Published February 2021 on YouTube

Understanding and Using Dreams to Learn and to Forget | Huberman Lab Podcast #5

1. Introduction

Andrew discusses the importance of sleep and nutrition for overall health and wellbeing. He introduces two sponsors, Helix Sleep and Athletic Greens, and explains how their products can help improve sleep and provide essential nutrients.+

2. The Dream Mask

Andrew shares his childhood experience with a lucid dreaming mask and explains the phenomenon of lucid dreaming. He also discusses the attachment people feel towards their dream experiences and the history of organized dream interpretation. Andrew emphasizes the importance of understanding the physiology of sleep to maximize the learning and unlearning potential of dreaming.+

3. Cycling Sleep

Andrew explains how sleep is broken up into 90-minute cycles, with early cycles having more slow wave sleep and less REM sleep. He also discusses the different roles of REM and non-REM sleep in learning and unlearning, and how daytime activities can affect the amount of each type of sleep.+

4. Chemical Cocktails of Sleep

Slow Wave Sleep:Andrew explains the characteristics of slow wave sleep, including the sweeping waves of brain activity and the neuromodulators associated with it. He compares neuromodulators to music playlists, biasing particular brain circuits towards certain genres of neural activity.+
Sleep Neuromodulators:Andrew explains the role of neuromodulators such as acetylcholine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and ketamine in the brain during different sleep stages. He specifically focuses on slow wave sleep and how it affects the production and release of these molecules.+

5. Motor Learning

Andrew explains how slow wave sleep is involved in motor learning and detailed learning. He discusses how sleep can be chemically altered to bias away from slow wave sleep and maximize motor learning. He also emphasizes the importance of getting enough sleep to learn new motor skills efficiently.+

6. High Performance with Less Sleep

Andrew explains that athletes and performers shouldn't worry too much about not getting a full night's sleep before an event. As long as they have trained and learned the necessary skills, they should be fine to perform even after just a few hours of sleep. He also discusses the importance of REM sleep and how it affects our sleep cycles.+

7. Rapid Eye Movement Sleep

Andrew discusses the fascinating discovery of REM sleep and the erratic eye movements that occur during it. He explains the brain activity involved in generating these movements and the absence of certain molecules during REM sleep. He also notes the paralysis that occurs during this stage of sleep.+

8. Paralysis & Hallucinations

Andrew discusses the chemical processes that occur during REM sleep, including the dissociation of emotional responses to dreams. He explains how this allows us to process emotionally challenging events in a safe environment and how it can help with anxiety and stress.+

9. Nightmares

Andrew discusses the likelihood of nightmares occurring during slow wave sleep rather than REM sleep due to the absence of Norepinephrine. He also talks about the feeling of being paralyzed and chased in dreams and how it's probably not related to REM sleep.+

10. When REM & Waking Collide

Andrew discusses the interesting case of how the dream state can invade the waking state and the availability of epinephrine upon waking up.+

11. Sleeping While Awake

Andrew discusses the science behind sleep paralysis and nightmares, including why we experience them and how they can invade our waking state. He also touches on the theory that some alien abduction experiences may be related to sleep paralysis and hallucinations.+

12. Alien Abductions

Andrew discusses how experiences of alien abductions may actually be the result of the sleep state invading the waking state, causing hallucinations and paralysis. He also explains the importance of REM sleep for emotional unlearning and the consequences of not getting enough of it.+

13. Irritability

Andrew shares his sleep routine and the importance of getting enough REM sleep for emotional stability. He also discusses a non-sleep deep rest protocol that helps him fall back asleep if he wakes up in the middle of the night.+

14. Sleep to Delete

Andrew Huberman explains how REM sleep helps us process emotions and spatial information. During REM sleep, we replay the exact firing of neurons that occurred while navigating a new environment. REM sleep helps us form a relationship with particular rules or algorithms, allowing us to piece together the relevance of one thing to the next.+

15. Creating Meaning

Andrew explains the importance of REM sleep in establishing emotional load and discarding irrelevant meanings. Depriving oneself of REM sleep can lead to odd associations and hallucinations.+

16. Adults Acting Like Children

Andrew explains how REM sleep is crucial for eliminating the meanings that don't matter and uncoupling the potential for emotionality between various experiences. He draws parallels between the elimination of connections between things during REM sleep and some clinical practices designed to eliminate emotionality and help people move through trauma and other troubling experiences.+

17. Trauma & REM

Andrew discusses trauma treatments such as EMDR and Ketamine, which interestingly have similar features to REM sleep. He explains how EMDR was developed by psychologist Francine Shapiro and how Ketamine has recently become legal and is in widespread clinical use.+

18. EMDR

Andrew discusses the use of lateralized eye movements as a behavioral treatment for trauma. He explains how this technique was developed and why it is effective, despite how silly it may look.+

19. Demo

Eye Movements and Trauma:Andrew discusses the effectiveness of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in treating trauma. He explains how lateralized eye movements help people dissociate the emotional experience of particular traumas and suppress the activity of the amygdala, which is involved in threat detection, stress, anxiety, and fear.+
Overcoming Trauma:Andrew discusses the amygdala's role in fear and anxiety, and shares about successful treatments for trauma, such as Emdr and Ketamine. He explains that traumatic experiences cannot be forgotten, but the emotional load can be removed through these treatments.+

20. Ketamine / PCP

Andrew explains how ketamine and PCP function to disrupt the activity of the NMDA receptor, which is responsible for long term potentiation and connectivity in the brain. He clarifies that the NMDA receptor is gated by intense experiences.+

21. Soup, Explosions, & NMDA

Andrew discusses the use of ketamine as a pharmacologic intervention to prevent the connection between emotion and experience in cases of emotional trauma. He also explores the ethical implications of this approach and compares it to other therapies such as EMDR and REM sleep.+

22. Self Therapy

Andrew explains the importance of both slow wave sleep and REM sleep for motor learning, emotional attachment, and unlearning emotional responses. He emphasizes the need to manage one's sleep life, especially during disruptive events, as sleep disturbances can lead to emotional and psychological disturbances.Show transcript +

23. Note About Hormones

Andrew discusses the emotional effects of menopause and how they are linked to disruptions in temperature and sleep regulation. He also emphasizes the importance of REM sleep and how it acts as self-induced therapy every night. Finally, he touches on how to get appropriate amounts of REM sleep and slow wave sleep.+

24. Measuring REM / SWS

Andrew discusses the importance of having a regular amount of sleep each night for learning, rather than focusing on total sleep duration. He also mentions devices that can measure sleep quality and duration, but emphasizes that feeling rested and improved learning are the best indicators of good sleep.+

25. Sleep Consistency

Andrew discusses a study that shows consistent sleep is more important than just getting more sleep overall. The data point to the fact that limiting variation in the amount of sleep is at least as important, if not more important, than just getting more sleep. This means that we should strive for a regular amount of sleep to improve our performance.+

26. Bed Wetting

Andrew explains how having a full bladder can disrupt sleep and cause anxiety, while also sharing a tool to remember more dreams. He also discusses the importance of neurotransmitters during REM sleep and mentions supplements that can improve sleep.+

27. Serotonin

Andrew discusses his experience with taking serotonin supplements and how it affected his sleep. He explains how low levels of serotonin are associated with slow wave sleep and why taking supplements could disrupt REM sleep. Andrew also offers insights on how to increase slow wave sleep.+

28. Increasing SWS

Andrew explains how resistance exercise can increase the percentage of slow wave sleep, which is crucial for motor learning and the acquisition of fine detailed information. Resistance exercise triggers metabolic and endocrine pathways that lead to the release of growth hormone, inducing a greater percentage of slow wave sleep without disrupting other components of sleep and learning.+

29. Lucidity

Andrew shares simple tips for increasing lucid dreaming, such as setting a cue before sleep and finding the right amount of sleep per night. He also advises on how to control lucid dreaming by waking up at the end of one of the ultradian cycles.+

30. Booze / Weed

Andrew explains how alcohol and THC disrupt the pattern and depth of sleep, leading to less restorative sleep. He suggests exploring dreams through journaling, but warns against using substances for sleep.+

31. Scripting Dreams

Andrew discusses the benefits of keeping a dream journal and how it can help distinguish between dreams that occur during REM sleep versus slow wave sleep. He also shares his personal experience with keeping a dream journal.+

32. Theory of Mind

Andrew discusses the theory of mind and how it's used to assess autism in children. He also explains how theory of mind shows up in dreams, particularly in REM-associated dreams.+

33. Synthesis

Andrew shares insights on the importance of sleep consistency, the role of REM and slow wave sleep in learning and emotional processing, and tools for optimizing sleep quality.+

34. Intermittent Sleep Deprivation

Andrew discusses the benefits of consistent sleep and shares tips on how to achieve it, including using non-sleep deep rest protocols to relax and adjusting after a bad night's sleep. He also mentions tools for waking up in the middle of the night and apologizes for his dog's snoring.+

35. Snoring Disclaimer

Andrew discusses the importance of sleep for memory consolidation and shares insights on how different stages of sleep affect memory formation.+

36. New Topic

Andrew discusses the remarkable feature of the nervous system, neuroplasticity, and how it defines us as individuals. He explores learning in childhood and adulthood, emotional acquisition, and the relationship between plasticity set during childhood attachment and adult relationships. He also talks about supplements and chemicals that can assist in speeding up the plasticity process.+

37. Corrections

Andrew clarifies his previous statements on testosterone production and average body temperature, acknowledging and correcting his errors.+

38. Closing Remarks

Andrew shares fascinating insights into the workings of the nervous system and biology, exploring how they shape our identity and function in both sleep and wakefulness.+