Optimize Your Brain with Science-based Tools — Episode #8 - Deepstash

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Autonomic Arousal and Biological Rhythms

Autonomic Arousal and Biological Rhythms

  • 90-minute ultradian rhythms govern alertness, energy, and sleep-wake cycles during the day. Aligning demanding work or learning with peak periods in one’s personal ultradian rhythm leads to greatest productivity.
  • Most people experience peak alertness 3 hours after waking and in early evening. Early exercise and fasting increase daytime alertness.
  • Delaying caffeine for 2 hours after waking allows natural cortisol release and adenosine suppression, preventing crashes. Evening carb-rich meals increase nighttime calm and sleepiness.


356 reads

Learning, Focus, and Creativity

  • Highly-focused, linear alert states are optimal for learning and strategy implementation. Low arousal states facilitate novel arrangements, the first phase of creativity.
  • The basal ganglia's activation of “go” and “no-go” pathways depends on arousal levels. High alertness activates “go” (pursue action) but impairs “no-go” (suppress action). Calm states allow both.
  • During peak alertness, silence and avoiding background inputs helps linear tasks. For low arousal, ambient noise may help. Creativity requires both generating new ideas (relaxed exploration) and implementing them (deliberate focus).


278 reads

Sleep, Rest, and Regeneration

  • A burst of alertness 1 hour before bed is normal. Use it for routine tasks, then rest. Thoughts during night awakenings are unreliable and incoherent. Utilize relaxation techniques to fall back asleep. 
  • Non-sleep deep rest (yoga nidra, meditation) facilitates renewal, insight, and neuroplasticity when time-limited. Combine with learning for maximum benefit. 
  • Quality and timing of sleep are as important as duration. Understand and adjust your chronotype. Light, activity, and temperature are powerful for setting circadian rhythms. Use tools to optimize sleep conditions.


237 reads


  • Individuals vary in tendencies toward high or low arousal, “go” or “no-go”. Self-awareness and experimenting with techniques that modulate arousal levels and behavior can help determine optimal times and states for activities.
  • For some, visualization enhances learning and performance. For others, mind wanders easily. Try focused visualization. Look for measurable results.
  • Creativity requires both generating new ideas and implementing them in a coherent, logical manner. Psychedelics may facilitate the former, but not the latter.


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Optimize Your Brain with Science-based Tools — Key Takeaways

  • Know your personal ultradian rhythm, chronotype, and arousal tendencies. Align activities and environments accordingly. 
  • Practice focused linear work during peak alertness and creative exploration in relaxed states. Balance both for optimal productivity and innovation.
  • Utilize biological tools to regulate arousal like light, temperature, nutrition, rest, and physical activity. They are safer and more targeted than most supplements or drugs.
  • Refine self-awareness to determine which techniques (visualization, meditation, etc.) work for your goals and tendencies. Don't assume one-size-fits-all.


222 reads



Sharing key insights from top books, podcasts, and beyond. Embrace the path of continuous learning with me.


The podcast explores avenues toward optimizing one's brain through neuroplasticity. It discusses how alertness, diet, exercise, routines, and restorative practices influence learning, productivity, and well-being. Dr. Huberman describes strategies for leveraging biology to achieve one's goals by aligning activities and environments with natural rhythms.


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