There’s no doubt about it; learning a language is a big project and it requires a lot of memorization. You obviously want to maximize your time and make sure those words stick in your brain, right? A lot of people wonder if there are tricks to improve memory. For example, is there a specific time of day that is better for learning languages? If that were the case, it could save you lots of time and effort. In this post, we will explore this frequently-asked question and talk about the best time of the day to learn languages.
A lot of scientific studies have been done on the subject of memory and the time of day; not just for language learning, but for learning in general. The problem is that most of the studies contradict each other in some way or another. It seems that there are some ups and downs to each learning routine. For example, research has shown that studying in the morning after breakfast is great, because you are really well-rested. You are alert and the morning natural light is helpful to stay focused. On the other hand, studies have also shown that studying just before going to sleep at night helps with retention.
The truth is that some people simply learn better at night, and others learn better in the morning or afternoon. The term “morning person” or “night-owl” seems to be accurate in this case. However, most studies agree on the fact that you should never let your study sessions interfere with a good night’s sleep, whether you learn in the morning or at night. Having enough sleep plays an important role in memory.
The fact is that you can’t lump everybody in the same category. It’s important for you to experiment with different times to see what works best for you. The best time will often be the one that fits well in your schedule. It’s best to set aside some time almost every day. While the best specific time is controversial, it’s indisputable that skipping days slows down progress. Find a time in which you feel alert and have few distractions. If you feel like your ability to concentrate is on point, you will most likely make a lot of progress during that study session. If you feel tired and out of focus, your memory will suffer.
We all lead busy lives and we obviously have a limited amount of time we can dedicate to learning languages. However, if you want to really maximize the time you spend learning, it can be quite helpful to split your learning time into smaller sessions. You can study the same total amount of minutes, but for shorter periods of time. Focus is very important, and it can be much easier to give your full attention for 20 minutes twice or three times a day, rather than cramming it all into a study session of 60 minutes. You can benefit from the advantages of both morning and night study. But again, some people find it more effective when they can really get in the flow for longer periods of time. Simply experiment with the different learning routines.
If you do decide to split your study sessions, it can be a good idea to learn different things or in a different way in each session. For example, you could focus on learning new vocabulary in the morning, then review material you already know at night. Or follow a lesson plan in one study session, but then watch a TV episode in your target language at another time during the day. The point is to try and learn in different ways. Eventually, you will find a study schedule that works for you. A perfect routine should be enjoyable, sustainable and effective.
The time of day doesn’t matter all that much. You simply need to fit as much time as you can inside your busy schedule, and be as focused as possible during that time. Finding things that you enjoy doing will ensure that it’s not a burden to put in some time every day. Also, try to learn from multiple sources to practice all four language skills; reading, writing, listening and speaking. If you can do that, you will make a lot of progress, regardless of the time shown on your clock.
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