What is your best study time? Is it better to study at night or during the day? Should students stay up as late as necessary to finish schoolwork?

Almost every student is, at some point during his or her school days, faced with a stubborn pile of homework that needs to get done and a clock that reads 11:30 p.m. Though, deciding on studying at night does vary for each student.

Everyone thinks they know what the best time to study is but the reality is that each person is different and there is no clear winner from a scientific point of view. There are some people who get more out of studying at night while others find the best time to study to be the morning or the afternoon. And while some students like to get up early in the morning and study, most will say that late night studying is most productive. When it comes to brain power, students will say they perform better at night–and the fact that parents might find surprising and interesting is that science seems to agree.

Scientific studies have shown that the brain works actively at night so it is more effective to study before you go to bed but this does not hold true for those who are morning people and learn better upon waking up. Although, staying up to finish homework may not fit every specific student and people can be divided into three types: morning larks, those who naturally wake up early and sleep early; night owls, those who naturally sleep in and go to bed late; and regular robins, those who do not sleep very late or very early. So it would be much harder for morning larks to do homework late into the night, and they would do better waking up in the morning to finish homework.

It is important for students to find the best time of the day that fits them most, learn better and with less effort, but to find the best time to study needs some self-experimentation as everyone is their own best judge as to when they perform best. To know your best time to study, you need to try studying at any time which you feel is the best for you, like in the evening or morning, for an extended length of time, at least a week, and then try something else and compare how well you did at both times.

Therefore, students who do have heavy homework loads would most likely be night owls and would then benefit more from studying later rather than early in the morning.

In a purely physiological outlook, the body is better equipped to study later at night than in the morning, blood sugar is at its lowest in the morning, which means that students have less of an ability to concentrate. Studying at night may also be more beneficial because night-studying will result in more retained information than studying in the morning. Although, going to bed after studying gives the student the ability to better process and absorb the material they just learned.

Studying through the night might not work for everyone, but it will benefit the largest number of students, so, the best course of action for every student is to maximize efficiency and finish all homework and studying before it gets too late.

Benefits of nighttime studying

  • It is very peaceful and quiet during the night, the rest of the house is asleep and can’t disturb you, and it’s just you and your books. There are no distractions, except the bed, to take your mind off your studies. The mind’s creative output also increases at night – maybe that’s the reason so many writers, poets and artists work until the early hours of the morning.
  • But if your must burn the midnight oil, you must also make sure that you get enough sleep during the day or after a couple of days you will gain nothing by staying up late.
  • Also make sure that your study in a well-lighted place otherwise you will start feeling drowsy sooner and strain your eyes and thus find them, and your head, aching.
  • Do keep track of the time, so that you know how much time is left until your cut off time so that you can focus on finishing what you have planned. Take breaks, walk around, munch on some snacks or just move around to refresh your body and mind.
  • If you’re lucky enough to live near a library that’s open late, you will notice that the library is near deserted when you want to study late. At night there are fewer distractions than during the day, most of your friends are asleep and your social networks will be less active and the night can increase your creative efficacy and help you see concepts differently.
  • Some people advocate the use of music to fight away the boredom or loneliness that can creep in when studying alone in the night. Light music, preferably instrumental or songs that don’t distract you much, playing very softly in the background and not loudly through the earphones, have been found to be effective when people are doing mathematical problems.

See which one works for you – individual preferences, and learn all the tough subjects at that time to accomplish more and get better results, what you’re studying, your resources, time management, and your natural sleep cycle.

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