The Myth of Early Morning Study: Unveiling the Habits of Top Students

woman leaning on table

For years, the idea that “early to bed, early to rise” is the secret to success has been ingrained in our minds. However, when it comes to studying, the habits of top students might surprise you. Contrary to popular belief, waking up at the crack of dawn isn’t a universal practice for academic excellence. Let’s explore why top students often don’t wake up early to study and how they achieve remarkable results through different strategies.

Quality Over Quantity

While the early morning hours can provide a quiet and undisturbed environment for studying, it’s not necessarily the most productive time for everyone. Top students understand the importance of quality study sessions over extended hours. Instead of sacrificing precious sleep, they focus on creating effective study plans that utilise their peak cognitive hours.

Sleep Is a Priority

One of the most crucial factors contributing to academic success is adequate sleep. Top students recognize that sleep is vital for memory consolidation, creativity, and overall well-being. Sacrificing sleep to wake up early for study sessions can lead to burnout, decreased concentration, and diminished learning capabilities.

Personal Circadian Rhythms

Every individual has a unique circadian rhythm – a biological clock that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Some people are naturally more productive in the evening, while others are at their best during the day. Top students understand their personal rhythms and tailor their study schedules to align with their natural energy levels.

Flexible Study Routines

The rigidity of an “early to bed, early to rise” routine might not suit the diverse schedules of top students. Many engage in extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, and social commitments. Flexibility in study routines allows them to find pockets of time when they are most alert and focused, regardless of the hour.

Mindfulness and Self-Care

Productivity isn’t just about cramming information into your brain. Top students recognize the importance of mental and emotional well-being. Engaging in mindfulness, exercise, and self-care activities contributes to a balanced lifestyle, which in turn enhances their study sessions.

Effective Time Management

The key to success lies not in the early hours but in effective time management. Top students prioritise tasks, set clear goals, and utilise techniques like the Pomodoro method to maximise their study sessions. They know that focused, concentrated efforts yield better results than simply spending more hours at the desk.

Adaptation to Modern Life

In a world of digital connectivity, learning can take place at any hour. With access to online resources, podcasts, recorded lectures, and collaborative platforms, top students can adapt their study routines to fit their individual preferences and commitments.


The notion that early morning study is the only path to academic excellence is a myth. Top students understand that success is a culmination of various factors, including adequate sleep, effective time management, personal routines, and self-care. Rather than subscribing to a one-size-fits-all approach, they craft study strategies that align with their unique strengths and needs. So, whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, remember that success is achievable through smart, intentional, and well-balanced study practices.

Written by

  • Mayu is a doctor, researcher, and founder of Intuition Academics. His passion for education has culminated in years of teaching high school and medical students. In his spare time you'll find him perched on a mountain with a camera in one hand, and a tripod in the other.

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