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How to Study at Night

Man with his back to the camera sitting at a desk in a dark room,

Hey, not everyone can be a morning person! For some of us, we feel the most energized and inspired once the sun goes down. And for many college students, it’s the best time to get some studying done. So, rest assured that you are not alone if you choose to study at night.

But studying at night can come with some certain risks and pitfalls. It’s important to make sure that you are setting yourself up for success. Here at Collegeboxes, we came up with some strategies to help you get the most out of your nighttime study routine.

Set Yourself Up for Success!

Studying at night comes with some added challenges. This can include:

  • Feeling tired after a long day
  • No natural light to use / no outdoor studying
  • Fewer places to study at night
  • May have to study quietly in dorms with roommates

So, if you are opting to study under the moonlight, have a game plan in place! Make sure you know where you are going to study, and for how long, and bring some healthy snacks along for some energy.

Where to Study at Night

Studying at night means that you may not have access to normal study spots. If your roommate is an early sleeper, your dorm may not be the best option. But you can’t exactly go outside and sit at a table, so what can you do?

The first place to try is your university’s library. For the most part, universities will keep their libraries open until about midnight. Some may even allow you to stay even later, but you have to check the hours to make sure. Generally, school libraries are the safest and most reliable places to study at night.

If you aren’t into the idea of late-night libraries, you may need to get creative. For example, many chain restaurants like Denny’s or even McDonald’s offer free Wi-Fi to customers. It’s kind of like working at a coffee shop! You may not be able to stream a movie on their internet, but you can get some work done! Look around the restaurants around your school and see if any of them can make a suitable study spot.

Fuel Your Body

Energy drinks, coffee, candy, and chips are great late-night snacks, right? Not when it comes to studying!

Chugging energy drinks or multiple cups of coffee isn’t ideal to help you study at night. Those fluids are filled with sugar, which can lead to a crash. One sugary drink won’t hurt you but do not go overboard. Prioritize drinking water instead. Staying extra hydrated will keep your energy up and help you concentrate.

As for food, don’t go crazy on the carbs. The high amount of carbohydrates will lead to a crash like sugar does. Instead, try to aim for fruits, veggies, and proteins. Eat a light dinner or make a few of these snacks:  

  • Nuts, nut butter, and trail mix
  • A mini charcuterie board with cheese and meats   
  • Your favorite fruits
  • Dark chocolate (tastes good and helps blood flow!)

Find Ways to Stay Focused

Plenty of people use reading as a way to fall asleep at night. And we can all admit that textbooks aren’t the most entertaining thing to read! That is why trying to stay awake can feel like a challenge while you study at night.

Try to keep your brain engaged by taking notes and highlighting important information. Some websites can make studying a little more fun and engaging, too. While you may think reading is enough, you have a better chance of remembering everything if you take good notes!

If you have some friends or classmates who also enjoy working in the evening, try and invite them to join you. This can be a great way to get to know others, get your questions answered, and have a more enjoyable study experience overall.

Also, remember to take breaks. Sitting in one place for a while can cause your mind to wander. This can lead to you feeling drowsy and losing focus, so try to break up your study time with some active breaks. Stretching or walking around are some good ways to squeeze in some movement and give your brain a break from all the cramming.

Light Up Your Space

A well-lit room can be a game-changer when it comes to studying. Reading in a dim room will make your eyes tired. This means you read slower and lose concentration more easily.

Using proper lighting can also improve your mood and help you feel more productive. It can also help with your posture since you won’t have to slouch over to read everything.

Warm halogen lights are great for students who enjoy studying at night, as they are great at imitating the sun! Instead of providing a harsh white light, they give off more of a warm glow. Now that is pretty easy on the eyes!

Don’t Get Too Comfy!

Studying at night while on the bed, couch, or the floor is a dangerous game because sleep is already calling your name! Being in a position that will make you sleepy just sets you up for disaster.

While we love the comfort beds and couches provide, that comfort can lead to you breaking focus. Instead, opt for a table and chair! This way, you can get blood flow to your brain and stay focused for the duration of your session.

Don’t Skip on Sleep

You won’t perform well if you are not getting enough sleep. Try to make sure you are still getting at least 7-8 hours a night. If you feel like you have a long night ahead of you, consider taking a power nap.

A lack of sleep can impair your immune system, heighten anxiety, and worsen other mental health symptoms. Not to mention it will also make it harder to focus, learn, and remember information.

How to Pull an All-Nighter

Don’t! While skipping sleep might seem like the norm, it only does more harm than good. In fact, a lack of sleep can make it harder to retain information! So, pulling an all-nighter probably won’t help you much anyway. Instead of leaving all your studying for the night before a test, try to establish more regular study patterns. Even studying a few nights a week will help improve your academic performance and help you feel more prepared when finals roll around.

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