- Huberman hydrates with water and sea salt upon waking, avoiding caffeine immediately.
- He exposes himself to sunlight to regulate his circadian rhythm.
- Recommends 120-180 minutes of Zone 2 cardio weekly for overall health and brain function.
- Incorporates Yoga Nidra for mental well-being and improved focus.
- Uses cold showers or ice baths to increase brown fat and metabolism.
- Practices intermittent fasting, and skipping breakfast for health benefits.
- Emphasizes the quality of diet and exercise in his routine.
- Routine accessible and adaptable for anyone to improve productivity and well-being.
A consistent morning routine that helps you feel energized, fresh, and alert is critical to enhancing your productivity and well-being for the rest of the day. And when it comes to optimizing brain function for increased human performance, few names stand out as prominently in the scientific community as Dr. Andrew Huberman.
As a recognized neuroscientist, a teaching professor at Stanford University, and a brain health influencer, Huberman has been making tremendous headway in providing content that's easily accessible and understandable for the average person. On a personal note, Huberman has developed consistent habits and routines that have enabled him to function at his best throughout the day, every day, particularly his morning routine, which has captured increasing attention simply because of how effective it is.
In this article, we summarize Huberman's battle-tested morning ritual from start to finish. We'll also share the benefits of each part of his routine so you know exactly how you stand to gain from it.
How Andrew Huberman Optimizes His Morning Routine
1. Hydrate (but wait before you grab that coffee!)
The first thing Huberman does after waking up "around" 06:30 a.m. every morning and using the restroom is to hydrate. He typically drinks water with a dash of sea salt, not caffeine. According to Huberman, water and sea salt have an "interesting relationship." Salt may help increase your blood volume, potentially leading to more blood flowing to your brain and regulating body temperature due to the extra sodium. Occasionally, he also drinks a greens supplement (namely, Athletic Greens AG1)
Read our in-depth guide on the top benefits of greens powder backed by science for more information on why drinking greens is good for you.
So, why not caffeine?
Huberman refers to caffeine as an adenosine antagonist, which can disrupt your natural sleep cycle. That sounds complicated but suffice it to say, delaying caffeine to about 90 to 120 minutes after waking is a better option for you. It helps prevent that mid-morning crash and slump. In very simplistic terms, adenosine is a chemical involved with putting the nervous system to sleep. Its levels keep rising the longer you're staying up after bedtime which is why you feel sleepier with each passing hour.
As you're slowly waking up your adenosine is starting to clear out. When you drink coffee, the caffeine interferes with this process. So once, your caffeine rush wears out afterwards, you would still have some adenosine left uncleared which contributes to that mid-morning sensation of drowsiness.
Also, from Dr Huberman - For every "one volume" of coffee you drink, consume another two volumes of water to prevent sodium depletion. The salt that you're adding to your water can help you mitigate the impact.
2. Correct Your Circadian Rhythm with Sunlight
The "Circadian rhythm" is like an internal, biological body clock that influences your body processes during a 24-hour cycle. The darkness and the amount of light you're exposed to, and the timing of this exposure, can influence how your body clock functions. Light, particularly blue light from the morning sun, can signal the start of the day to your brain, activating neurons that need to get their A-game on. Darkness can signal time to shut down and focus on other processes best carried out when we're asleep, such as repair and recovery.
Having an irregular sleep schedule, plus spending evening/night hours at home in bright lights, can throw your circadian rhythm out of whack. And when your body clock isn't regular, it can impact how well your body carries out its core functions.
Your body helps you feel hungry when you're awake, so you know it's time to stock up on nutrition. Your hormone production is also optimized to break down and use the food during the day. Delay your sleep patterns, and your body has a harder time managing your hunger schedule and preventing fat accumulation because your hormones aren't working the way they should.
Getting out in the morning consistently every day for sunlight exposure helps you reset your circadian rhythm. Your body knows it's time to wake up when the natural light hits your eyes.
3. Move Your Body
Huberman recommends you get 120 to 150 minutes or even 150 to 180 minutes of Zone 2 cardio a week. GQ refers to Zone 2 cardio as "the lowest intensity heart rate zone that can still be considered exercise – imagine going for a jog while still being able to hold a conversation with your running buddy."
There are many potential benefits to cardiovascular exercise, particularly for heart health. Heart Research Australia says it "lowers the risk of heart disease, including stroke." It can also "improve the efficiency of the heart muscle and blood circulation."
Aside from keeping your heart happy, regular cardiovascular exercise improves overall health and wellbeing by helping you:
- Maintain a healthy weight and keep excess pounds at bay.
- Increase your stamina, endurance, and overall fitness level.
- Strengthen your immunity against illnesses.
- Reduce your risk of other chronic medical conditions like Type II Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and certain types of cancer.
- Boost your mood.
- Increase your lifespan.
- Keep your mind sharp as you age.
Huberman prefers to switch things up with a combination of cardio and resistance or weight training workouts throughout the week with one day of rest.
In a podcast episode with RESPIRE, Huberman said, [it] was actually tuning up and making your neural circuits meant for focus and attention better. According to him, exercise is " a holy part of my morning as holy as the sunlight viewing and it's something that's very hard to build in. But, I actually schedule it just like I would a Zoom Cal. But, if I can do all those things and then get that 90-minute workout and then eat my lunch, I feel the system is set to make the rest of the day better.
Huberman also recognizes the importance of relaxation and mental well-being in fitness. He highlights Yoga Nidra's benefits, a meditative practice replenishing dopamine levels, reducing cortisol, and decreasing total sleep need. This practice proves beneficial for those not waking up fully rested or struggling with sleep. Yoga Nidra meditations enhance neurotransmitter activity in the brain, including dopamine, preparing for action and improving focus and attention, akin to physical exercise.
4. Cold Shower
According to Huberman, having ice baths or cold showers may help increase the amount of healthy brown fat in your body. This brown fat is rich in mitochondria, functioning as a furnace for your metabolism and helping you stay warm in cold temperatures. It's a deep tissue fat you find "enriched around the clavicles, upper back, around the heart, and a little bit around the liver."
In a podcast with Simon Hill, Huberman referenced research showing that 11 minutes a week of cold exposure divided into a couple of sessions of two to three minutes each increases the density of brown fat in adults, allowing them to feel more comfortable in cold temperatures. Cold exposure showed benefits in terms of increasing the core resting metabolism rate, improvements in blood lipid and insulin management profiles, and several other positive effects as well.
5. Skip Breakfast (Intermittent Fasting)
Huberman skips breakfast and has lunch as his first meal for the day. He's a proponent of intermittent fasting and has followed the protocol for over a decade. He fasts from 12 to 16 hours for every 24-hour cycle. Lunch invariably is a low-carb meal - "usually some steak or ground beef, some Brazil nuts, and a vegetable,"
Huberman goes into great detail on the impact of fasting and time-restricted eating on fat loss and health in his YouTube channel.
But here's a quick overview of what you need to know:
- Intermittent fasting may help increase verbal memory in adults, as it influences the release of molecules like epinephrine.
- It helps optimize your blood pressure, resting heart rates, and other heart-related metrics, and aids in relaxation.
- It helps boost fat loss without compromising muscle mass.
- Early research shows that intermittent fasting can help reduce the symptoms associated with Type 2 Diabetes.
- Early research also suggests that intermittent fasting may help reduce tissue damage post-surgery and improve the results.
But the key isn't about how much you eat but rather the quality of what you're eating. According to Professor Luigi Fontana, the Leonard P. Ullman Chair in Translational Metabolic Health at the University of Sydney, "While intermittent fasting clearly is a powerful instrument to lose weight, the quality of diet during non-fasting days and the amount of exercise people get are crucial factors in maintaining or improving health and wellbeing. If you want to experience the full benefits of weight loss, it’s not just about the quantities of calories you ingest or when, but what nutrients they come with.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Andrew Huberman and His Morning Routine
Q1. What is Andrew Huberman's morning routine?
Typically Andrew Huberman wakes up early in the day "around" 06:30 a.m. After he goes to the restroom, the first thing he does is drink water with a little bit of sea salt in it (learn why adding salt is great for you by scrolling further up in the article). He then heads on over to the great outdoors for natural sunlight exposure. Once he's done with that, he gets back home for a workout followed by a cold shower. He typically skips breakfast, opting for lunch as his first meal of the day.
Q2. Does Andrew Huberman work out in the morning?
Andrew Huberman does work out in the morning. He combines cardio and strength or resistance training workouts several times a week. He has one day of rest. Huberman recommends you incorporate 120 to 150 minutes or even 150 to 180 minutes of Zone 2 cardio exercise weekly.
Q3. How many hours does Andrew Huberman sleep?
Andrew Huberman aims to sleep between 10 and 11 p.m. and wakes up around 06:00 or 06:30 a.m., clocking in about 8 hours of sleep daily. Sleep, according to Huberman, "is the best nootropic, stress reliever, immune booster, and emotional stabilizer, among other benefits." Incidentally, while we're on the subject of sleep, also check out Huberman's Sleep Cocktail, a unique mix of supplements that will help you get to sleep faster and sleep better.
Andrew Huberman's morning routine is a simple blueprint for optimizing your morning routine that anyone can learn from. What makes this routine particularly engaging is that it's accessible to all of us. You don't need to be a neuroscientist to reap the benefits of his morning rituals. You can just as easily start with one small change before gradually building all the changes into your routine.