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The Best Time of the Day to Study
According to Science


By Sandra Hayward

People unleash their creativity at different times of the day. There are those who ascribe to being night owls while others call themselves morning birds. Thus, the question is; where do you stand? And what does science say regarding the best time to do something? In this case, it would count as one of the many helpful study tips for students who must utilize the limited time they have at school.

The truth is; you must have read a lot of publications on how to study in college, including the right time for doing so. But, did you question the authenticity of such information? Does research back them?

Nevertheless, a conventional belief in ‘a time for everything’ mantra brings to the fore the day-night cycle. For example, the night is what most people, including students, believe as the right time for sleeping, and so, they would take terms like night owls with a pinch of salt. They would rather handle all tasks at daytime, for the sake of having about eight sleeping hours at night as science advises.

In this post, I look at the best time of the day to study, of course from a scientific standpoint.

A question of productivity

Come to think about it, you spend hours on end trying to beat a deadline for submitting an assignment, whereas another student places a paper order at EssayVikings to avoid taking the brain into overdrive and to avoid fewer than optimal sleeping hours. It is one way of looking at productivity.

The human brain also gets tired after a long day of moving from one lecture hall to the other. It is DNA-wired to do so after all, beyond which, one would easy slump into sleeping disorders. That is the worst-case scenario, not to mention a collapse in your body system.

Productivity bumps would also come about when your brain hits a snag (less-alertness). According to Dr. Michael Reus, a psychologist and sleep doctor, the grey matter is wired in such a way that there are times when one realizes high peak performance during which he or she can do the following:

  • Learn something new
  • Make better decisions
  • Brainstorm and so many other things productively.

What does science say?

Scientific proofs are beyond reproach. They come about as a result of intensive and extensive field research that involves interviews and lab experiments. This section deviates from what people think or believe and takes a nosedive into science-backed approaches to timing as part of study skills.

  • Optimal and Non-Optimal Time
    The brain’s inhibitory processes start to manifest when someone has had a lot to do during the day, beyond which, he or she cannot receive any more information. Some publications refer to it as mental saturation. In Thinking and Reasoning Journal, two researchers, Rose T Zacks and Mareike B Weith published their findings sometime back in the year 2011.

    After questioning 428 students from Midwestern University about their productive highs and lows at different times of the day, they concluded that focus wanes or improves with one’s level of alertness, and ability to overcome concentration inhibitors at optimal daytime hours.

    Those who admitted to being morning persons were able to solve a set of questions that involved critical and analytical thinking in the evening and vice versa, basically, at their non-optimal hours. They must retrieve information from different parts of the brain when seeking solutions, which is only possible after a few hours of learning something new.

    The study suggests that morning persons and night owls should choose a problem-solving time depending on their non-optimal hours respectively. At optimal hours, they are better off studying things that do not require information retrieval or critical thinking.

    Moreover, alertness level is at its peak at optimal hours, during which, one can filter out distractions when acquiring new information. It is therefore easy to come up with the best study methods based on these findings.

  • The Science of Good Timing
    In his publication, The Power Of When, Dr. Michael Reus looks at the human biological clock, and compares it with the natural day-night cycle. He says that the body works in synchronization with good timing. Body alertness, DNA-linked performance, and the circadian rhythm bring about Chronobiology (science of good timing).

    Today, thousands of institutions from around the world have adopted these principles. From schools, hospitals, sports to research agencies (psychology, ecology, genetic), professionals in these areas are now using Chronobiology approaches to determine different ways to study, when to administer medicine to patients, when to go sporting and more.

  • Age
    Scientific proofs on the best time to study further point at age as a major determinant of study and timing. Those whose age start from thirty onwards find day-time or early morning hours as the best time for books, while students who are below thirty do better at night, or late evenings.

In summary, study time isn’t always about when you feel like it but also understanding how the body’s DNA-wired biological clock ticks. You may want to grab a cup of coffee to fire up the brain neurons, but, that could only land one into a productivity bump. A proper understanding of psychological and biological traits further combine with one’s own beliefs to help strike a balance.

Bio: Sandra Hayward is a professional freelance writer who is keen on psychology and time-management. She also likes cooking and visiting new countries.
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