Unicellular cyanobacteria that do not fix nitrogen can survive prolonged periods of nitrogen starvation as bleached cells in a non-growing, dormant state. Upon re-addition of a usable nitrogen source, bleached cultures re-green within 48 hours and the cells return to vegetative growth. Here we investigated the process of resuscitation at the physiological and molecular level. Almost immediately upon nitrate addition, the cells initiate an amazingly organized resuscitation program: they first turn on respiration, gaining energy and activating the genes of the entire translational apparatus, genes for ATP synthesis and nitrate assimilation. Only after about 12 hours, the cells rebuild the photosynthetic apparatus and switch on photosynthesis. Analysis of the transcriptome in recovering cells shows a perfect match to the physiological processes and reveals a paramount dynamics of non-coding RNAs in awaking cells. This genetically encoded program ensures rapid colonization of habitats, in which nitrogen starvation imposes a recurring growth limitation. Synechocstis PCC 6803 WT cells were subjected to nitrogen limitation for 14d, then nitrogen was re-added to monitor recovery of the cells. Samples were taken before nitrogen depletion, after 14d of nitrogen depletion and 4h, 13h, 24h and 48h after nitrogen re-addition. Samples were taken in biological replicates for all timepoints besides 48h nitrogen recovery.