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Is Late-Night Studying More Effective Than Studying During the Day?

Studying at night might seem like the best option because you’re more relaxed, but research suggests otherwise. A recent study published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology found that students who studied before going to sleep performed better on learning and memory tests than those who studied late into the night.

Is Late-Night Studying More Effective Than Studying During the Day?

This isn’t just a one-time fluke other studies suggest that early bird students may outperform night owls in cognitive flexibility and abstract thinking skills as well, so if you’re interested in improving your learning and memory capabilities, the earlier you can squeeze in some studying, the better. Consider the details below:

The Myth About Night Owls

There are a lot of misconceptions about night owls, but it’s true that some people are more productive at night than they are during the day. However, studies show that late-night studying isn’t necessarily more effective than studying during daylight hours. When you’re tired and unfocused, you have a hard time processing information on a cognitive level.

This means that if you’re studying when your brain is already half asleep, you won’t remember what you just read or studied. Plus, studies show that sleep deprivation can lead to all kinds of health problems like obesity and depression. It’s best to find a time in your day when you can study where you feel energized and focused and stick with it!

What Happens When We Sleep?

Sleep is an active state. Even though we are not consciously aware of what’s going on, our brains are busy processing, sorting, and storing information that we learned during the day. Sleep also helps us consolidate memories and make new connections between different pieces of information.

When we sleep deeply for a long period of time (usually 6 hours or more), we enter into a stage called deep sleep, or slow wave sleep. This is when our minds work to process difficult problems and restructure memories from the day. That’s why it’s so important to get enough quality sleep every night!

How Our Brains React To Light

To better understand how light affects our brains, it’s important to know that a lot of what goes on in our brains is unconscious. This means that we are not aware of most of the things that happen in our brains, but they still influence our behaviors and moods. Light is one of these things.

This may seem strange at first, but the light has a strong effect on us even though we can’t see it! That’s because much of what goes on in your brain is controlled by chemical reactions. Some of these reactions need light to work properly while others don’t require any light at all.

How Lighting Affects Concentration and Study Habits

Research has shown that light exposure can impact our circadian rhythms. For example, exposure to natural light during daytime hours helps maintain healthy sleep patterns, while artificial light at night may disrupt them. This is because artificial light at night suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes us feel sleepy.

Additionally, it’s important to consider how lighting affects concentration and study habits. A recent study by researchers from Northwestern University found that students who studied in dimmer environments for an hour before bedtime scored higher on a vocabulary test than those who studied in brighter settings or had no study session before bedtime. You can read more about how to improve Concentration and Study Habits.


Before responding to this question, it is important to first ask whether you are a night owl or an early bird. If you’re a night owl, studying late might work well with your sleeping schedule, as long as you take a break every two hours or so.