Learning effectively is essential to academic success, and not simply about how long or short your study sessions last. In fact, it depends on both how and when you decide to study. Everyone’s internal body clock and circadian rhythm play an integral part in influencing our study styles and methods. This is applicable even if it is for primary school education or completing a master’s programme. Let’s discover how science can assist with finding optimal study times as well as suggestions on optimising study schedules in order to reach maximum efficiency.
Many find morning to be the ideal time for productive study sessions and focused concentration. According to research, our cognitive functions such as concentration, memory and problem-solving skills peak during this hour of the day. Several students studying the MBA in Singapore universities also have reported this.
One factor contributing to increased alertness and decreased sleep inertia (the wake-up grogginess) is caused by cortisol levels rising naturally each morning – helping you wake up feeling fresher while maintaining optimal brain operation. If you feel that you are more focused and alert in the morning, then that might be an ideal time to tackle difficult subjects or engage in intensive studying sessions.
Some individuals do not find early rising to be natural and that is perfectly fine. Instead, they may notice an increase in cognitive capabilities during the afternoon hours – this phenomenon is known as the afternoon benefit. Your body’s temperature, alertness and reaction time tend to peak around this time.
Afternoons are an ideal time to strengthen knowledge, revisit material or participate in study groups. Furthermore, this time of the day can be great to work on creative tasks that require brainstorming – your brain tends to work better and is more flexible during this period than at other times of the day.
Although going against conventional wisdom may result in lower productivity than trying to establish a morning schedule – night owls often prefer night sessions over morning routines as these often result in higher concentration levels and productivity levels.
However, if you tend to study late into the night, it would be beneficial to adjust your schedule according to your circadian rhythm. Be mindful of getting enough restful sleep as sleeping too little can affect both cognitive performance and general health.
Your optimal time for learning depends upon your own circadian rhythms. Play around with different study times until you find one that works well for you!
Consider other aspects such as daily commitments, your work timetable and family obligations when scheduling study time. Although it is ideal to study at times most suitable to you, you may not always have that time freed up. Therefore, it may be beneficial to fit shorter study sessions into your schedule to ensure that you are on the right track.
While identifying your most productive cognitive hours is vital to success, having a regular study schedule is also critical to maximise learning capabilities. People thrive with routines. Thus, having an established study routine will enable you to optimise your learning potential.
Unstable sleep patterns or fluctuating study schedules can disrupt your natural circadian rhythm, impairing your ability to focus and retain information. Therefore, whether you are an early riser or an afternoon person, make sure you set a consistent study schedule in order to be more efficient during each study session.
Now that we understand the significance of aligning study time to your circadian rhythm, here are a few helpful strategies to maximise your study time:
Establish a Study Routine: It is crucial that you create a daily study routine that is realistic and one that you can keep up with. Consistency is key in establishing effective routines.
Prioritise Complex Tasks: Set aside your best cognitive hours for more complex topics or assignments that require serious concentration.
Avoid Cramming: Instead of studying all at once the night before your examination , break up your studies throughout the day in order to understand and retain material more easily.
Get Enough Rest: To maintain proper brain functionality and optimal memory, ensure you get enough restful sleep each night. Sleep deprivation can adversely impact your concentration throughout your day.
Stay Hydrated and Eat Well: Nutrition and hydration are critical elements for cognitive performance, especially before studying. Be careful not to have heavy meals before studying, as it could make you feel fatigued easily.
Reduce Distractions: Create an uncluttered study space and consider using the Pomodoro Technique (a time management routine based on 25-minute stretches of focused work with intervals of a 5-minute break to stay focused while studying.
The optimal time and place to study and perform well in examinations varies for everyone, depending on your study habits. However, aligning your study time with your daily rhythms and activities, can increase productivity and make your study sessions more fruitful. Finding out your own rhythm – early riser, afternoon person or night-owl – and maintaining it throughout your studies is vital in attaining academic success. Get acquainted with your internal clock; focus on studying during these key hours of the day and watch your performance soar!
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