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Feb. 14, 2021

This is Your Brain on Sleep, Supplements, Sunlight, and Stimulation — Stanford Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman, PhD

Stanford neuroscientist and Huberman Lab podcast host Andrew Huberman, Ph.D. joins us to discuss future brain interfaces, stimulating the vagus nerve, the importance of bright light (especially natural sunlight) in the morning, what Andrew thinks about using blue-blocking technology at night (and what he believes to be more effective), breathing exercises, recommended (and not-so-recommended) brain supplements, and more.


  • Two big reasons for having today's guest on the show, and how I've been using Sanbo Zen meditation to stay mentally engaged and emotionally grounded during the pandemic. [00:00]
  • Who is Andrew Huberman? [03:35]
  • What's new and exciting in the world of neuroscience: how did we get here, who's getting involved, and where are we going? [05:26]
  • What practical applications of neuroscientific discoveries does Andrew see becoming available in the not-too-distant future? [13:37]
  • What is the vagus nerve, and how can it be manipulated to promote physical and mental well-being? [16:25]
  • The therapeutic potential of neuromodulation and how it compares to traditional treatments. [24:46]
  • Does treating neurological disorders (such as depression) with these new technologies last over the long haul, and is there concern they're just relieving symptoms without addressing their root causes? [27:06]
  • Until this technology becomes available to consumers, what does Andrew suggest for people looking to improve their mood, hone their focus, and feel more productive? [31:53]
  • Why exposing yourself to bright, natural light early in the day is essential for establishing optimal sleep patterns, how much is ideal, and why getting outside for your daily dose is key. [34:36]
  • Why Andrew doesn't endorse blue-light blocking glasses to alleviate the effects of late-night exposure, and what he recommends instead. [38:46]
  • Breathing exercises for stress reduction: physiological sighs contrasted with the Wim Hof method. [42:07]
  • A practice Andrew considers to be "the one that has had the greatest effect on everything from ability to buffer stress [to] learning and memory": yoga nidra, or NSDR (non-sleep deep rest). [49:04]
  • Nostril breathing versus mouth breathing. [52:32]
  • How it's currently believed the glymphatic system works to remove neurotoxic waste from our brains as we sleep, protecting us against degenerative conditions like Alzheimer's disease. [57:29]
  • Why Andrew does not recommend melatonin supplements for sleep -- and what he uses instead. [1:01:29]
  • Supplements that may increase testosterone. [1:06:31]
  • The pros and possible cons of creatine. [1:08:04]
  • Why men shouldn't treat estrogen like an enemy, and what we should know about turmeric's effect on DHT. [1:08:44]
  • Why there's no catch-all supplement to increase "cognitive" function, and one of the surprising compounds some of Andrew's Nobel-winning colleagues take for focus that he doesn't personally recommend. [1:10:15]
  • Some cognitive-boosting supplements Andrew does recommend (and a few more he definitely does not). [1:11:54]
  • Parting thoughts. [1:13:31]