They say the early bird catches the worm. For anyone who has ever hit the snooze button on the alarm clock a few dozen times, it's not always easy to get out of bed to study. Night owls may prefer late night study sessions in the library and others find themselves groggy in the evenings unable to focus. Afternoons might seem ideal, but even those hours can be whiled away with coffee dates, classes, and naps. What's a student to do?
Turns out, the best way to stay on track and avoid missing important deadlines is to pick a study schedule and stick with it. Of course, when you develop a study schedule, it's best to factor in when you work best. Here are some of the benefits of studying during the morning, afternoon and evening hours:
Many people find themselves most alert and motivated at the beginning of the day. Once they pour themselves a cup of joe and eat a healthy breakfast, they're ready to tackle the world. Because your brain has been refreshed by a good night's sleep, you're more likely to feel refreshed and energized in the morning. Combined with the natural daylight working to keep you awake and alert, this energy can help you power through any assignment you need to tackle. The best part? Morning study sessions don't interrupt your sleep schedule, ensuring you have enough gas in the tank to get through your day.
Afternoon studiers have a huge benefit: access to their peers. The afternoon hours are when friends and classmates are most likely to be free to meet up and study together. The added social element makes such sessions more fun. Having accountability buddies who rely on you to show up when you say you will is also helpful. During the afternoon hours, you're also likely to have access to tutors who can help you complete assignments and go over complex ideas you need extra help with.
If your energy peaks in the evening hours, then night studying may be best for you. People generally think more creatively in the evening hours when there is peace and quiet. The lack of interruptions can't be undervalued! With fewer distractions than daytime studying, the night is yours and yours alone.
If you find it realistic to study at any time of day, you may be asking yourself: when is the best time to learn and retain new information? The answer could help determine when you should study. The answer, however, isn't as straightforward as you might expect.
According to a study performed by the University of Sussex, humans actually process two types of memorization, Semantic and Declarative, throughout the day. Declarative memory tasks like remembering facts, names, dates and statistics are easiest in the morning hours. On the other hand, Semantic memory tasks like integrating new information into the context of what we're studying are more easily undertaken in the afternoon.
What does this mean for your study plans? If you're hoping to study new material, take care of it first thing in the morning. In the afternoon, use what you've learned to integrate it with what you already know. It's a winning formula proven by science!
While it's important to determine how best your brain learns, it's also crucial to understand the way diet impacts our ability to learn. Without proper nutrition, the hours you spend studying could be less impactful. To eat a brain-boosting diet, embrace healthy foods like broccoli. While it might not be your favorite, it's packed with vitamin K and antioxidants, which help improve your memory skills.
But it doesn't have to be all veggies all the time! Nuts, coffee, eggs, and even dark chocolate have been linked to brain health. The best food you could possibly treat your brain to? Fatty fish. Time and time again, fatty fish is recommended for its rich omega-3s. These are a major building block for the brain, improving your mood and sharpening your memory.
Building these foods into your diet is just one way to prepare for studying. Making sure you get a full eight hours of sleep each night is just as important. Scheduling your day with plenty of free time for studying is also crucial. While these tips might seem easy, employing them is sometimes more challenging than you might expect. You get out what you put in, though, and the benefits of studying are obvious.
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