11 Tools to Help You Stay Alert During the Day and Sleep Easily at Night

This is the 84th edition of Huberman Lab, and the audio can be found here.

We summarize this audio and list 11 key 11 Tools to Help You Stay Alert During the Day and Sleep Easily at Night.

Phase One: Morning

  1. To stay alert, it is essential to increase cortisol levels, which can enhance your immune system, metabolism, and ability to focus.
  2. Andrew Huberman’s routine is to jump rope for 10-20 minutes while looking at the sun each morning, followed by a cold shower.

Tool One: Sun Exposure

Seeing bright sunlight within 30-60 minutes of waking up can also stimulate an increase in cortisol.

  1. Method and dosage:

If it is cloudy and the sun is not too intense, try looking at the sun without staring directly at it. Let as much sunlight as possible shine into your eyes. You can take a walk.

As for time, on clear days, about 5 minutes; on cloudy days, about 10 minutes; on heavily cloudy days or when there is minimal sunshine, people should be exposed to sunlight for about 20-30 minutes.

2. Precautions:

Do not stare directly at the sun without sunglasses (even with UV protection lenses), and avoid any way that can cause pain while looking at the sun.

Seeing the sun within 30-60 minutes of waking up can have a powerful impact on your ability to fall asleep and maintain sleep at night.

If you wake up to an overcast day or before the sun rises, you can turn on artificial lighting at home (but go outside once the sun is up).

On cloudy days, go out for a walk, as you need more light than on sunny days.

For more information on the other effects of sunlight, you can listen to Andrew’s #68 edition.

Tool Two: Increase Body Temperature

An increase in body temperature can also lead to an increase in cortisol.

  1. Quickly raise your body temperature by taking a 1-3 minute cold shower or ice bath, which triggers the release of adrenaline and dopamine and raises your body temperature.
  2. Exercise (any type) can also increase your body temperature.

If your goal is to maximize your body temperature, the best time to exercise is: (1) immediately after waking up; (2) 3 hours after waking up; or (3) 11 hours after waking up.

If you exercise in the afternoon, it is recommended to take a hot shower or bath afterward to lower your body temperature and prepare your body for better sleep at night.

Tool Three: Caffeine

  1. Wait 90-120 minutes after waking up to consume caffeine.
  2. Avoid drinking caffeine after 4 PM, as it can affect your sleep at night. If you must drink coffee, limit it to 100 milligrams or less.
  3. If you consume caffeine as the first thing in the morning before exercising, you may experience a decline in energy earlier in the afternoon.

Tool Four: Food

  1. Eating in the morning can make you more alert, promote metabolism, and raise body temperature, making you feel more alert.
  2. However, eating too much food in the morning can redirect blood and resources from the brain to digest food, causing fatigue.

For information on when to eat, see Andrew’s #3 edition.

Phase Two: Afternoon

In the afternoon, the main thing to pay attention to is not to do things that will affect your sleep at night.

  1. In the afternoon, you can also watch the sunset and enjoy the sunlight, which can help you fall asleep at night.
  2. You should pay attention to the following:
    1. If taking a nap in the afternoon will affect your sleep at night, try not to take a nap.
    2. After 4 pm, do not drink coffee or limit your coffee intake to 100 milligrams or less.
    3. Gradually reduce the amount of artificial bright light and slightly dim the room lights.

Phase Three: Night

At night, do things that will help you fall asleep more easily. The key factors are similar to those during the daytime, namely light and temperature.

Tool Five: Hot Bath

Taking a hot bath or shower can help lower your body temperature and make it easier for you to fall asleep.

Tool Six: Temperature and Sleeping Environment

  1. Keep the environment very dark or dim. If you wake up in the middle of the night, try to avoid turning on the lights.
  2. Control the room temperature and lower it by 3 degrees if necessary. If you feel too hot at night, do not wear socks while sleeping and extend your hands and feet outside the blanket.

Tool Seven: Tools to Help You Stay Asleep

If you have trouble sleeping, you can consider using some tools to assist you:

· Eye Mask (EveMasks):

Some people have trouble sleeping with eye masks, mainly because of the temperature. When the indoor temperature is relatively high and you wear an eye mask, it can increase your body temperature and affect your sleep. Therefore, it is best to lower the room temperature slightly when using an eye mask and avoid wearing it too tightly.

· Earplugs (EarPluas):

Some people find earplugs effective because they can block out noise, but some people cannot tolerate them because they can hear their own heartbeat after putting them on. You can decide whether or not to wear earplugs based on your personal preference.

· Elevating Feet (ElevatingFeet):

Raising the foot of your bed by 3-5 degrees (note that this refers to the position of your feet when lying down) can help lymphatic drainage. However, pregnant women and people with vascular diseases should be careful when using this method.

Tool Eight: Tool to Help You Get Back to Sleep

· ReveriApp:

If you wake up at night, you can try using this app, which can help you get back to sleep. However, when using this app, remember to adjust the brightness of your phone screen to a lower level. The principle behind this app is NSDR, and you can also use other apps or videos on YouTube.

For more information about this app, refer to Andrew’s #60 Podcast.

· Yoga Nidra:

This is a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, usually induced by guided meditation.

For more information about meditation, refer to Andrew’s #96 Podcast.

Tool Night: Breathing through the Nose

For people who are overweight, it is highly possible to have sleep apnea, a condition that can be dangerous and even lead to death. People with this condition may need to use a breathing machine while sleeping. However, there is a simple way to get rid of sleep apnea, which is to breathe through the nose by tapping your mouth with medical tape. Alternatively, you can try doing low-intensity aerobic exercise and breathing only through your nose, which helps to form the habit of breathing only through the nose.

For more information about this method, refer to James Nestor’s book “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art”.

Tool Ten: Lowest Temperature

If you experience jet lag due to traveling or need to wake up early because of a child, you can adjust your circadian rhythm by utilizing the lowest temperature effect. The lowest temperature refers to the lowest body temperature during a day, which usually occurs 2 hours before you wake up.

For instance, if you usually wake up at 7 o’clock, your body temperature will usually reach its lowest point at around 5 o’clock. You can do some activities before or after this time, such as watching bright light or exercising, to affect your circadian rhythm.

If you exercise or drink coffee 1-2 hours before reaching the lowest temperature (for example, at 3-4 a.m. in the previous example), it will delay your circadian rhythm, meaning that you will sleep later and wake up later the next day.

If you exercise or do other activities 1-2 hours after reaching the lowest temperature, it will advance your circadian rhythm, meaning that you will sleep earlier and wake up earlier the next day.

Tool Eleven: Shift Work Advice and Red Light

If you work in shifts, try to maintain the same schedule for at least two weeks each time. If you need to stay awake during your sleep cycle, such as waking up early for travel or feeding a baby, use red light to avoid disrupting your circadian rhythm.

Sleep supplements

This information does not constitute medical, nursing, or medical advice. Caution should be exercised when purchasing and using these supplements. The risk of using supplements is borne by the user.

  1. Do not use melatonin. It is an endogenous hormone, and the non-prescription doses available on the market are too high for children or long-term users.
  2. You may consider taking the following supplements (30-60 minutes before bedtime):
  3. Choose one (note that some people (about 5%) may experience gastrointestinal discomfort due to magnesium supplementation; do not take in such cases.)
    1. Magnesium Threonate (145mg)
    2. Magnesium Bisglycinate (200mg)
  4. Apigenin (50mg)
  5. Theanine (100-400mg) (Note: do not take theanine if you have frequent sleepwalking or night terrors.)
  6. Glycine (2g, 3-4 evenings per week)
  7. GABA (100mg, 3-4 evenings per week)

Read more:

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