The Huberman Lab podcast, hosted by Dr. Andrew Huberman, Ph.D., is quickly becoming one of the best resources on the internet for how to understand and get the most out of the human body and mind.
Dr. Huberman is a neuroscientist and tenured Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He has made numerous significant contributions to the fields of brain development, brain function and neural plasticity, which is the ability of our nervous system to rewire and learn new behaviors, skills and cognitive functioning.
One of his favorite topics, and one that is (no surprise) most engaged with by his audience is how to optimize sleep. He created a “Sleep Toolkit” that lists out how to get better at sleeping… all rooted in science. Here’s a quick summary of some of the insights we found most useful:
1) View sunlight by going outside within 30-60 minutes of waking. Do that again in the late afternoon, prior to sunset.
Aim for 10+ mins if it’s sunny, and 20+ mins if it’s cloudy. No, you don’t need to stare directly at the sun. No, it doesn’t count behind a window or windshield. Yes, it’s okay to bring your sunglasses.
2) Wake up at the same time each day and go to sleep when you first start to feel sleepy.
Pushing past your bedtime and that sleepy feeling means you’re going to be more likely to wake up feeling groggy and have a higher likelihood of waking up in the middle of the night.
3) Avoid caffeine within 8-10 hours of bedtime
Huberman and sleep expert Dr. Matt Walker debated this one on the podcast.
4) Avoid viewing bright lights—especially bright overhead lights between 10 pm and 4 am.
Huberman calls out that “viewing bright lights of all colors are a problem for your circadian system."
5) If you wake up in the middle of the night (which, by the way, is normal to do once or so each night) but you can’t fall back asleep, consider doing an NSDR protocol when you wake up.
6) Keep the room you sleep in cool and dark and layer on blankets that you can remove.
7) Drinking alcohol messes up your sleep. As do most sleep medications.
8) Kids (and indeed all of us) have changing sleep needs over time. Adjust accordingly.
Checkout some useful advice on how to adjust sleep schedules for you and your family.
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