Is the daytime or nighttime better for studying? Here’s what the research says about studying the effectiveness at different times.
For students, settling down and focusing is key to a successful academic life. Yet with so many distractions around — smartphones, streaming, the internet — an engaging session of homework can be more elusive than expected.
Writing an essay, revising for a test, or committing essential facts to memory – these can take some discipline and planning. It’s stressful for those at school (and their parents) to realize suddenly the assignment hasn’t been touched and the weekend’s almost over.
Keeping to a regular schedule assists the kids in getting everything done and assimilating the information in a sustainable way. A good schedule and workstation facilitates effective learning and prevents the stress of last-minute rush. So when planning, is day or night better for studying?
The time of day could have an impact on the type of brain activity or studying you should do. People’s brains might be sharper in the earlier hours, following a good night’s rest and after a healthful breakfast.
During the earlier hours, the human brain might be more receptive to grasping new things or revisiting notes. As you’re more alert then, you might be able to recall data and details more effectively.
Afternoons, on the other hand, could be better for integrating information, making connections, and getting the big-picture view. This can be a great period for enhancing the meaningfulness of their studies and deepen their understanding. In most cases, keeping to a predictable routine could be a great approach.
While different times could be better for certain types of academic activity, whether nighttime or daytime is better will depend on the person. Everyone has their own natural rhythm and the research suggests you should align with it rather than against it.
During daylight larks, for example, will be efficient at analytical work that needs strong focus. More routine, repetitive work could be done later. However, night owls, in contrast, will find the reverse to be true. Some people might be a little bit of both a night owl and a morning lark.
Working out your learning style and identifying your energy levels can assist you in figuring out when is the best moment to do certain types of studies. Taking into account your favorite (and least favorite) subjects can also be important. For example, for someone who hates numbers, getting math homework out of the way earlier might be ideal.
The road to productivity lies in experimentation. Observe how you (or your child) does at different times. Consider when you assimilate information more effectively and when it’s easier to make connections between ideas. This can enable you to determine whether you’re a day studier or a nighttime studier — or perhaps somewhere in between.
Larks tend to have more energy in the early hours. They find it easier to concentrate and to absorb and retain facts in the morning. It lets you take advantage of natural light and helps you avoid disrupting your sleep routine. It’s also easier to connect with classmates for study groups.
Owls are those who have more energy and better focus later. They might find afternoons, evenings, or nighttime to be optimal periods for getting things done. You can take advantage of having fewer distractions and a quieter environment as people are winding down.
Furthermore, going to bed right after homework could help you consolidate facts more effectively, thereby enhancing your recall. Owls should be careful about getting enough sleep and avoid their schedule interrupting the quality of rest. It’s a good idea to start early if possible so you can finish and get to bed.
So is it possible to find the optimal time for everyone? There isn’t one that applies to all. Each person will have their own preferences, learning style, and varying energy levels. Start by working out whether you’re an owl or lark and paying attention to your peak energy levels.
With a bit of experimentation, you and your child can find the best moment to undertake an effective review. This could change depending on the type of work the student is undertaking, along with their subject preferences.
Peak performance and productivity are never exact sciences, so parents and children will need to dedicate a little effort to find the prime time to study. Of course, identifying optimal periods is only one part of an effective study plan. To support those at school who are doing their best, empower students — especially older ones — in taking charge of their plans.
Reward them for achieving optimal outcomes. As parents, it’s also useful to guide your kids with a little context as to why certain topics might be important for their future. The opportunity to learn is a reward in itself, but children might appreciate an understanding of why subjects are useful.