Dr. Andrew Huberman — A Neurobiologist on Optimizing Sleep, Performance, and Testosterone (#521)

Artist's rendering of Dr. Andrew HubermanArtist's rendering of Dr. Andrew Huberman
Illustration via 99designs

“Use the body to control the mind.”

— Dr. Andrew Huberman

Andrew Huberman, PhD (@hubermanlab), is a neuroscientist and tenured professor in the Department of Neurobiology at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. He has made numerous important contributions to the fields of brain development, brain function, and neural plasticity. Andrew is a McKnight Foundation and Pew Foundation fellow and recipient of the 2017 Cogan Award for his discoveries in the study of vision. Work from the Huberman Laboratory at Stanford Medicine has been consistently published in top journals including Nature, Science, and Cell.

Andrew is host of the Huberman Lab podcast, which he launched in January of this year. The show aims to help viewers and listeners improve their health with science and science-based tools. New episodes air every Monday on YouTube and all podcast platforms. 

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to hear an episode with someone else who casually enjoys the thrill of a cage-free shark adventure? Lend an ear to my conversation with TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie in which we discussed serial entrepreneurship, his own pattern disruption with the Hoffman Process, a public service announcement for the psychedelically curious, the relationship dynamics of conscious uncoupling, and much more.


  • Connect with Dr. Andrew Huberman:

Website | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram


  • Why might vision be a secret to surviving 2020 — or any year, for that matter? [05:41]
  • Visual considerations for optimizing sleep quality. [15:11]
  • A simple new routine that’s been elevating my mood in the mornings, and what Andrew recommends for timing circadian biology to, as wise bards of yore have proclaimed, accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. [18:25]
  • When is the ideal time to get morning light exposure, and how can we use an understanding of our body temperature minimum to shift our circadian clock if we want to avoid jet lag and the impact of working at odd hours? [23:55]
  • Why Andrew is not a fan of melatonin as a sleep aid, and what he recommends instead. [31:03]
  • Andrew’s thoughts on taking phosphatidylserine before sleep to help blunt cortisol release, and what he uses to similar effect. [37:15]
  • The real reason why Andrew applies the term NSDR (non-sleep deep rest) to yoga nidra and a free hypnosis app called Reveri, and the value someone might find in their practice no matter what they decide to call them. [42:26]
  • What are physiological sighs, and how can we use them at any time to reduce stress without the burden of preparation other protocols demand? [47:43]
  • Andrew explains what hypnosis is and determines how susceptible to it I would be. [52:26]
  • What are some of the most practical applications of hypnosis, and do the states induced by it have any shared characteristics with those induced by psychedelics? [56:27]
  • Considering the future of beneficial brain change and the synergestic combinations that might just get us there. [1:04:06]
  • With a past that wouldn’t suggest a tenured future in academia and a penchant for fighting, what happened to Andrew on July 4th of 1994 that changed the trajectory of his life? [1:07:58]
  • Why taking a leave of absence from university isn’t the same thing as dropping out — no matter how many tech founder origin stories like to paint their subject in the glamorous, devil-may-care light of the latter rather than the pragmatic former. [1:15:02]
  • How Andrew’s “magical” childhood pivoted to one of tension, disruption, and depression almost overnight, and what he did at the time (and in many ways is still doing) to cope. [1:17:38]
  • What is the Hoffman Process, and how has it helped Andrew? [1:28:44]
  • If Hoffman was just one of four or five things that had a disproportionately positive impact on Andrew, what are some of those other things? [1:33:00]
  • On pets and mortality, canine research with rapamycin, and why any scientist gunning for a Nobel Prize might not be amiss by changing their surname to Sabatini or Kornberg. [1:37:46]
  • If you like tales of adventure, listen to Andrew talk about that time he went exit cage diving with great white sharks, a bunch of madmen in Mexico, and breathless undersea technical difficulties — for science! Then marvel at what he did to purge himself of the fear, anxiety, and trauma of the experience. [1:39:11]
  • How does Andrew define fear, and has he always been fascinated by it? [1:47:00]
  • What is turmeric’s effect on DHT? Would finasteride (Propecia) behave similarly? [1:50:15]
  • Underscoring how powerful DHT is with the phenomenon of the Dominican Republic’s guevedoce. [1:55:57]
  • Does Andrew think a compound responsible for DHT inhibition could influence the gender of a pregnant woman’s offspring? A late colleague’s story might have some answers. [1:57:44]
  • What does Andrew recommend for optimizing testoterone? [2:00:05]
  • It’s very hard to get a biological free lunch: the perils of testosterone replacement therapy and other testosterone-boosting efforts done haphazardly. [2:05:45]
  • Why messing with hormone balance can actually accelerate aging. [2:09:44]
  • Andrew’s thoughts on cognitive enhancement from the pharmacological/supplement side. [2:12:27]
  • Why yerba mate is my favorite caffeine vehicle, and a recommendation from Andrew. [2:15:09]
  • Why you might benefit from waiting 90 minutes to two hours after waking to ingest your first cup of caffeine, and what we can learn from Roland Griffiths’ excursions into the realm of caffeine research. [2:16:43]
  • Is there a way to counteract the effects of caffeine? [2:18:24]
  • What is the vagus nerve, and why is it fascinating on the fronts of physiology and psychiatry? [2:21:57]
  • What books has Andrew gifted most to other people? [2:28:43]
  • What would Andrew’s billboards say? [2:31:20]
  • Parting thoughts. [2:34:05]


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 600 million downloads. It has been selected for “Best of Apple Podcasts” three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it’s been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.