What does science say? Is it better to study at night or in the morning?
The biggest advantage of online degree programs is that your classes and study time are largely based on your schedule, not the university’s. That makes online education more inclusive for those of us who work and have active families. In a recent survey, UTEP Connect professors were asked to define the habits of successful students. In addition to having an active online presence, our professor noted that creating a good work and study environment is important. But when is the best time for you to study – at day’s end or day’s beginning? What do professionals advise?
Optimal study times can vary depending on your age and natural circadian biology (biorhythms). For example, in April 2017, experts from University of Nevada released findings that indicated young adult students may need to avoid early-morning classwork, as their brainpower was best between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.
For most 20-something students, the early morning actually feels unnatural. Although their aversion to mornings has been cited as laziness, it is in fact normal for individuals their age. “This shift is at its greatest at age 19, before reverting to an earlier pattern when adults hit their mid-20s,” the research explained.
Dozing off during study may be beneficial
Medical Daily released information that supports another, newer study development: sleep learning. Let’s say you had a busy day but although you’re tired, you still manage to study a bit before bed. Is that a waste of time? In fact, it’s the opposite. During sleep, your brain processes the information you studied, so your retention is much more intense.
As the memory-consolidation process does its best work during slow-wave sleep, your brain could be getting both the restoration and reactivation it needs during its time of rest at night. All of this means that reviewing study materials before bed can actually help your brain learn, even in your sleep. – The Best Colleges, 17 Scientifically Proven Ways to Study Better
Clear your head
If you’re working and balancing an active family life with online education, you may not have the luxury of choosing your study time. You’ve got to take it when you can get it, but guess what? You can maximize your information retention with a bit of exercise before you study.
Studies have shown that exercise improves associative memory and increases pattern similarity in the hippocampus, which is an important area of the brain in terms of learning and memory. What this means for you is that exercise can work the same way as sleep; it refocuses your mind and adds value to your study experience.
Researchers at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior at Radboud University/University of Edinburgh explored the exercise-study connection and found this three-step process to be the best way to maximize your learning potential during study time:
- Study for about 40 minutes
- Exercise for about 35 minutes
- Return to your studies
Daytime or nighttime? Study on your time
Making the time to study every day is more important than studying at a particular time. We know that advancing your career and maximizing your earning potential through a degree program is your main goal, but establishing strong time management techniques is also important. That’s why the University of Texas at El Paso offers UTEP Connect.
Your path to a better career can start now. To learn more about our online undergraduate, graduate and technical certificate programs, call 915-747-5000 or contact us online. You can find more online study tips here on our blog.