Waking up early for peak productivity


Ayesha Sen, Staff Writer

At exactly 5 a.m, my alarm chimes, awakening me from a restful night of sleep. The house is silent, and all I can hear is the rain falling outside my window. Still groggy, I walk over to my bathroom and splash cold water on my face, while upbeat music blasts through my speaker. Within a few minutes, I am alert and ready to work—I have two hours to finish my history homework and my physics problem set before leaving for school at 7:30 a.m. It’s going to be a tough task, but I know that I can do it. 

For most of my life, I have managed to go to bed between 9:30 and 10:00 on school nights. As a result, every time I come home from a long day of school, I find myself getting tired at around 9:00 p.m. or so. However, as my workload gradually increased over the years, I found that I was not able to go to bed that early and finish my work. At the same time, I knew that if I worked late into the night I would not be able to reach my maximum productivity—one hour of work would end up taking two. I knew that I had to change my studying habits.

At the beginning of my sophomore year, I formulated a solution to my problem. Instead of studying late at night, I decided to wake up early to finish any remaining work. I shifted my schedule, waking up and going to bed earlier. Now, I generally go to bed at around 9:30 p.m., and I wake up as early as 4:15 a.m. based on my workload.

Early morning studying was a game changer for me. When I study at night, I am trying to squeeze in as much energy out of a low battery level, whereas when I study in the morning I am able to work on a full battery. Because of my increased productivity, I spend less time working, giving me more opportunities to catch up on sleep. 

According to Oxford Learning, a student’s brain tends to be sharpest in the morning due to a refreshing night of sleep and a nutritious breakfast. Moreover, with a more alert brain, students are better able to recall and comprehend details such as names, places, dates and facts. By boosting productivity, early morning study sessions can be incredibly beneficial to a student’s academic lifestyle.

My increased productivity in the mornings can also be attributed to the fact that I am typically the only one awake in my house. I would be remiss to ignore the fact that I get distracted easily by social media and texting when I study. So, my morning studying helps me in this respect because almost no one is up, meaning that I can’t get distracted by texting when I wake up to study. At night, my house is also often busy. It is easy for me to get roped into a conversation with a family member or get distracted by TV in the background. Thanks to the quiet, I can concentrate more easily in the mornings and I am able to better hear my own thoughts. 

At first, my early morning studying caused me to become more tired during the school day, but my body has since become used to it. In fact, now I feel less groggy during my A or B period classes because I have already “warmed-up” my brain.

However, in order to thrive with this method, planning effectively and budgeting time in a reasonable manner is key. In determining when to wake up, I give myself thirty minutes to get ready and eat breakfast. Then I calculate the least amount of time possible to do the work for each class, adding 10 minutes to each subject to be safe. Finally, I subtract the total time from the time I have to be ready to leave. 

I highly recommend morning studying to anyone who finds it difficult to study late at night because it has genuinely created such a positive change in my lifestyle.  I have found that in the mornings when I know that I absolutely must finish my work, the pressure motivates and encourages me to be more efficient. Moreover, I think that the quality of my work has increased. Overall, I think early morning studying is extremely beneficial because when my brain is most rested and there are no distractions, it will result in my increased motivation and productivity.