If you let your legs dangling, they may easily get sore, and you’re more likely to get an early break.

If you do not have a footstool readily available in your dorm, you can get a rim of paper or a stack of books to serve as your footstool temporarily.


Adjust your monitor

To avoid bending your back often, your monitor should be properly adjusted. Your eye level should be at the top of the screen.

This is the optimum position that can prevent you from getting into an uncomfortable position.

Your monitor should be an arm’s length from where you are sitting. This is the appropriate distance.

It is not too far that you will slouch towards the monitor to view your screen, and not too near that your eyes will easily get tired.


Monitor stands

If your monitor cannot be adjusted, there are a lot of monitors stands available online that you can purchase. They are inexpensive and can help you in the long run.

Some of the stands available also have additional functions, such as an integrated USB hub or a mini drawer to keep your things tidy.

Alternatively, you can also use a rim of paper to increase its height. Just make sure that it is properly placed and that your monitor will not fall easily.

Do not use a stack of books when adjusting your monitor’s height as most books have a glossy cover, and your monitor might slip, especially if it is too heavy.


Laptop stand

On the other hand, if you are using a laptop, you can use a kickstand to increase the height of your screen. Of course, this might mean that your keyboard is not ergonomically placed on your desk, but that’s fine.

You can opt for an external mouse and keyboard, which are cheaply available online. You do not need anything fancy, just a simple one that can help you while working.


Mouse and keyboard placement

There is a general rule when placing these items on your desk. Your keyboard should be directly in front of your desk. It should not be too near that your shoulders are strained when you are typing.

Your mouse, on the other hand, needs to be near and accessible. Your arms should be placed directly beside your keyboard so you can easily switch between the two.



Ample lighting is important when you are studying to avoid eye-strain. Ideally, you should have a bright overhead lamp when reading your books. However, if you share your room with others, a table lamp will suffice.

To avoid strain, the light source should come from behind you. If the light source comes in front of you, excess light can bounce off the book’s page and hurt your eyes.

If the light source is too far away, you will find yourself slouching to clearly see the text.


Final thoughts

Remember that the ergonomics of your study station is as important as your lessons. Always be sure to take care of yourself during these mentally draining late-night study periods.


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