Which Time is Best for Study – AM or PM?

There is nothing as good for students as retaining as much as possible of what they study. Despite high retention being the desire of every student, getting a grip of it is never a walk in the park. It takes some real effort to figure out how, when, and what to study to get the most out of it. A little online research about the best ways to study will give you numerous suggestions, including recommendations about different study approaches. 

But what do such suggestions say about time? Should you study during the AM or PM hours?

As a student, you’re most likely asking yourself the same question.

Ironically, the answers you’ll find aren’t conclusive. When you meet a day person, you’ll be fed with a plethora of reasons why you should study during the day. A night owl will also convincingly defend their body clock because that’s what works for them. By listening to such conflicting schools of thought, and with no scientific proof defending either, you get to realise that most of it are limited to personal experiences.

What Does Chronobiology Say About Study Time?

Before we delve into what chronobiology says, let’s first get to define it. Well, chronobiology is a study concerned with how living things adapt to solar and lunar rhythms. This rhythm consequently has an impact on your biological functions, influencing your productivity at any given time. The different spans among other emotional, health and environmental factors determine your learning retention.

Chronobiology has moved to advanced and complex levels. There is a lot of research being put into place. The focus is to try to establish whether there is a universal best time to study or do some other things. Unfortunately, the research hasn’t been conclusive, especially because there are myriads of things that have a bearing on your ability to study and understand at different times of the day. 

Even though no chronobiology report has been definitive, there is already a lot of information to help you get the best results in your studies.

Why You Need to Know The Best Time to Study

Many students complain about studying hard but not getting the grades they so much aspire for. This often pushes them to a serious study overdrive that results in days and nights of serious academic work. Unfortunately, the fruits of such hard work are never commensurate to the invested effort. What does this tell you? You must know the most fitting time for you to study and when to switch your focus to other things. Remember that as soon as you hit saturation, you’ll just be wasting time reading, but not understanding or retaining anything.

Therefore, it’s vital to ascertain the time when you’re most productive and have the highest retention. Once you know the time that works best for you, make the best use of it and leave the rest of the day for other activities. For example, if you’re the type who absorbs the maximum during the early morning, study as much as your system can take during that time.

Disagreements Among Chronobiologists   

It’s a sure thing that chronobiologists aren’t in agreement on the most productive time. The dissenting voices are justified because of one reason or the other. And one of these reasons is that not everyone functions the same way at all times. Moreover, not everyone sleeps and wakes up at the same time, neither does everyone have the same amount of sleep. With such differences, the individual productive times can’t be the same. 

The inconclusive nature of chronobiology concerning study time is also another reason why there are elements of disunity among experts in the field. Almost at every level, researchers are releasing reports that lean on too many variables. Some conclude by saying that factors influencing a person’s creativity are so varied that it’d be insincere to specify a time as ideal for all students to study.  

The Chronobiological Consensus on Study Time 

Despite the complexity of neuroscience and chronobiology, even though there are many divergent views on study time, experts have some converging opinions about study time. They also agree on why, depending on specific factors, one time would be considered better than the other. Chronobiologists also have some suggestions on what you can do to uptick your learning retention.

The consensus time to study, according to many, and clearly not all, chronobiologists is midday. Sadly, there is no agreement on the definition of midday. After some comparisons and weighing of things, most specialists agree that the best time to study is between 10a.m. and 2p.m. and then 4p.m. and 10p.m. The time between 2p.m. and 4p.m. is considered a break, also referred to as a post-lunch dip. During the break, the brain and the general functioning of the body go to a significant low. 

Your Best Bet On Study Time

There is a widely held agreement that students study best during morning hours. In the morning, you wake up, fresh to kick off the day’s activities. Most students are very receptive, alert, and full of energy at this time. By making good use of this time, you can spend the rest of the day taking different approaches to learn as opposed to reading or sitting through a lecture.

If that doesn’t work for you, what would be your best bet? 

The best and most important thing to do for the best results is to figure out what works best for you. There is no such thing as a universal “best” time to study. If the factors that make a given time a good time to study coalesce around a specific period of the day for you, go ahead and have that as your study time.  It’s all about results, right?

According to Dr. Micheal Dreus, a sleep doctor and author of The Power of When, you can only get maximum benefits if you do things with the right timing. And that timing isn’t about the general consensus, but what fits within your body’s natural time. Some factors are written deep inside your DNA, and you must understand them and embrace them.

“An inner clock embedded inside your brain has been ticking away, keeping perfect time, since you were a baby,” writes Breus, “This precisely engineered timekeeper is called your circadian pacemaker, or biological clock.”

In addition to knowing your best study time, it’s also advisable that you exercise some discipline. Have a regular schedule that falls within the time you’re most receptive to new things. But even as you do this, just know when to stop. Remember that when you push yourself too much, you may end up altering your body timing. The expected results may also not be realised.

Happy learning.