Andrew Huberman’s Light & Sun Exposure Guide

PodClips
4 min readApr 29, 2022

This is a detailed light & sun exposure guide based on protocols from Andrew Huberman’s podcast.

For further explanation & relevant source audio, tap the link.

1. View Morning Sunlight (this is EXTREMELY important)

A series of podcast clips & pull quotes from Andrew on the subject:

Viewing 2–30 Minutes of Morning Sunlight Is Essential for Mental & Physical Health

“Getting sunlight in your eyes first thing in the morning is absolutely vital to mental and physical health. It is perhaps the most important thing that any and all of us can and should do in order to promote metabolic well-being, promote the positive function of your hormone system, get your mental health steering in the right direction.”

Andrew Huberman’s Top 2 Health Tips: Early-Morning Sunlight & Optimal Sleep

“That morning sunlight in your eyes should be a non-negotiable thing 360 days out of the year.”

For Optimal Sleep, Get 2–10 Minutes of Early-Morning Sun Exposure

“The simple behavior that I do believe everybody should adopt… is to view, ideally sunlight, for 2–10 minutes every morning upon waking. So, when you get up in the morning, you really want to get bright light into your eyes because it does two things. First of all, it triggers the timed release of cortisol, a healthy level of cortisol, into your system, which acts as a wake-up signal and will promote wakefulness and the ability to focus throughout the day. It also starts a timer for the onset of melatonin.”

And no… looking at sunlight through a window doesn’t count. Here’s why (source clip):

  • “By looking at sunlight through a window, it’s 50, five zero, times less effective than if that window were to be open — mostly because those windows filter out a lot of the wavelengths of blue light that are essential for stimulating the eyes and this wake-up signal.”

How long should you stay outside? Check out the following clip from Andrew’s podcast with Dr. Samer Hattar:

2. Keep Your Workspace Well-Lit

Andrew explains in the following clip:

During Phase 1 of the Workday, Bombard Your Workspace With Overhead Light

“During phase 1 — again, within 0 to about 8 or 9 hours after waking — bright lights in your environment, in particular overhead lights, are going to facilitate focus, they’re going to facilitate further release of things like dopamine and norepinephrine and healthy amounts of cortisol.”

In this clip, Andrew states:

“There’s a lot of data to support the fact that getting as much bright light in your eyes throughout the day, provided it is not painfully bright, is excellent for your wakefulness mechanisms and even for the mechanisms of the brain and body that control metabolism and feeding, mood, and well-being.”

And if you wanna take it the extra mile…

In this segment from Andrew’s podcast with Dr. Samer Hattar, he explains how he bought a 930-lux light pad, which he keeps near his desk (and keeps on all day).

3. Watch the Sunset (or at least go outside during the late afternoon)

Why? Well…

Watching the Sunset Reduces Late-Night Light Exposure’s Adverse Effects

“Viewing light circa sunset adjusts the sensitivity of the cells in the eye such that it buffers you against some of the negative effects of light late at night. So, I call it sort of my Netflix vaccination — I can watch some late-night movie or TV or be on my screen a little bit later provided I got some sunlight right around sunset.”

Further explanation from Andrew in this clip from his episode about maximizing productivity.

4. Once the Sun Goes Down, Dim Lights & Use Tabletop Lamps

Why tabletop lamps? Andrew explains in this podcast clip:

  • “The cells that bring in the circadian clock setting information sit in the lower half of the retina that, because of the optics of the eye, view the upper visual field.”

Just how dim should your house be? Huberman Lab guest Samer Hatter keeps his home “as dark as a cave” (he explains in this clip).

5. Avoid Light from 10PM — 4AM Like the Plague

Here’s why:

Bright Light Exposure Between 10 PM & 4 AM Suppresses Dopamine

“Bright light exposure between the hours of about 10 PM and 4 AM, if it’s chronic, if you do it more than every once in a while, triggers a suppression of dopamine that leads to deficits in learning, deficits in mood, and a whole host of other problems, including a connection to the pancreas that starts dis-regulating blood sugar.”

UVB Light Exposure Between 10PM & 4AM Inhibits Next-Day Mood

“While UVB exposure in the morning and throughout the day is going to be very important for elevating and maintaining elevated mood, avoiding UVB light at night is actually a way in which we can prevent activation of this eye to perihabenular pathway that can actually turn on depression .. Avoid exposure to UVB light from artificial sources between the hours of 10 PM and 4 AM.”

For more of Andrew Huberman’s wisdom, check out this compiled list of his best podcast clips & quotes.

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