Student blog post

Low dopamine mornings: a game changer

Student content creator Jacquelyn shares tips on how to boost your mood in the mornings without resorting to your phone..

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If you ask the majority of students, what is the first thing they do when they wake up in the morning? The answer usually tends to be to check their phone. Whether it is a quick scroll on social media, responding to texts, or checking your email to see what you missed while asleep. Unfortunately, screen time in the morning has a detrimental effect on how we operate for the rest of the day.

Do you ever notice that if you wake up and scroll on TikTok or Instagram for 10-15 minutes in the morning, you tend to check your phone a lot more that day? This is because any time we access our phone, whether it is scrolling social media or something responding to messages, we get a hit of dopamine from this. Think of it as an addiction. In today’s society, we are constantly on our devices, and being a more technologically reliable society, we use these devices for pretty much everything. So if you start your day off on something which releases a feel-good chemical in your brain, you will want more of that feeling, meaning you will continue the same activity to retain the same feeling.

One thing I have started doing this semester is taking part in low-dopamine mornings. If you use your phone for an alarm, it can be tempting to roll over and start scrolling or to snooze your alarm. To combat this, charge your phone either in another room or at the other end of your room. Super inconvenient, right? That’s the point.

Not being a morning person, the first 10 minutes in the morning when I wake up, I am so tempted to go back to sleep for another 10 minutes, but by doing this, I force myself to get out of bed and start my day.

If you have a podcast, you listen to in the morning or meditation music, que that up the night before so you can easily access it correctly when you wake up. I suggest turning on Do Not Disturb to curb temptation during this time. As an avid Do not Disturb user, I cannot preach the benefits of this feature. I like to put the sleep setting on during the night and keep it on for the first or so that I am awake.

When you first wake up, you should focus on preparing yourself for the day. Do all your morning routine activities without your phone. Make yourself a protein-rich breakfast, plan out your day, set out things for your day, collect yourself and once you’ve done all this, then pick up your phone.

Additionally, I encourage you to enforce a screen time timer where you can subject yourself to screen time/ app activity limits. Not only will you be able to see your activity at the end of the day/week, but you will also be less likely to fall into the endless void of doom-scrolling.

Jacquelyn Hovey

Jacquelyn is from Canada and studying the accelerated LLB.

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Student voice category Campus life, Mental health