Good quality sleep is critical to maintaining optimal health and wellness. If you're not sleeping well, it can impact basic functions such as thinking, learning, working, reacting, responding, and even managing your emotions. Over the long term, lack of sleep can potentially create an environment for chronic health conditions. If you're looking for solutions to sleep deprivation that aren't based on drug interventions and don't cause addiction, the Andrew Huberman Sleep Cocktail could be worth checking out.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this trending sleep cocktail. But first, a little background on the formulator.
Who is Andrew Huberman, and How Credible Is He?
Andrew Huberman, Ph.D. in Neuroscience, is an American neuroscientist and tenured associate professor in the department of neurobiology and psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the Standford University School of Medicine located in Stanford, California. He is recognized for his research contributions and findings in the areas of brain development, brain plasticity, neural regeneration, and repair fields.
He is best known for heading the eponymously titled Huberman Lab, which delves deeply into the research and experimentation of topics related to subject matter expertise. Some of the pioneering work developed in the Lab has already been featured in several reputable science publications and journals. He is also the popular host of the Huberman Lab Podcast, which is broadcast worldwide and is consistently ranked among the most popular podcasts for brain health, science, and mental performance.
Given his impressive credentials, Huberman is seen as a respectable, reputable, and authoritative source of information on all things neuroscience.
For his work, Huberman has received the following awards and accolades:
- McKnight Foundation Scholar (Fellowship)
- Pew Biomedical Scholar (Fellowship)
- 2016 Catalyst for a Cure Team Member
- 2017 ARVO Cogan Award for Contributions to Vision Science and Ophthalmology
To learn more about Huberman and his work, refer to the following online resources:
- The Huberman Lab website
- The Huberman Lab Podcast on Apple
- The Huberman Lab Podcast on Google
- The Huberman Lab Podcast on Spotify
- Andrew Huberman’s YouTube channel
What Is the Andrew Huberman Sleep Cocktail?
Before we dive into the details of it - check out our quick unboxing video of the sleep bundle and get a look at what's inside.
The Andrew Huberman Sleep Cocktail isn't a drink in the traditional sense of the word, and you can't order it at a bar. What it is, is a mix of supplements, or supplement stack, if you will, and a routine that helps aid sleep.
Huberman's recommendation for the supplement mix is as follows:
- 200 to 400mg of Magnesium Threonate or Glycinate — These are to be taken two to three hours before you go to sleep.
- 200 to 400mg of Theanine
- 50mg of Apigenin
- 2mg of Glycin — To be taken every 3rd or 4th night
- 100mg of GABA — To be taken every 3rd or 4th night
We'll cover more about these supplements and how they work in the next section. But before you hop on over to your nearest supplement store, take note of these precautions.
- A small percentage (~5%) of people can have stomach issues with Magnesium Threonate, so Huberman recommends that you exercise care when consuming this supplement. In ordinary mortal speak, it means that you should avoid the supplement if it agitates your stomach.
- Theanine is not recommended for people who have night terrors or sleepwalks. It functions like a nootropic and "takes the edge off" of caffeine. Nootropics incidentally are drugs that help to enhance your mental function.
- You can find Apigenin in many vegetables, herbs, and spices, but it is recommended you source it from chamomile.
Huberman suggests you start with one supplement and then add more at a time, as needed. He also suggests you don't use this as a one-size fits all cocktail and recommends you determine what works the best for you.
Huberman also recommends the following pre-sleep time routine:
- Avoid consuming caffeine after 2 p.m
- Sleep in a cold room. The body needs to drop its internal temperature by 1 to 3 degrees to achieve the sleep state.
- Eat carbs for dinner as that helps release serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that helps produce the hormone melatonin – the hormone that regulates your sleep and awake cycles. Opt for salad and meat for lunch instead.
- Avoid taking melatonin supplements.
- Send visual signals to your brain to signify sleep time and wake-up time. So head outdoors within 30 minutes of waking up and view sunlight for 2 to 10 minutes. View the sun again just as it's setting to signal unwinding time to your body.
Bear in mind Huberman explicitly states that this does not constitute medical advice, and you should check back with your physician or nutritionist before you start this or any other form of dietary supplementation, especially if you already have health conditions.
How do Magnesium Threonate, Theanine, and Apigenin Benefit as Sleep Supplements?
Magnesium acts on the chemicals that send messages between the nerve cells in your brain and body, which can directly affect your sleep. Magnesium Threonate is a supplement that contains the L-Threonate form of Magnesium which more readily crosses the blood-brain barrier.
Theanine is an amino acid (organic compound) that supports relaxation. Aside from aiding sleep, it also helps relieve stress and anxiety. Apigenin, a plant compound, has several therapeutic benefits, but in relation to sleep, it is seen to induce muscle relaxation and sedation depending on the dosage.
Glycine is another amino acid that has the effect of lowering your body temperature, helping you fall asleep while having a calming effect on your brain. GABA, or Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, is a chemical messenger in the brain that helps slow brain function, thereby reducing stress and anxiety and improving sleep.
Why Should You Avoid Melatonin in Your Sleep Cocktail?
Huberman recommends you avoid taking melatonin supplements altogether for several reasons. According to him, melatonin doesn't contribute significantly to helping you sleep. Consuming melatonin can have the benefit of increasing sleep just by 4 minutes, based on existing research. Also, the amount of melatonin found in supplements may be significantly higher than what your body would naturally produce. Finally, there is also evidence to suggest that melatonin may suppress puberty development.
Instead, rely on the melatonin your body naturally produces. It tends to rise just as the sun starts to set and hits peak levels at sleep. Dimming your lights can help trigger melatonin naturally to prepare you for sleep.
Is the Sleep Cocktail Addictive?
Andrew Huberman's Sleep Cocktail is non-addictive. Make sure to stick to the recommended doses and follow the suggested sleep routines for the best results.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How many hours of sleep does Huberman recommend?
Huberman goes into more detail on how the number of hours of sleep you require can depend on various factors in this Podclip. The amount of sleep you need can be very individualized. In general, for about 95% of the people, he recommends seeing six, seven, or eight hours of sleep as your slumber goal.
Can you take L-theanine and Magnesium together?
L-theanine and Magnesium can be taken together. Although, Huberman recommends you start with one supplement before adding another and then another.
Does the Andrew Huberman Sleep Cocktail work?
Early reviews indicate that the Sleep Cocktail works. However, some people may want to see more reviews before they decide to go all in. The good news is the cocktail is not addictive.
Why do we get sleepy?
We get sleepy due to the build-up of adenosine, a chemical that accumulates in the brain over time and promotes sleep. Adenosine levels decrease during sleep, allowing the body to feel more alert upon waking up.
Understanding the importance of good sleep, Andrew Huberman has developed his Sleep Cocktail to ensure that users can achieve better quality sleep without relying on synthetic drugs or becoming addicted.
The cocktail works best when it's used in combination with other healthy lifestyle practices like exercising, developing a regular bedtime routine, and getting regular exposure to sunlight.
Ultimately, it comes down to listening to your body, assessing your symptoms, and adjusting your approach for optimal health. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing insomnia, this Sleep Cocktail could be beneficial for those looking for a safe and natural option for improving their sleep health.