These are the best times of the day for effective studying
Benedict Carey, a science writer at The New York Times and author of the book How We Learn, states that rather than studying a book from cover to cover, it is better to ration our efforts to achieve truly effective studying. "Last-minute cramming" never works. The key lies in planning and at what time you study each day.
In this regard, the author says that "the brain is not a muscle". It's more than that: it is an organ that is sensitive to mood, time, circadian rhythms, the environment, and location. It records much more information than we realize and adds details that we do not notice". So, based on the theory, what are the best times of day for effective studying?
The night is for sleeping and not for studying
Many students are likely to disagree with this statement. As humans, we are prone to habitual behavior. We get used to doing something in a certain way and create the illusion that there is no better way to do it. However, let's see what the experts have to say.
Verónica Alarcón, an expert child educational psychologist, believes that getting a good night's sleep is crucial as "sleeping is when we consolidate what we have learned. Even if it's hard to believe, we also learn when we are sleeping. Therefore, if you are not sleeping well, you are skipping a fundamental activity for consolidating any information you want to learn".
OK. Sleeping is important, but why at night?
Why is it important to sleep at night? The first reason is that studying should be alternated with other activities. "At night, we have no other option than to study, or at least to try to study. It's important to acknowledge that our body is designed to rest during these hours", according to Aprendemas.com, experts in training and education. And, it gets even worse: "some students use caffeine and even dangerous drugs to stay up and study, which generates a false reality of being awake."
However, according to Diego Santos, from the student website examtime.com, studying at night also has its advantages. Firstly, you can get some peace and quiet, and there are fewer distractions: "Most people are asleep at night and social media is less of a distraction." Santos also points out that "the nighttime can increase your creative capacity and help you see concepts from a different perspective".
Start your day studying
We all know that we get increasingly tired over the course of the day. Psychologist Angela Anguita explains that "taking advantage of the early hours of the morning means that we have enough energy to carry out our task, provided that we have got enough rest the night before. If you haven't got a good night's sleep, rest first and then study in the afternoon". Javier Taborda, a professor in the Department of Educational Studies at Caldas University in Colombia, says that, for studying, "the best time is in the morning between 7/8 am and midday".
In any case, as demonstrated by a study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), optimal performance "is achieved when there is a balance between study and sleep time". While many students may focus better at night, it is important to recuperate the hours of sleep missed by staying up and studying. Ultimately, it is important to listen to your body and to adjust the general techniques to the characteristics of different times of the day.