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Why I’ve Been Following a Neuroscientist for the Past Week

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Holy Cross chapter.

As you all know, this past year, self-care, personal development, and “becoming the best version of myself” has become incredibly important to me in my life. There are a few factors, and reasons on why this is. As I’ve said prior, changing my environment ultimately changed my mindset for the better. Being in a community full of people who strive for success has really allowed me to understand how beneficial hard work and dedication really are, and how far they can get you. Having friends that genuinely care, inspire and motivate you to be your best self are the best kind of friends to have. For me, surrounding myself with friends who focused significantly on improving their mental health, physical health, and overall well-being, allowed me to understand how beneficial it is, especially as a college student. College can be incredibly overwhelming, and draining which is why it’s so important to focus on your well-being. Having the right support system and being in the right community has strengthened me in so many ways, especially in changing my attitude, and mindset in life. I am incredibly grateful for the people I have had and have in my life who support me, believe in me, and motivate me to become my strongest self, inside and out.

This past week, I scrolled on youtube for the first time in a while and stumbled upon what looked to be an interesting video on wellness, and health. The title read: “I Did Andrew Hubermans Routine for 1 Year *Science Based*” and me being in my wellness era, I immediately said yes and clicked on the video. I started to watch and loved the routine she had been following in order to better herself. So, I started looking into who this “Andrew Huberman” guy was, and in doing so, I found a little bit about him and his podcast. Before we get into what I want to talk about, I’ll tell you a little bit about Andrew Huberman. Getting into who he is, Andrew Huberman is an associate neurobiology professor at The Stanford School of Medicine. He attended UC Santa Barbara and received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California. He has won many awards and received high honors for his intelligence, and hard work. Other than his job as a professor, he collaborates with other incredible scientists and doctors to talk about different things on his podcast, “Huberman Lab”. If you guys have the time and are interested, I highly recommend you check his podcast out, because that is what inspired me to start this routine. After watching one of his videos called “Fasting & Circadian Health”, I was intrigued and wanted to start implementing his scientific advice, and findings into my daily life. So, for the past week and a half, I have started to do exactly that. Here is a list of the few things I have been attempting to do as often as possible in order to become this “best self” I speak of. Out of interest in article length, I’m going to be breaking what I have found, and what Huberman has said into two different articles. So, be sure to keep an eye out for the second article to find out more!

Cold Showers. So, for the past week, I’ve been taking as cold of a shower as I feel I can handle. Huberman speaks on the benefits of cold showers, and how good they can be for your health, and for a good night’s sleep. Huberman says to get at least 11 minutes of a cold shower two-three times a week. He says that cold showers are beneficial for a few reasons:

  1. Improves alertness and energy. Huberman states that cold showers will instantly cause the flight or fight response in one’s parasympathetic nervous system to go off, inevitably causing one to become much more alert. Cold showers, being as cold as they are, especially in the morning, can also boost one’s energy if they are tired and sluggish.
  2. Improves Immunity. Huberman states that one’s body will more easily fight off an infection or disease with cold showers. The reason for this is that the coldness of the shower encourages more white blood cells to produce in your body.
  3. Reduces Inflammation. Huberman says that people with arthritis, soreness, and muscle aches should take cold showers, or baths because it will reduce the amount of inflammation in their bodies.
  4. Improves Mental Health. The release of endorphins that are stimulated in one’s body when taking a cold shower is shown to improve mood and happiness.

For me, the cold showers have been doing all of these things he says it should be. The cold showers allow me to become incredibly strong mentally, and allow me to focus on my breath and the mind-body connection. Nobody wants to get in a cold shower, especially when first waking up, but it does improve my alertness and energy. This week, although I had a lot of work to do, I seemed to be more focused on my tasks, and not get as distracted. I genuinely believe that the cold showers have helped with this. I also have arthritis in my knees, and so far, I haven’t had any pain or soreness this week.

Caffeine Delay. As we know, and as Huberman has stated, caffeine is an unnatural way of producing alertness, and energy. Based on the scientific evidence, I was convinced on implementing this “caffeine delay” into my routine. Huberman states that delaying one’s consumption of caffeine by 90-120 minutes after waking up can be incredibly beneficial for a number of reasons. The benefits are as stated:

  1. Caffeine first thing in the morning isn’t the best for you. It’s better to start out drinking water, or lemon water in the morning. This allows your body to naturally wake up, and produce its own alertness and energy. Huberman says that delaying coffee or any kind of caffeine in the morning can ultimately lead to a higher amount of energy later on in the day.
  2. Caffeine can interfere with sleep, as we all know it to be an energy booster. If you drink caffeine too late in the day, you’ll have more difficulty falling asleep. This is why caffeine shouldn’t be consumed later in the day, as half of the caffeine you consumed lasts in your body for 5-6 hours. This means that if you were to drink a cup of coffee or caffeinated tea around 5 pm, around 10-11 pm half of the caffeine you consumed in your body still exists.
  3. We all know, as with anything, that the more you do something, the more used to or the more “tolerate” your body becomes to it. This happens with caffeine. Similarly to people who smoke cigarettes, after long periods of time consistently smoking cigarettes, it becomes more of a habit than for the calmness it produces. In reference to caffeine, drinking it consistently over and over again will cause you to become tolerant of it. Huberman says that caffeine delay can reduce not only the habit of coffee in the morning but your chances of becoming tolerant to the caffeine’s effects.
  4. The caffeine crash is something everyone hates. The reason for the crash is that caffeine when consumed on an empty stomach (immediately after waking up) can lead to a spike in one’s blood sugar. The caffeine delay can help to prevent the caffeine crash from happening, as you’re more likely to have eaten something 90-120 minutes after waking up.

The caffeine delay has been helping me a lot, not only do I feel better not consuming caffeine right away, but I feel like I am taking better care of myself, and my body. I haven’t experienced the caffeine crash at all, which I typically do when drinking caffeine prior to 90-120 minutes. The caffeine delay allows my body to naturally wake up on its own, and then produce the “artificial” alertness later in the day. Drinking caffeine has become habitual for me, and in delaying my consumption for 90 minutes, I actually tend to forget about drinking it. Not drinking any caffeinated drinks too late in the day has improved my sleep, and has allowed me to become more sleepy at night than usual.

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Averie Yesair

Holy Cross '24

Hi! My name is Averie Yesair, and I'm from Newbury, MA. I'm a senior English major and creative writing minor. I enjoy listening to Emma Chamberlain, Andrew Huberman, and Steven Barlett's podcasts. A few things I love other than my family and friends are chipotle, chai tea lattes, my jeep, wakeboarding, sunsets, fishing and hanging with my dog Winston. I'm a huge homebody, and love spending nights in watching Cody Ko and Suits or rewatching New Girl.