Huberman Lab | Episode – 28

Maximizing Productivity, Physical and Mental Health with Daily Tools

Rating: 9/10

Listen on: Youtube | Spotify | Web


How to build a daily routine, that is useful to do extremely productive work. While also maintaining perfect bodily and mental health. This episode focuses on the example of what Andrew Hubermans Routine looks like. But most of that is transferable and a lot can be taken from his routine. Experiment on your own though.

Detailed Notes

Hubermans Routine:

  1. Wake up. Note down time. Temp minimum is 2 hours earlier.
  2. Go for a walk in the sun. Reset circadian clock and rhythm. Both walk and sun are important here.
  3. Water. Hydrate. With a little bit of seasalt in it. Half a Tea Spoon on one glass.
  4. Fasting + Caffeine from Yerba Mate for morning work. Increase adrenaline and arousal of parasympathetic nervous system.
  5. Ninety Minutes of work. 4-6 hours after temp minimum. Screen above. Standing desk. No restroom pauses. No distractions, no phone, no internet, white noise, at low volume. Focus and alertness high, but arousal not too high. Otherwise jittery.
  6. Exercise. 10-12 week cycle. 3-2. Strength-Endurance. Then switch. 60 minutes max. per session per day. 80/20 principle. 20% burn, 80% more relaxed. Both in endurance and strength training.
  7. Fasting until 12. Then low quantity to keep focus, after meals. Little starches if exercised. Always protein + veggies. 1000mg EPA. As supplement for Omega 3 fatty acids.
  8. After meal, brief walk. Optic flow again. Light Information - control circadian rhythm.
  9. Reveri Hypnosis Session, 10 minutes script. Otherwise NDSR protocol or Yoga Nidra Session.
  10. Again hydrate. Again little bit of salt.
  11. More work. 90 minutes again. Starting around 14:30-15:00. Again, no internet. No distractions. Focus zone.
  12. View evening light. Sunset. Reset schedule once again + help against screen lights in the evening a little.
  13. Starchy dinner. Serotonin increase of starches leads to better sleep, because effect on Melatonin secretion.
  14. Warm Shower before Sleep also helps.
  15. Sleep. Regular. Supplements are ok. Specifically Magnesium Threonate (or Magnesium Bisglycinate) + Apigenin. When awake in middle of night, no or only very dim lights. No phone!

Waking up

Brain and body changes in circadian rhythm. Genes and proteins coordinate that change. Days are units. Hence level of optimization is a day => Daily Tools to "optimize" life.

Getting up in the morning: 6-7 am. With an alarm. First write down time. Find average wake up time. Find temperature minimum. Lowest temperature is 2 hours before wake up time. Temperature minimum can be used to shift sleep and food schedule around.

Morning Walk

Next, walk. In the sun. Movement is important for the optic flow. Helps nervous system. Reduce amygdala neural activation. Hence less fear, stress, anxiety. Movement helps against those.

Optical Flow

Paper: Whole Brain Functional Ultrasound Imaging Reveals Brain Modules for Visual Motor Integration.

Paper: Eye Movement Intervention enhances Extinction via Amygdala Deactivation.

Walking is about optic flow. Increasing energy. Push neurology into alert but not anxious state. Outside is important as well. More visual stimulation and sunlight! Better hormone system, better mental health, better sleep etc. etc. etc.

Light Exposure

How long? Minimum 2 Minutes - good 10 minutes - perfect 30 minutes or more.

Melanopsin Intrinsically Photo Sensitive Ganglion Cells. Sense light, determine it's day. Then help to activate the body by burst of cortisol. This cortisol pulse early in the day is good for you. The earlier the better. Has to be triggered by sunlight. Indirectly.

Bright lights, from above helps alertness. Blue light is stimulating. Blue Blockers are for the night. If at all. Instead, dim lights in the afternoon and evening and night. If light is bright enough, blue blockers don't help.

Step away from screens every once in a while, walk, look into the distance.

Caffeine and Yerba Mate

Caffeine only 90-120 minutes after waking up. Build up of Adenosine is what makes us sleepy. Caffeine only blocks Adenosine from docking to receptors. Without Adenosine built up, caffeine makes no sense. Later caffeine makes not much sense.

Focused, alert, but not anxious is what is wanted in the morning. Another tool to get there is fasting. Fasting increases Adrenaline. Not too high, that leads to panic/stress/anxiety. Overly activated nervous system. Fasting state depends on food history of the day before. Breaking fast is something that doesn't matter too much.

Yerba Mate increases GLP-1. Related to Glucagon. Opposite to Insulin. Helps in fat burning and lypolisis. Anna Park Yerba Mate. 1-2 days the tea can be re-used.

Support Focus and Alertness

Upward directed eyes help alertness. Devices slightly higher than eye level. Looking down, decreases levels of alertness. Bi-level Relation between eyelids wide open vs. slightly closed and how attentive and focused we are. Slightly closed makes tired. Open makes alert.

Locus Cerruleus notices how upright the body is. Leaned back makes sleepy, upright makes alert. Ideal setup would be screen up above at eye level + a Standing desk.

90-minute optimized mental work

Then work. 90 minutes of work. Ultradyan cycle. Shifts from wakeful and alert to tired and unfocused. 90 minutes is longest time for focused work. Something like Freedom helps for dedicated work. No internet. No distractions. Bladder filling up, helps focusing. Get into tunnel/zone/flow states. Phone is off during work. Extreme focus during this work time. White noise is on during the time, low volume. Ultra high focus like this after some time feels wonderful. Setting up support points for the brain to be in a specific state, that is geared towards work.

Timing matters. Minimum Temperature. 4-6 hours after is the time for this 90 minute block. Body increases temperature from then, steepest slope of temperature rise is what we try to catch during this time.


After, physical movement. Endurance and strength. Approx. 60 minutes. Helps with hormones. Optimizing health. 5 days per week is perfect. Not more, not less. Rest days. 3-2 ratio. 10-12 weeks. 3 strength + hypertrophy sessions. 2 endurance sessions per week. Then switch from endurance focus to strength focus. 2-3. Exercise is good for brain and body, hence important.

Effects: Oxteocalcin. Helps brain circuitry. Brain derived neurotrophic factor. Limiting inflammatory cytokines, like IL6. And promoting beneficial cytokines like IL10.

Hell Night makes no sense because it creates damage. Don't damage body. Threshold? 80% shouldn't go to failure. 20% should be higher, can go to failure. Endurance doesn't need mileage. 80/20 also applies here. Focus on burn in muscles. Burn is not lactic acid. But related to the metabolism of it. Roughly 20% of time we should feel the burn. Helps Glia to grow. Most rational and grounded part of protocol.

Food and Fasting

Doing workouts fasted has benefits. Electrolyte rich water, before workout. Sometimes quells hunger. Blood sugar to be "low" feeling is often caused by not enough electrolytes. Water with Magnesium and Tea Salt half spoon. Elmnt is a supplement for water with good electrolytes in it.

Stimulants - Caffeine, Music etc. do make sense sometimes. But they don't help long term with motivation for training. Short term yes. AlphaGPC 300mg, focus goes up. Rarely, only if motivation is sluggish.

AlphaGPC -

Timing and Volume of Food is important. Large volumes stop focus, because blood is diverted. Alertness drops then.

What to eat?

Lunch, low carbo hydrate intake. Protein + Vegetables + (starches if exercised before, on the low side). Starches release serotonin. Feel sedating. Makes lethargic. 25% of people have resistance to this starch tiredness. Genetic. Low amounts of meats and nuts help feel alert.

Some food helps mood. Omega 3 acids is important here. 1000mg of EPA is like Anti Depressants. Supplement that. EPA is important to have 1000 mg, not fish oil itself.

Brazil Nuts for Thyroid hormone. Metabolism is about repair + teardown + buildup.


Hormones are important. Entire Month of Episodes on why they are important. Testosterone and Estrogen are made from cholesterol. Cholesterol is necessary. Butter is high in cholesterol. Lipid Profiles are important to keep track off. Blood work. Volume, not too much. Optimal testosterone and estrogen levels are necessary. Only free testosterone has effects. Some of it is bound by sex hormone binding globulin. Helps in transport of testosterone.

400mg daily - Tongkat Ali, Ginseng Extract,

Fadogia Agrestis -

Stimulates Luteinizing Hormone stimulates testes or ovaries to produce testosterone and estrogen.

After Meal Walk

Brief walk after meal. Helps metabolism. Outside light exposure, helps circadian rhythm. Hence importance.


NSDR helps all the things*. Better brain and body function. Meditation. Yoga Nidra. Hypnosis. Deliberate shift in mental and bodily state towards relaxation.


Hypnosis as a tool to use for particular goals. Somewhat better than naps and the rest. It's more directed. Guide towards particular outcome - Free tool. Very useful.

Paper: Brain Activity and Functional Connectivity associated with Hypnosis

How does the brain idle? Insula activated by hypnosis. Enhances introspective state. Deep relaxation, focus and introspection. Exit state is easy. No grogginess. Not stage hypnosis. Increase in plasticity. Allow brain change to happen. Hypnosis as optimal NSDR protocol.

Naps are 90 minutes or less. Napping can interfere with sleeping at night. 50% 50% split in population. Find out who you are.

Prepare for Sleep

Retinas become sensitive to light between 22:00 to 04:00. It screws sleep really badly. Disrupts immune system, disrupts learning, disrupts mood. Long lasting effects. Afternoon light offsets this disruption somewhat. Viewing light when sun goes down. Sunset would be perfect. Around start of golden hour. 20-30 minutes would be perfect. Lowers sensitivity of retina at night. Very bright lights are still bad. But a little less so.

Melatonin excretion is prevented by light falling in the eyes. Hence it disrupts sleep.

Help align circadian rhythms. Optimizing for mood, learning, etc.


Evening is for dinner, but optimizing for sleep and transition to rest. Use starchy carbohydrates. I.e. Müsli. Increase melatonin and serotonin. Bias towards sleep. Refined sugars no. But carbs generally, yes. Crave more sugar via Vagus Nerve via sugar sensing neurons in the gut modulating dopamine and thereby behavior and cravings in the brain. Communicating with Nodase Ganglia.

Glycogen stores need to be filled for exercise to be good. Carbs also taste good and refill those stores. So it's good. Fasting during the morning, fatty + protein for lunch, but starch in the evening is perfect.


How to have quality sleep. Leverage temperature drop. Hot showers accelerate body temperature drop. Falling asleep is easier, because related to temperature minimum.

Sauna - 20 minutes. But cycling would be even better. HGH release. Human Growth Hormone.

Behavioral protocols for sleep: cold + dark room. Warm blankets. During sleep you move to control temperature. When it's cold it's easy to cool down body temperature by sticking a foot out of the blanket. Cooling for exercise can increase amount of exercise possible.

Sleep Supplements

No melatonin or serotonin supplements. Instead things like Apigenin (50 mg 30 min before sleep), Theanine, coupled with Magnesium, Magnesium Thrionate or Magnesiumbisglycinate. Aid transition to supplements.

Podcast: Darya Rose Show – about health and health related topics.

Dealing with Sleep disruptions

When waking up in middle of night, but before that fought to stay awake, because of social occasion or something maybe go to bed earlier. Melatonin peak at wrong point in time. When break in sleep for anxiety or because of bathroom needs, no lights or minimum lights possible. To not disrupt Melatonin. NSDR can help fall back asleep.

It's hard to control the mind with the mind. Look to the body.

Life Happens

Weekends might drift. That's ok. Even if going to sleep late, wake up at same time. Go to bed same time if possible. Don't go to bed early the day after easy.

Enjoy life. It's important.

3 hours of really focused work is already really good. More deep work is hard to get. Work bouts of 90 minutes are not the only time to focus or do work. They are only the most effective. Also, adapt to custom circumstances.

Contrast reality of your life with scientific input. Adapt where possible. Don't stress out.

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