Published January 2021 on YouTube

Master Your Sleep & Be More Alert When Awake | Huberman Lab Podcast #2

1. Introduction

Andrew discusses the importance of sleep and wakefulness for mental and physical health, and provides tips for improving sleep quality and alertness during wakefulness. He also mentions the importance of having the right sleep environment and introduces Helix mattresses, as well as Headspace, a meditation app that can support mental and physical health.+

2. What Is Sleep Really For?

Andrew discusses the importance of sleep and how it affects our wakeful period. He shares tools backed by peer-reviewed studies to help us fall asleep, sleep better, and wake up feeling rested.Show transcript +

3. Sleep Hunger

Andrew explains how the molecule adenosine builds up in our nervous system and creates a sleep drive or sleep hunger. Caffeine acts as an adenosine antagonist, blocking the sleepy signal and waking us up. Our sleep and wakefulness are governed by a number of different behaviors, including how long we've been awake.+

4. Caffeine: Devil & Angel

Andrew discusses the relationship between caffeine and sleep, emphasizing the importance of experimenting to determine what works best for each individual. He explains how caffeine affects adenosine receptors and dopamine levels, and encourages listeners to figure out their own tolerance for caffeine in order to get good sleep.+

5. Timing Your Sleep Properly

Andrew explains how our sleep and wake cycle is governed by a circadian rhythm, which is controlled by a clock in our brain. The most powerful factor that affects our circadian rhythm is light, particularly sunlight. He emphasizes the importance of understanding this relationship between light and sleep for better sleep hygiene.+

6. Hormones and Sleep

Andrew explains the role of hormones in our sleep-wake cycle, including cortisol and melatonin. Cortisol is released in the morning to wake us up, while melatonin is released in the evening to make us sleepy. The pineal gland is responsible for producing melatonin, and its release is triggered by the wakefulness signal in the morning.+

7. (Pineal) Melatonin Warning

Melatonin and Puberty:Andrew explains how melatonin, which is released by the pineal gland, suppresses the onset of puberty. While melatonin supplements can help with sleep, they could be problematic for those who haven't gone through puberty yet. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements.+
Melatonin Regulation:Andrew discusses the regulation of melatonin and the potential dangers of taking commercially available melatonin, which is completely unregulated. He suggests considering other potential alternatives that are probably safer and don't have these issues.+

8. Strange Vision Is Good Vision

Light and Rhythms:Andrew explains how the suprachiasmatic nucleus, a central clock in the brain, is responsible for regulating the cortisol and melatonin rhythms of the body. These rhythms are vital for maintaining good health and can be disrupted by not getting enough light. Andrew provides insights on how to anchor these systems properly.+
Sunlight and Circadian Rhythm:Andrew explains how the neurons in our eyes that set the circadian clock respond best to sunlight and the quality of light that comes in when the sun is low in the sky. He emphasizes the importance of getting sunlight in our eyes as close to waking as possible and how it is 50 times less effective to view sunlight through a window, through a car windshield, or through the side window of a car than it is to just get outside with no sunglasses and view light early in the day.+
Sunlight and Cortisol:Andrew explains the importance of getting sunlight exposure within an hour or two of sunrise to properly time the cortisol pulse, which has positive benefits for mental health and blood pressure. He also discusses the varying amounts of sunlight needed depending on location and the ineffectiveness of artificial light in setting the circadian clock.+

9. Blue Light Is Great!

Andrew explains the importance of blue and yellow light for the pineal gland in the morning and how sunlight inhibits the pineal gland from releasing melatonin. He also discusses the benefits of measuring photon energy in your environment and getting outside for consistent sunlight exposure.+

10. The Real Problem With Smartphones

Andrew emphasizes the importance of safety when it comes to wearing sunglasses and prescription lenses. He also explains how low-vision and blind people can still set their central clocks through a subconscious mechanism involving specific wavelengths of light.+

11. Blind / Low Vision People

Andrew explains how exposure to sunlight early in the day is key for establishing healthy sleep-wake rhythms and allowing you to fall asleep easily at night. He also discusses how light is the primary "zeitgeber" for governing metabolism and other processes that exist on a regular 24-hour cycle.+

12. Light and Circadian Rhythms

Andrew explains the importance of light in regulating the body's circadian rhythms and how it is the main way to set the central clock. He also mentions the discovery of melanopsin cells by David, which are responsible for setting our clocks. Additionally, Andrew talks about how exercise and feeding can also affect the clock output through non-photic influences.+

13. The Power of Sunset

Light and Sleep:Andrew explains how exposure to sunlight early in the day and around sunset can help regulate our circadian rhythm and improve sleep quality. He also shares tips on how to safely get sunlight exposure to set our internal clock.+
Light and Your Body:Andrew explains how light perception through the eyes is crucial for setting our circadian rhythms and how light information is distributed to every cell in our body. He also debunks the myth that light information can be received through the skin or other orifices.+

14. The Healthy Holes In Your Skull

Andrew explains how light affects our circadian rhythm and the importance of getting enough sunlight during the day. He also discusses the negative effects of artificial light and screens on our sleep patterns.+

15. Bad Light

Andrew explains the impact of light exposure on our mood and mental health, emphasizing the importance of getting enough light during the day and avoiding bright light exposure in the middle of the night. He discusses the neural pathways involved and the detrimental effects of light exposure during certain times, particularly between 11:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.+

16. Light Location

Andrew explains how the location and type of light can affect our circadian rhythm. Lights placed low in the physical environment are best to avoid improper activation of neurons that signal the central clock. Candlelight and dim lights are fine, but overhead fluorescent lights are the worst.+

17. Fire / Candlelight

Andrew Huberman advises listeners to avoid bright lights between 11:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. and to get sunlight early in the day for better sleep. He also suggests wearing blue blockers and dimming screens when using electronics at night.+

18. When To Eat

Andrew discusses the impact of light exposure on our sleep and wakefulness patterns. He explains how light can be used to shift our sleep schedule and improve our overall health. He also touches on the importance of restricting feeding to a certain period of each 24-hour cycle.+

19. How To Wake Up Earlier

Light and Sleep:Andrew discusses the impact of light on sleep and how it can affect our circadian rhythm. He shares a study that shows how turning on lights before waking up can increase total sleep time and make us want to go to bed earlier. However, he also warns that exposure to light late in the day or in the middle of the night can delay our clock and make it harder to wake up early.+
Light Anchors:Andrew explains how light exposure can affect our circadian clock and sleep patterns. By providing consistent light anchors early in the day and in the evening, and avoiding light at night, we can improve our overall wellbeing and regulate our biological systems.+
Sleep and Wakefulness:Andrew discusses the importance of sleep and how it affects our daily lives. He explains how naps can be beneficial for some people and how our circadian rhythm is hardwired into our system, just like the need for nutrition.+
Better Sleep:Andrew discusses different ways to improve sleep, including naps, a form of meditation called yoga nidra, and traditional meditation. These practices can help calm the mind and promote relaxation, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.+
Sleep Practices:Andrew Huberman discusses the benefits of hypnosis and meditation for improving sleep. He recommends practicing these techniques in the morning, middle of the night, or any time of day to train the nervous system to go from heightened alertness to relaxation. To control the mind, he suggests using the body through exhale-emphasized breathing and controlling body posture.+

20. Using The Body To Control The Mind

Andrew discusses the benefits of non-sleep deep rest (NSDR) such as emotional stability, better sleep, and increased wakefulness. He suggests controlling light exposure, practicing meditation, yoga nidra, and hypnosis to explore the mind-body relationship and gain more control over the mind.+

21. Drugs & Supplements

Sleep and Wellness:Andrew discusses the benefits of non-sleep deep rest (NSDR) and its ability to reset the brain's ability to engage in the world. He also talks about the effects of compounds, including prescription drugs and supplements, on circadian timing and behavior.+
Sleep and Wakefulness:Andrew explains how most compounds affect some aspect of biology and can shift your circadian rhythm. He discusses the biology of falling and staying asleep, and the effects of stimulants like cocaine and amphetamine. He also mentions safer supplements that can be beneficial for falling and staying asleep.+
Sleep Supplements:Andrew discusses the benefits of magnesium and theanine supplements for improving sleep quality. He advises caution and recommends starting with lifestyle changes before considering supplements.+

22. Sleep Walking

Andrew discusses the use of supplements to aid in sleep, specifically apigenin which is a derivative of chamomile and can help with falling asleep and staying asleep. He also cautions about the potential effects of apigenin on estrogen levels and recommends consulting a healthcare professional before taking any supplements.+

23. Office Hours

Andrew invites listeners to submit their questions about sleep and wakefulness for the upcoming Q&A episode. He emphasizes the importance of community involvement and engagement in the podcast.+