Andrew Huberman – The Science of Small Changes Podcast Summary

#133 Andrew Huberman: The Science of Small Changes | Free Podcast Summary

Andrew Huberman – The Science of Small Changes

From the Knowledge Project.

Light affects your sleep and your energy levels

Light is a powerful stimulus for our mental and physical health. 

Light controls when we are asleep and alert. Lights directly affect how our nervous system functions.

The best way to get sunlight exposure

Wake up, go outside and get 5 – 20 minutes of bright light exposure. If you get up before sunlight, use bright artificial lights. 

The aim is to get as much bright light during the day and as little as possible between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

This will have enormous physical and mental health benefits.

Bright light exposure through windows or windshields doesn’t work as they filter the light that activates your neutrons. Blue light is great for creating alertness and well-being throughout the day.

Cortisol in the body

Cortisol is a key hormone for health. Every 24 hours there is a peak cortisol release. This wakes you up in the morning and gives you focus.

If you wake up early, you will get a peak early in the day. But when cortisol arrives later in the day, people get mood issues. Late-shifted cortisol is also contributing to depression.

Evening routine

Your peak of alertness happens about 90 minutes before your natural sleep time. While it will pass, it can give you a useful indicator of your optimal bedtime.

Before bedtime:

  • Taper off thinking and anticipation.
  • Non-sleep deep rest (NSDR) is a powerful tool that helps you relax, and reduce stress and anxiety. 
  • Yoga Nidra and Reveri (a self-hypnosis app) can help you relax your nervous system before you go to sleep.

Temperature is an important stimulus for wakefulness

Ideally, you should sleep in a cold room and cover yourself with warm blankets. If you get too hot, you can jump over it by extending your feet or hands.

Take a cold shower or ice bath to warm up in the morning. You will experience a dopamine increase. When you expose yourself to cold water, you build a reservoir of heat generation.

The short nap

Naps should be shorter than 90 minutes.

Most of the rewiring and neuroplasticity occur during deep sleep and also during a short nap. Short naps accelerate neuroplasticity and learning, especially if you nap after an intensive learning session.

If you have problems with the afternoon slump, delay your morning caffeine for 90 to 120 minutes after waking.

Caffeine boosts adenosine

Caffeine creates wakefulness in the body and brain. It also increases the sensitivity of the dopamine receptors.

  • It makes us more motivated to go out and pursue goals.
  • It makes us focus on things outside our immediate experience.

However, try and taper off caffeine toward the afternoon for better sleep.

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