Andrew Huberman sleep cocktail: A neuroscientist’s guide to better sleep. This popular cocktail includes magnesium, L-theanine, apigenin, and inositol, all of which have been shown to improve sleep quality. Try it tonight and see the difference!
- The Andrew Huberman sleep cocktail is a combination of magnesium, L-theanine, apigenin, and inositol.
- The cocktail is thought to work by promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety, which can lead to better sleep.
- Huberman recommends taking the cocktail 30-60 minutes before bed.
Who Is Andrew Huberman?
In case you haven’t heard of him, Andrew Huberman is an American podcaster. He is also a neuroscientist, which explains his fascination with all things sleep and mind-related.
He has a prestigious academic background as a well-respected Stanford professor he has attracted a large following. But he’s not your average academic.
He has also become a highly revered wellness influencer – with a top-rated podcast known as the Huberman Lab. Here, he breaks down trending topics in the health and wellbeing arena, providing listeners with actionable takeaways to improve their quality of life.
Whilst Andrew may cover complex scientific concepts on his podcast, he has a real knack for straightforwardly explaining things to ensure that even complicated concepts appear simple. And his podcasts aren’t just 30-minute affairs – they often span over several hours, giving him a chance to dive deep into interesting and involved health topics.
One of the most compelling parts of Andrew’s approach is that he maintains a very impressive physique at all times, which indicates he practices what he preaches. This makes his content even more convincing because he clearly invests in his own health and takes his own advice.
As part of Huberman’s academic career at Stanford, he focuses on brain cell growth, stress, and the impact of specific breathing practices on anxiety disorders. He has also involved himself in somewhat more controversial aspects of “wellness”, including the concept of psychedelic-assisted therapy, speaking to their value in mental health improvement protocols.
To be fair, there is a growing evidence base surrounding the potential of certain psychedelics to help treat conditions such as depression – which explains why his skepticism about such approaches has been replaced with curiosity about their use in a controlled environment.
While Andrew makes his content free and therefore accessible, he does gain financial benefit from advertisements for wellness-related products for everything from mattresses to specific supplements.
It is said that the scientific quality of Huberman’s content may compare favorably to that used within the Joe Rogan podcast, but he has been known to make the occasional error when explaining in-depth scientific concepts.
Overall though, he is well respected, uses rigorous scientific evidence, and provides his followers with valuable health and wellness advice.
Andrew Huberman And Sleep
One of Andrew’s principal areas of focus is sleep. This is because he is a strong advocate for the ability of sleep to impact and influence multiple areas of health and wellness. He professes sleep to be a natural nootropic, an immune booster, a stress reliever, and a great stabilizer for emotions – amongst other things.
Because he maintains that sleep is essential for every other aspect of our health, he has spent a great deal of time researching how to optimize it.
Whilst the use of targeted supplements is a big part of his sleep-improving protocol, he also recommends evidence-based lifestyle changes to improve sleep quality and duration.
Andrew Huberman sleep cocktail has many elements. Below are some of his key recommendations.
Get Morning Sunlight Exposure
It’s well documented that exposure to morning sunlight is key for circadian clock regulation. (Source)
Essentially, when you are exposed to early morning sunlight, your brain resets your body clock. This means it switches off any lingering melatonin production and stimulates your daytime alertness mode.
This means you feel awake, and alert, ready to take on the day. It can shift off morning inertia and sluggishness and can make you feel more like working out. This is also why reducing exposure to lights in the evening is essential for good sleep too.
In the evening, when you reduce light exposure, melatonin production kicks in and prepares you for sleep. But many of us, confuse our bodies by failing to get adequate daytime natural light exposure and then turning on the artificial lights in the evening.
So, for this reason, Andrew recommends we get at least 10 minutes of natural light as early on in the day as possible. This can be achieved by stepping outside for a morning stroll, or even taking a cup of tea or coffee into the garden for a morning pick-me-up.
Be Mindful Of Caffeine
We all know that caffeine too close to bedtime can interfere with sleep. But Andrew takes this a step further by avoiding caffeine within the first two hours of waking too.
Sometimes, when it comes to sleep – we need to look at the bigger picture and consider how different daytime habits can affect how well we rest at night. So, by avoiding caffeine during the first couple of hours, we can prevent the cortisol surge which leads to an afternoon crash.
This helps to keep your energy levels on a more even keel during the day and can therefore regulate your sleep rhythms. So, whilst Huberman is pro caffeine (he speaks to its performance-enhancing, antioxidant benefits), when you are looking to improve your sleep – timing is key. (Source)
Take Time Out For Relaxation
It might be easy to think that winding down for a few minutes before bed is good enough. But another principle of Andrew Huberman is to factor in some quality downtime during the day.
He likes to practice the ancient art of Yoga Nidra – which is brilliant at switching on the relaxation response. Just 20 minutes of Yoga Nidra has the same benefits as 3 hours of sleep but without post-nap grogginess. (Source)
Incorporating regular daytime relaxation can reduce your circulating cortisol levels, as well as help your mind get used to the idea of switching off. This can help you to switch off quicker at night because you’ve already given your mind a break.
Embrace The Cold
You’ve probably heard of the hype around cold water immersion. Whilst they are often associated with giving you a morning surge of energy and dopamine – cold water can also have benefits before bed. (Source)
Andrew Human is a big fan of short cold showers to improve his health in multiple ways. Taking a cold shower before bed can reduce your body temperature which helps the body to prepare for sleep. This is because the body’s temperature naturally drops around bedtime, so you help to give your body signals that sleep is coming.
What Is The Andrew Huberman Sleep Cocktail?
So, now we’ve discussed Huberman’s health hacks for better sleep – what about his famous Huberman sleep cocktail? Whilst this sounds like some kind of delicious nightcap, it is a series of supplements that he attributes to causing better sleep.
Huberman is said to combine supplements such as Magnesium, L-theanine, Apigenin, and Inositol. So, let’s look at these in a bit more detail.
L-theanine is a natural amino acid found predominantly in green tea and certain mushrooms. It is also available in supplement form – Andrew Huberman reported taking around 400mg per day.
Whilst L-theanine has risen in popularity in recent years – it’s nothing new. Japanese monks have been using L-theanine for many years. They are reported to have drunk a lot of green tea due to its high L-theanine content. This enabled them to achieve better mental focus during intense periods of meditation.
One of the great things about L-theanine is that at the same time as enhancing mental focus, it can also ease anxiety. Huberman takes L-theanine for its anti-anxiety effects.
Studies have demonstrated its ability to induce relaxation but in a natural and less harmful way than many sleep medications designed to trigger sedation. L-theanine is a safe alternative to pharmaceutical sleep aids, and unlike traditional sleep medication, are designed to be used on an ongoing basis as they are not in any way habit forming.
Apigenin is a lesser-known supplement – but there is a growing mound of evidence suggesting that it may be able to increase sleep onset (therefore minimizing all that tossing and turning) whilst simultaneously improving cognitive function the following day. (Source)
This is presumably why such a supplement appeals to a neuroscientist such as Huberman as it is multipurpose and targets different aspects of cognition at once. More evidence is needed to prove that apigenin is as valuable a sleep aid as say magnesium, but for now, it shows promise. (Source)
Inositol is more frequently linked to its ability to reduce panic symptoms during acute anxiety attacks. However, there is some evidence to show that taking this supplement every now and again may pay dividends where sleep quality is concerned.
It’s worth noting that one key study demonstrating this effect was in pregnant women – so more evidence is needed to establish its efficacy for everybody. The good thing about inositol is that Huberman reportedly only needs to take it every 3 days or so to gain its sleep-improving benefits.
And finally, let’s look at Magnesium, as this magic mineral shows the most merit where sleep is concerned.
Different Types Of Magnesium
First off, it’s important to say that there are several different types of magnesium that have differing effects on sleep.
Andrew Huberman appears to be a fan of Magnesium Threonate, and Magnesium Glycinate. He believes that Magnesium Threonate is superior when it comes to cognitive benefits, which is why he recommends people looking to improve their sleep take around 200mg of it 60 minutes before bed.
One of the reasons he is such a fan of the Threonate version of Magnesium is due to its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. This means it is capable of exerting more effects on the brain and cognition generally.
He is also very keen on Magnesium Glycinate because it has a relaxing effect on the nervous system which can also prime you for better sleep. Magnesium Glycinate can promote muscle relaxation and increase serotonin – which may explain its association with improved sleep.
Both of these forms of Magnesium are well absorbed, and so it’s important to say that more is less. That’s because it is definitely possible to overdo things where magnesium is concerned and some of the side effects can be dangerous.
So always stick to the recommended levels on the supplement form and don’t mix multiple forms of magnesium together at the same time. Magnesium Citrate is another popular choice due to its bioavailability and ability to improve a number of health metrics.
Julia is a health content editor and nutritionist from Norwich, UK. She has worked as a health coach in private practice and for the national health service. She undertook an MSc in nutritional medicine to deepen her knowledge.
She enjoys producing evidence-based content which inspires people to become healthier and happier.