What is non-sleep deep rest? (NSDR)


Non-sleep deep rest (NSDR) is a term created by to encompass various protocols that promote better brain and body function through a deliberate and directed shift toward a state of deeper relaxation without sleeping. This can include practices like meditation, yoga nidra, and hypnosis. NSDR protocols are used for various benefits, such as reducing anxiety, supporting physical and mental performance, accelerating learning and plasticity within the brain, and enhancing overall well-being 1 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

Hypnosis, in particular, has been highlighted as a NSDR protocol with a strong scientific backing that can be directed toward specific goals and outcomes. It not only induces deep relaxation but also has been shown to accelerate brain plasticity and learning 1. NSDR can also help to recover some of the sleep that might be lost at night and to restore dopamine levels in parts of the brain involved in motivation and cognitive control 3.

Additionally, has mentioned that NSDR has been found to increase dopamine levels in the striatum by up to 60%, which could be beneficial for cognitive vigor and potentially even accelerate neuroplasticity and learning, according to a study out of Scandinavia 4. NSDR practices such as yoga nidra, while similar to sleep, keep the mind alert and are helpful in resetting the brain’s engagement with the world, supporting focus and planning 5.

For those interested in trying NSDR, there are zero-cost protocols available online, including a script on YouTube that can be found by searching "Huberman NSDR" 3.