What is non-sleep deep rest? (NSDR)

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Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR) is a term coined by to describe a variety of practices that aim to promote deep mental and physical relaxation without actually sleeping. These practices include meditation, yoga nidra, and hypnosis, all of which share the goal of shifting the mind and body towards a state of deep rest. Unlike traditional sleep, these methods keep the body still and the mind alert, which can accelerate learning, promote neuroplasticity, and increase dopamine levels in specific brain areas like the striatum 1 2.

NSDR has numerous benefits, including improving sleep quality, reducing anxiety, restoring cognitive and motor function, and even helping to replenish lost sleep. It's a cost-free, non-pharmacological approach that can be done at any time of the day to enhance overall well-being and productivity 2 3.

Non-Sleep Deep Rest

Andrew discusses the benefits of non-sleep deep rest (NSDR) and how it can improve brain and body function. He explains that NSDR protocols involve deliberate and directed shifts towards deeper relaxation, such as meditation, yoga nidra, and hypnosis. Andrew highlights hypnosis as a unique NSDR tool that can be directed towards specific goals and outcomes, promoting not just deep relaxation but also accelerating plasticity and learning within the brain.

Huberman Lab

Maximizing Productivity, Physical & Mental Health with Daily Tools | Huberman Lab Podcast #28
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For those interested, there are various NSDR protocols available online, many of which are guided by . These resources can be found by searching for "Huberman NSDR" on YouTube 4 5.

RELATED QUESTIONS

how to increase productivity

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To increase productivity, and his guests provide several actionable strategies:

  1. Deep Work: Focus on deep, uninterrupted work sessions. Cal Newport suggests thinking in terms of long-term goals rather than daily tasks. This long-term mindset helps you focus on consistency and skill improvement over time 1.

  2. Minimize Distractions: One effective way to enhance focus is by eliminating distractions. recommends turning off your phone or putting it in airplane mode. Removing the phone from your workspace can significantly increase your focus and productivity 2.

  3. Workspace Optimization: Adjust your workspace to foster productivity. For detailed work, low-ceiling environments can help, while high-ceiling or open spaces are better for creative tasks. Alternating between sitting and standing can also improve posture and alertness 3 4.

    Long-Term Productivity

    Cal emphasizes the significance of focusing on long-term goals over daily tasks, advocating for deep work consistently. Andrew discusses the allure of distractions like binge-watching TV shows and suggests using competition with one's distracted self as a motivator for productivity.

    Huberman Lab

    Dr. Cal Newport: How to Enhance Focus and Improve Productivity
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  4. Cultural Shifts: Encourage a work culture that prioritizes health and well-being, including proper food intake and exercise. This cognitive revolution will lead to better productivity as the brain functions optimally when well-cared for 5.

  5. Exercise Snacks: Incorporate brief, high-intensity exercise sessions throughout the day. These "exercise snacks" can enhance energy and productivity. For example, a 20-second stair climb a few times a day can bring noticeable benefits 6.

Implementing these strategies can help you maintain high levels of productivity and improve overall work performance.

RELATED QUESTIONS

Can you explain deep work?

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Deep work is a concept developed by Cal Newport and discussed on the , which emphasizes the importance of focused, uninterrupted work sessions. It contrasts with multitasking and shallow work, aiming to produce high-quality results by minimizing distractions and maximizing mental focus.

Key Points of Deep Work:

  1. State of Concentration: Deep work involves training the mind to maintain a high level of focus on a single task for an extended period. It's about working on tasks that require significant cognitive effort and pushing beyond comfort zones to achieve meaningful progress 1.

  2. Two Modes of Creativity: There are two opposite states of mind that facilitate deep work. One involves the body being in motion, such as walking, which can inspire creative thinking without a specific outcome in mind. The other involves the body being still with the mind focused intensely on a specific task, which resembles a high state of mental engagement 2.

  3. Embrace Boredom: To aid deep work, it's beneficial to have sessions where you resist the urge for constant distraction. Allowing periods of boredom can break the habit of seeking instant gratification and help improve focus when engaging in deep work 3.

    Deep Work Insights

    Cal and Andrew discuss the distinction between deep work and flow, emphasizing the importance of focused work for learning and skill mastery. They explore how flow is more about performance rather than deliberate practice, shedding light on the practical steps towards achieving deep work.

    Huberman Lab

    Dr. Cal Newport: How to Enhance Focus and Improve Productivity
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  4. Daily Implementation: recommends starting with one 90-minute session of deep work per day and then gradually increasing it. This aligns with the understanding that deep, focused work is a cognitive exercise that requires building up stamina and capacity over time 4.

  5. Productivity Paradox: Interestingly, the ability to concentrate deeply means that fewer deep work sessions might be needed daily for effective productivity. This is akin to physical training where more intense exercises require longer recovery times, highlighting the cognitive load deep work necessitates 4.

Practical Steps:

  • Eliminate Distractions: Turn off devices and notifications to maintain concentration.
  • Structured Time: Dedicate specific periods daily for deep work, ideally starting with shorter durations and increasing as your focus capacity builds.
  • Mind Training: Practice bringing your attention back to tasks when it wanders to enhance working memory and mental efficiency during deep work sessions 1.

By following these principles, deep work can significantly enhance your productivity and help produce high-quality work.

RELATED QUESTIONS

I am currently sitting down to work and am struggling to focus. What are some immediately implementable steps that I can take for maximising my focus and productivity for the work session today?

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