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Best Time To Study – Master Your Memory


Each student is different when it comes to study habits and their best practices. The question of when is the best time to study has been asked in countless ways for many years, but there is no single right or wrong answer. That’s because there are different reasons why the best time to study may be in the morning or at night, and it depends on the student and attention. For the most part, students typically need high energy, adequate sleep, and natural light with limited distractions to study well.

There are many pros and cons to studying at different times of the day, and here, we will take a look at a few of them.

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Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Daytime Benefits

Some people enjoy studying in the daytime. Whether that means when they wake up or come home from school or work, they optimize their study hours with natural light.

  • Refreshed: People often feel more refreshed upon waking up from a good night’s sleep, which helps their brains focus more. They haven’t had to deal with the ins and outs of their daytime routine. This is when students’ brains tend to be sharpest.
  • Sleep Schedule: Studying during the daytime won’t affect your sleep schedule. When students study at night, they may affect their sleep schedule by staying up late.
  • Friends: Some students like to study with their friends in study groups. During the daytime, this is more possible.
  • Natural Light: Natural light from the sun keeps you more alert and focused on the task at hand. It works alongside your circadian rhythm so your body knows it should be awake and alert.

Nighttime Benefits

Some students prefer to study at nighttime as opposed to during the day. Students can find ways to study at night without disrupting their sleep schedule by setting aside hours before bed to get work done.

  • Less Distractions: At night, there are less distractions during the day as families and friends wind down. Therefore, you can focus on your studies.
  • May Improve Recall: Later in the day, students are better able to recall details like names, dates and times for information that they have already learned.
  • Peace and Quiet: Nights are generally more peaceful than the daytime so the peace and quiet can augur well to study.

Memory and Time Effects

Scientists have studied the effects of time and memory and have found that there are different times of days that can affect memory.

According to Dr. Jane Oakhill, a psychologist at the University of Sussex, our brain processes two types of memory. These are called Declarative and Semantic, and the time of the day can affect how you absorb the information.

For example, she found that declarative memory is our ability to recall places, dates, facts and names, which is better processed in the morning. On the other hand, semantic memory, which is our ability to take things we already know and make meaning of it, is better processed in the afternoon. That’s why, according to her research, she believes that problem solving and math-type tasks are best performed in the morning. Then, you can use the evening time for reading, history and comprehension-based tasks.

By being able to better understand how your body and brain functions, you can outline your day to optimize your study tasks.

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Study Tips

Regardless of the time of day you choose to study, it’s most important to always manage your time well. If you attend online college or traditional, on-campus schools, time management can help you stress less and manage more during your academic career.

Here are some ways to manage your time for optimal studying:

  • Prepare a calendar: Prepare a schedule with deadlines and due dates. You can start by outlining your entire term, and then breaking it into smaller time blocks like weeks, days and even hours. By knowing what is upcoming, you can be better prepared and avoid procrastination.
  • Prioritize assignments: Based on deadlines and due dates, you can itemize your list of things to do in order of what’s most pressing based on time.
  • Exercise: To keep stress levels down and endorphins high, you should fit in time to exercise. Exercise not only helps to improve your brain’s functioning, but it also makes you happy and helps to maintain your physical and mental health.
  • Be Flexible: When it comes to time management and studying, it’s important to remain flexible. Although you want to set a schedule to be productive, a lot of things in life are out of your control, so it’s not worth stressing over if not everything goes perfectly to plan. Instead, remain flexible and adaptable. This is especially true when you take online courses.

Online Courses and Studying

Online colleges and institutions leave a lot of the time management aspect of school in your hands. Due to their nature, they tend to be more flexible. For example, University of the People is a 100% online university that offers four degree-granting programs. As such, students can enroll either part-time or full-time, but the load they choose to take on is a matter of individual preference.

Students have the choice to choose when they log on, learn coursework and study. This is beneficial because many students continue to balance familial obligations, work and other responsibilities while earning their degree. However, it means that time management and study skills have to be strong.

The Bottom Line

When it comes down to it, everyone studies differently. Some people like quiet, small study corners with no distractions while others enjoy some music, natural light and some noise to focus. Depending on if you prefer to study during the morning or night, you have to find the right environment and schedule that works well for you.

Once you do figure out your best study habits, even if they do prove to be successful, don’t be afraid to try something new every once in a while. Studying and test-taking skills are often a matter of trial and error. By switching it up now and then, you may find a new time or place that works in your favor and keeps the studying process fresh and exciting.

There is no right or wrong way to study, but no matter the time of day, time management is an important skill to hone to succeed both academically and professionally.

University of the People