How to Wake Up and Be Productive When the Sunrise is at 9 am – Anna (Ukraine)

Do you feel tired in the morning? Is it hard for you to wake up and be productive during the day? If yes, then you must be struggling because of the darkness in Estonia. This article will give you some practical tips on how to survive times with lack of sun in the morning. 

November is here, allegedly the hardest time during the fall semester because of a lack of sunlight and stress caused by deadlines and finals. I’ve noticed that I have a hard time waking up and the weather influences my productivity. To solve this issue, I did some research (simple googling) and in this article, I would like to summarize my findings. Importantly, I included only those tips that successfully caught on my daily routine. 

  1. Adjust your sleep schedule.

Everyone knows that getting enough sleep is critical for our health in many ways. We may not realize it but the amount of sleep affects our weight and metabolism as well as our brain function and mood. However, there are so many factors that influence our sleep schedule such as social life, deadlines, hobbies (have you experienced reading your favorite book till 4 am and then going to the lecture at 8 am?). 

But how many hours of sleep do we need? American Academic of Paediatrics claims that a person aged 18-64 needs 7 to 9 hours. Nonetheless, have you ever felt tired even after 9 hours of sleep? I did so I investigated this issue. Turns out that it is actually important what phase of sleep you wake up in. 

When we fall asleep, our brains and bodies go through several cycles of sleep. Each cycle takes on average 90 minutes. The first stages are part of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. The last stages are rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Ideally, we need to wake up at the end of the cycle in order to be fully refreshed and energized. In order to calculate when to wake up, I started to use a sleep calculator – sleepyti.me. However, there is a variety of applications to choose the most suitable one for you.  Every evening before going to bed, I check what time I have to wake up at and put my alarm accordingly.

  1. Exercise regularly.
Photo credit: Unsplash

Sleep experts claim that those who exercise regularly tend to wake up feeling better than those who lead more sedentary lifestyles. Regular exercising it increases endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline, and endocannabinoid – these all are brain chemicals associated with feeling happy, feeling confident, feeling capable, feeling less anxiety and stress and even less physical pain

Fortunately, Tartu and the University of Tartu provides a lot of opportunities for sports activities. Anthony, my colleague from ISA, gave an excellent overview of how to stay fit in Tartu.

I personally shifted my gym routine to mornings so I attend Lemon gym at 7:40, work out for 1 hour, go to work/school and get breakfast there. However, I would not be that committed if I did not have my gym buddy Laura. Hence, I highly suggest finding a friend who would work out with you. In addition, going to the gym in the morning helps to clear up the evening and focus evening time on studying, social activities, and going to bed earlier. 

  1. Come up with some morning excitement.
Photo credit: Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

Do you wake up easily when you know that you have a plane or a bus to travel somewhere? It happens so because you have motivation. Thus, creating a morning activity that you would be passionate about can help to wake up with excitement. 

Here, we must be creative and take into consideration our passions. I started to study German in the morning because this is what I am very passionate and motivated about these days. Sometimes, when I like to finish the book as soon as possible, I also wake up to read it. Also, I love to walk outside before breakfast and listen to podcasts. I think there is a special charm in it. Everything is so quiet around, there is a fog that immerses in my jacket, the air is so fresh and I feel so mindful. By the way, the International Student Ambassador Shefali gave a great overview of walks in Tartu in her blog. Moreover, when I have a clear to-do list and a plan for the day, I am more eager to wake up and leave my bed. Thus, planning the day in advance may help waking up. 

To sum it all up, if you encounter the same problem as I did, try doing one of the things from this blog and find out your best morning routine. And of course, make a habit out of it. It is important to be systematic.

Best of luck!