We hear more and more children and teenagers telling us that they tend to study better late at night. Some only start to study late at night and many want to know if this is conducive for good performance at school.
The average teenager should be getting between 8-9 hours of sleep per night and children should be getting between 9-11 hours of sleep per night in order to best serve their bodies and minds. Along with that, a healthy, balanced diet providing all the necessary macro and micronutrients goes a long way.
Often, our children are so busy with extra-mural activities, that their only real time to study is in the evening. That being said, it is important to make sure that studying is effective, considering that this is the time when the ‘body clock’ says he/she should be asleep. This can cause a conflict with effective studying. Sleep serves a critical role in our health and well-being and gives our body and mind a chance to rest, allowing it to prepare for the next day. While we are awake, our minds are barraged from input from 5 senses, as well as constantly using thought, logic, creativity, and creating memories. Sleep gives the brain the time it needs to sort out and store information that it has learnt, replace chemicals and hormones, and solve problems.
The short answer to the question is that yes, children and teenagers should wherever possible be studying during the day, but the evening may be a more peaceful time for them to focus without distraction. The effectiveness of their chosen study methods will reflect in his/her performance at school, but they may sometimes need you as parents (whether they agree or not) to put a limit on how much time they are staring at their books in comparison to counting sheep!
In summary wherever possible one needs to try to effectively manage time to allow for sufficient study and sleep time wherever possible. A lack of sleep can have a negative impact on memory and may be and may be an ineffective use of time, however it is often the only time available.