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Sleep Cocktail / Routine

Sleep Cocktail

  • Magnesium Threonate or Glycinate: 200-400mg 2-3 hours before sleep

  • Threonate is the form of magnesium that crosses the blood-brain barrier and will assist with sleep instead of absorption by gut

  • Theanine: 200-400mg

  • Nootropic but takes the edge off and balances caffeine intake

  • Do NOT take Theanine if you have night terrors or sleep walk

  • Glycine: 1 gram

  • GABA: 1 gram

  • Other Keys To Optimal Sleep:

  • No caffeine after 2pm

  • Sleep in a cold room, use a Chilipad if you have one

  • Dinner is heavier on carbs which release serotonin (salad/meat for lunch)

  • Don’t use melatonin

  • Within 30 minutes of waking up, go outside and view sunlight for 2-10 minutes

  • As sun is setting, view the sun to send another signal to your brain that it’s evening

Why Do We Get Sleepy?

  • The organic compound adenosine naturally builds up in your brain the longer you’re awake regardless of whether it’s day or night

  • “How sleepy we get for a given amount of adenosine depends on where we are in the circadian cycle” – Andrew Huberman

  • “The circadian cycle is just this very well-conserved temperature oscillation” – Andrew Huberman

  • Your core temperature will be at its lowest 2 hours before you wake up and gradually start to increase. Your temperature will peak around late afternoon and then gradually decrease towards the evening thus repeating the cycle.

  • The combination of a low core temperature in the circadian cycle coupled with high levels of adenosine leads to the feeling of sleepiness

  • This is also why if you make yourself stay awake despite being sleepy, you will eventually feel alert again. It’s because your core temperature is increasing again and the synchronization required to feel sleepy isn’t occurring.

  • It’s also why it’s easier to fall asleep in a cool environment

  • While we sleep our body goes through 90-minute cycles of different levels of brain activity

  • You will feel more alert when waking up at the end of a cycle rather than sleeping an extra hour and waking up in the middle of a cycle

Sleep & Health

  • “People who are strictly nocturnal do far worse on immune function, metabolic function, etc. than people who are diurnal” – Andrew Huberman

  • The circadian cycle is useful not just for sleep, but also for cell regulation

  • “It’s clear that having these very regular oscillations every 24 hours is essential to everything from metabolism to reproduction” – Andrew Huberman

  • “The entirety of the picture of sleep is similar to nutrition in that there are so many variables involved and it’s so person specific”Lex Fridman

  • Just like the nutritional needs of an athlete is different, the sleep needs of a high-performer will also be different

  • If you sleep a respectable amount but still feel fatigued throughout the day it does NOT mean you need more sleep; it means you’re excessively stressing your body by other means

Using Visual System For Optimization Of Sleep

  • Light viewing behavior has a strong impact on alertness and capacity to fall asleep and stay asleep

  • We have to tell the body what time of day it is by viewing light with the eyes

  • We can adjust our circadian clock through light – if we flood it with light, we are altering our natural rhythm

  • Tip 1: within 30 minutes of waking up, go outside and view sunlight for 2-10 minutes – triggers healthy cortisol release to promote wakefulness; starts timer for melatonin

  • Shift cortisol pulse earlier in the day has been shown to ameliorate depression

  • Most powerful stimuli for biology and central circadian clock: (1) light; (2) exercise; (3) feeding; (4) social cues – interact with people early in the day

  • If you live in areas with heavy cloud coverage, turn on as many overhead lights as you can in the morning

  • As you approach evening, avoid bright light of any color and dim the lights

  • Bright light exposure between 11pm-4am has been shown to cause serious disruption in the dopamine system – even in subsequent days

  • Tip 2: get first bright light exposure 14-16 hours prior to when you want to sleep

  • As sun is setting, view the sun to send another signal to your brain that it’s evening

  • Temperature minimum: point at which body temperature is lowest during sleep – about 2 hours before natural wake up time

  • You can use temperature minimum to help with jet lag or travel plans by setting an alarm to wake up at that hour in the location you are traveling and view bright light


  • It’s best to allow natural signals to wake up the body by delaying caffeine intake 90 minutes after rising

  • How does caffeine work to wake us up: caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant that increases dopamine and blocks adenosine (which makes us sleepier)

  • Caffeine crash: when coming down from caffeine, you lose the effects of caffeine, and the level of adenosine you suppressed comes rushing in

  • The dose and timing of coffee is what makes it helpful or harmful

  • The half-life of coffee is 5-6 hours depending on liver enzyme

  • Even if you don’t feel the effects of late caffeine intake on sleep, cycles will likely be disrupted – particularly deep sleep

  • You might fall asleep and stay asleep well, but increase caffeine intake the next day because you don’t feel rested

  • Suggestion for last caffeine intake: 8-10 hours from the time you would like to sleep

Melatonin In Naturally Occurring Form Versus Supplement

  • Melatonin starts to rise in as dusk approaches, peaking around the time of sleep itself

  • Melatonin tells the body when it’s day and night and can help with the timing of sleep but not induce sleep

  • Analogy: melatonin is like a race director who calls all racers to the line but doesn’t participate in the race itself

  • Darkness triggers the release of melatonin: (1) try dimming lights in the house in the evening; (2) avoid blue light

  • Melatonin is not particularly helpful as a sleep aid – a recent meta-analysis showed melatonin only increased sleep by about 4 minutes and sleep efficiency by about 2%

  • Potential positive effects of melatonin for some people: may drop core body temperature, potential antioxidant effects, older adults who have a lower reduction of natural melatonin release, may reduce anxiety – or – placebo!

  • Problems with melatonin dosing: the amount of melatonin in supplements is orders of magnitude greater than amounts of melatonin naturally released in the system

  • There is evidence that melatonin suppress puberty and should be used with caution as a sleep supplement

6 Best Podcast:

  1. #1673 – Andrew Huberman | Joe Rogan Experience

  2. Episode 31: Dr. Matthew Walker: The Science & Practice Of Perfecting Your Sleep| Huberman Lab

  3. Andrew Huberman: Sleep, Dreams, Creativity, Fasting, and Neuroplasticity (#164) | Lex Fridman Podcast

  4. #521: Dr. Andrew Huberman – A Neurobiologist On Optimizing Sleep, Performance, And Testosterone | Tim Ferriss Show

  5. Optimize Your Brain With Science-Based Tools | Huberman Lab

  6. Episode 17: How To Control Your Metabolism By Thyroid & Growth Hormones | Huberman Lab


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