How to Breathe Correctly for Optimal Health, Mood, Learning & Performance
In this episode, I explain the biology of breathing (respiration), how it delivers oxygen and carbon dioxide to the cells and tissues of the body and how is best to breathe—nose versus mouth, fast versus slow, deliberately versus reflexively, etc., depending on your health and performance needs. I discuss the positive benefits of breathing properly for mood, to reduce psychological and physiological stress, to halt sleep apnea, and improve facial aesthetics and immune system function. I also compare what is known about the effects and effectiveness of different breathing techniques, including physiological sighs, box breathing and cyclic hyperventilation, “Wim Hof Method,” Prānāyāma yogic breathing and more. I also describe how to breath to optimize learning, memory and reaction time and I explain breathing at high altitudes, why “overbreathing” is bad, and how to breathe specifically to relieve cramps and hiccups. Breathwork practices are zero-cost and require minimal time yet provide a unique and powerful avenue to improve overall quality of life that is grounded in clear physiology. Anyone interesting in improving their mental and physical health or performance in any endeavor ought to benefit from the information and tools in this episode.
For the full show notes, visit hubermanlab.com.
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(00:05:41) Sponsors: HVMN, Thesis, WHOOP
(00:09:36) Respiration, Oxygen & Carbon Dioxide
(00:18:18) Breathing Mechanics
(00:30:08) AG1 (Athletic Greens)
(00:31:23) Chemistry of Breathing, Hyperventilation
(00:40:35) High Altitudes, Oxygen & Breathing
(00:47:16) Tool: Sleep Apnea, Nasal Breathing
(00:51:50) Brain Centers & Breathing Rhythm
(00:57:23) Brain, Hyperventilation & “Over-breathing”
(01:03:53) What is Healthy Breathing?
(01:09:44) Tool: Train Healthy Breathing, Carbon Dioxide Tolerance Test & Box Breathing
(01:22:39) Tool: Breathwork & Stress Reduction; Cyclic Sighing
(01:33:56) Tool: Physiological Sighing & Exercise Side Cramp
(01:39:16) Breathing & Heart Rate Variability
(01:46:21) Tool: How to Stop Hiccups
(01:51:17) Tool: Stress Management & Cyclic Hyperventilation, “Wim Hof Method”
(01:57:11) Deliberate Cold Exposure & Breathing
(01:59:54) Tool: Inhales & Learning; Exhales & Movement
(02:09:15) Mouth vs. Nasal Breathing, Aesthetics
(02:16:19) Zero-Cost Support, Spotify & Apple Reviews, YouTube Feedback, Sponsors, Momentous, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter
Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac
It is well established that voluntary hyperventilation (HV) slows down electroencephalographic (EEG) rhythms. Little information is available, however, on the effects of HV on cortical responses elicited by sensory stimulation.
In a remotely conducted randomized controlled trial, Yilmaz Balban et al. study the psychophysiological effects of controlled breathwork compared with mindfulness meditation. Breathwork produces greater improvement in mood and reduction in respiratory rate, while both result in reduction in negative emotion including state anxiety.
Breathing is a vital rhythmic motor behavior with a surprisingly broad influence on the brain and body. The apparent simplicity of breathing belies a complex neural control system, the breathing central pattern generator (bCPG), that...
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The need to breathe links the mammalian olfactory system inextricably to the respiratory rhythms that draw air through the nose. In rodents and other small animals, slow oscillations of local field potential activity are driven at the rate of breathing (∼2-12 Hz) in olfactory bulb and cortex, and faster oscillatory bursts are coupled to specific phases of the respiratory cycle.