By now most of us are aware that the quality of our learning depends on a number of different factors, some of which are easier to control than others. But the more we understand about why and how everyday things can affect our ability to commit new information to memory, the more effective our learning will be.

A growing body of research shows that even seemingly insignificant factors such as natural lighting, type of background noise, and the time of day we study can have a bigger impact on our productivity and learning than we ever imagined. Here’s a look what we know so far, and how you can optimise your environment and study routine to learn faster and get better grades.