Planning your studies around daylight

Posted on Monday, November 29, 2021

Person holding up book, framing spine of book with rising sun

 

With the sun starting to set earlier and the weather getting colder, it’s more important than ever to think about the appropriate time to study. Daylight exposure can significantly influence productivity, alertness and functionality. Limited exposure can lead to reduced vitality, poorer sleep quality and physical problems —things we want to avoid during mentally straining periods like final exams.

Here are four areas to consider when planning your studies around daylight.

Schedule

To be sure your attention is focused on the right things at the right time, make a study schedule . This means a balanced mix of assignments and class work.

Your class syllabi suggest how much time you should spend on each course per week. Do the work during the daytime, as there’s an increased chance of losing motivation when the sun goes down. We can get tired more easily at night, which now starts at 5 p.m. in Ottawa.

Location

It’s important to get into the good habit of setting aside at least an hour a day to sit in daylight to study or be productive. If this means going to a coffee shop or booking a window-filled study room, go for it. Finding friends to study with may also help. The natural light and the atmosphere of being with friends will influence your mood!

Daylight habits

One way to maximize your use of daylight is to wake up earlier. The sun usually rises in the winter around 7 a.m. Waking up at 6:30 or even earlier and preparing yourself for the day before sunrise means you can achieve more with the daylight.

Have your coffee before seeing the sun, try to exercise in the morning so you feel energized for the day and live a healthy and active lifestyle build around sunshine.

Nutrition

It might sound tiresome to hear this advice over and over, but beyond making the most of the daylight, you also need to up your vitamin D game. Sadly, we can’t absorb vitamin D through the window — the ultraviolet B rays can’t reach our skin to convert cholesterol to vitamin D.

To avoid long term effects of low vitamin D such as depression, muscle weakness and osteoporosis, include the handful of foods containing significant amounts of vitamin D in your diet or take supplements. Vitamin D can be found in salmon, canned tuna, egg yolks and sardines.

Looking to get more daylight exposure? Going for a walk at mid-day when sunlight is at its peak is a great idea! Alternatively, you can visit the Light Therapy Room at the Wellness Lounge! Book the Light Therapy Room during the coming final exam period. The Wellness Lounge will be open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until December 8. From December 8 to 22, it will be open from noon to 5 p.m.

 

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