< Nota - Show Notes for Huberman Lab - Episode: How to Breathe Correctly for Optimal Health, Mood, Learning & Performance
View notes for Podcast: Huberman Lab
Feb 20, 2023

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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(00:00:00) Breathing
(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?
(01:08:26) InsideTracker
(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

Effects of voluntary hyperventilation on cortical sensory responses Electroencephalographic and magnetoencephalographic studies

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.
Cell Reports Medicine

Brief structured respiration practices enhance mood and reduce physiological arousal

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 Rhythm and Pattern and Their Influence on Emotion

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...

Neural Network Newsletter

More than 100,000 people have joined the Neural Network-the official newsletter of the Huberman Lab. Enter your email and get the latest in neuroscience, health, and science-related tools from Dr. Andrew Huberman.

Jaws: The Story of a Hidden Epidemic

There's a silent epidemic in western civilization, and it is right under our noses. Our jaws are getting smaller and our teeth crooked and crowded...
Journal of Neuroscience

Nasal Respiration Entrains Human Limbic Oscillations and Modulates Cognitive Function

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.

Effect of breathwork on stress and mental health: A meta-analysis of randomised-controlled trials

Deliberate control of the breath (breathwork) has recently received an unprecedented surge in public interest and breathing techniques have therapeutic potential to improve mental health.

Official Episode Page

Access additional podcast show notes and related content from this episode at humbermanlab.com.