How to Study When You’re Already Tired

I have been mighty tired after 12-hour shifts in cardiac surgery. Studying when you’re tired isn’t ideal, but sometimes it’s a necessity. Here are my strategies:

1. Have something to look forward to after your study session

If I’m having a hard time sitting myself down to study in the first place, I’ll come up with a little reward for my tired self beforehand. For instance, I’ll reward myself with getting to watch a new Netflix show I’ve been eyeing after I study for 30 minutes. Other rewards I’ve used have been ordering something yummy for dinner, calling a friend, or playing some video games.

2. Chew gum

Mint gum wakes me up, as does having something to chew on.

3. Meditate on the couch for a bit beforehand

When I’m tired and it’s too late to nap, I’ll put on a 10-minute stress-reducing meditation video and lie on my couch. I feel more refreshed for studying afterwards.

4. Choose easier topics

When I’m tired, that’s not the time for me to tackle complex medical issues. I’ll usually review something I learned already.

5. Know when to call it quits

Sometimes going to bed will be more valuable than getting an extra hour of studying in. I’ve had to learn this many times the hard way. I can actually remember what I've just learned if I get a good night's sleep.

Hope this helps, and happy studying!