What is non-sleep deep rest? (NSDR)


The concept of Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR) encompasses various practices that induce a state of relaxation without the individual necessarily falling asleep. NSDR protocols include yoga nidra, various forms of meditation, and hypnosis. These practices are aimed towards reaching a state of deep relaxation which can benefit brain and body function, aid in learning, and assist in stress reduction and recovery of sleep. NSDR can also enhance plasticity and retention of information, making it a powerful tool for individuals engaging in learning activities 1.

Andrew Huberman
developed the term as a more approachable language for these practices to remove any barriers or misconceptions that might prevent people from benefiting from them. Despite their different historical backgrounds and names such as Yoga Nidra or clinical hypnosis, the core goal of NSDR practices is to provide a cost-free, non-pharmacological method to improve mental health, learning rates, and physical well-being 2.

Dr. Huberman
also makes a distinction that NSDR, while similar to practices like yoga nidra, does not incorporate intentions or mystical components and focuses on the science-backed aspects of the practice. This was done with the aim to make NSDR more generic and accessible to a wider audience 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.

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For practical application, individuals can use NSDR protocols such as the one available on YouTube that has created. This protocol is designed to bring the listener into a state of deep relaxation through a combination of techniques such as long exhale breathing and is mentioned as a useful resource for recovery and performance enhancement 4.