Is it better to be a morning person or a night owl when it comes to revision? Does it even matter? Whether you think the morning is for sleeping in or the night is for going out, we’ve looked into the pros and cons of each so you can decide when you should revise.
Does it matter what time I revise?
Being able to focus and revise whenever you feel like it is a great skill, but setting a time and a regular schedule prepares your brain for activity. For example, if you revise around 7pm every day, your brain is geared to revise at that time because it gets used to it. There’s no golden rule to when you should revise because it’s all about personal preference, but take a look at the benefits below and see which ones would work better for you.
Five benefits of revising in the day
‘Do morning people exist?’, you might be asking, but the truth is we’re all designed to be morning people. Society is structured around being active during the day, which means even though you might hate getting up, day time is work time. Here are five daytime revision benefits.
1) Natural light - Research has proven that natural light helps people be more productive, happier, healthier and calmer, making it better than studying with artificial light. In fact, artificial light or ‘blue light’, which is given off by most displays like your phone or laptop, can strain your eyes and disrupt your sleep. That’s probably why you feel restless after staring at the phone before you go to bed.
2) Morning brain – Even if it doesn’t feel like it, your brain refreshes overnight and students who prefer studying earlier in the day benefit from a more energised mind. However, if you’re anything like us and the first thing you do in the morning is run for your caffeine fix, it’s important to remember that rising early and working will take some getting used to. If you’re the kind of person that greets the morning with open arms (what’s your secret?!), you’ll be able to reap the benefits of morning brain straight away.
3) No late nights – A lack of sleep can affect you for up to four days! Compared to revising at night, day revisers are less likely to let revision get in the way of their well-earned sleep.
4) Everything is open – Most of the goods and services you might need while you’re revising (like shops for snacks, libraries and more snacks) work on business hours, meaning they’ll be open and available for day-time revisers.
5) It’s easier to contact people who can help – In the day it’s more convenient to organise a study group or go and meet a friend in the library. Most people are contactable during the day so it’s easier to communicate with teachers, and you can go into college/sixth-form if you don’t trust yourself revising at home.
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Five benefits of revising at night
Find yourself bursting with energy when it hits 7pm? Are you the kind of person who sets four alarms in the morning? Well you’ll be happy to know that being a night owl has been linked with higher intelligence, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to ace your exam without the work! Here are five night-time revision benefits.
1) Peace and quiet – Later nights mean empty 24 hour libraries, quieter houses and fewer distractions.
2) Sleeping after studying can help improve recall – Revising before bed can actually help you remember things! According to scientists at the Saarland University in Germany, a short nap can improve the memory five-fold. A good night’s sleep might not be a short nap, but the fact is that sleep helps your brain process information. Want to learn how to use sleep to improve your revision? Take a look at our revision hacks.
3) Stable energy levels – Blood sugar tends to be at its lowest in the morning and goes through peaks and troughs during the day as you eat. This generally means your energy is all over the place during the day, whereas at night your energy should be at a more constant level, leading to higher concentration.
4) Leave the day for procrastination – Revising at night means you can get all your temptations out of your system during the day. Go out with your friends, binge Netflix and play games so when it’s time to revise you’re less likely to think you’re missing out on something fun.
5) More creativity – It’s not just a myth that people are more creative at night – there’s some pretty hard science behind it. Later on in the day your frontal cortex (which is a producer of dopamine) starts to run out of steam. The frontal cortex helps you process new information from the world around you, but when it’s less active the other parts of your brain have a chance to speak up. This means you get less distracted by incoming information, like that recent text or email and begin to think about new ideas and creative avenues you wouldn’t have normally considered.