Try our free NSDR tracks
✨Listen

Andrew Huberman on Cold Showers

TLDR: Cold showers and cold plunges offer numerous benefits for mental and physical health, as explained by Dr. Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist at Stanford University. Cold exposure can increase brown fat density, boost metabolism, enhance insulin management, improve mental resilience, and increase dopamine levels. To reap these benefits, aim for 11 minutes of uncomfortable cold per week, divided into several sessions, while prioritizing safety.

Dr. Andrew Huberman, a renowned neuroscientist and tenured Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at Stanford University, has made significant contributions to our understanding of the impact of cold showers and cold plunges on mental and physical health. In his research, he explains the science behind this practice and explores its numerous benefits.

The body's ability to maintain its core internal temperature, known as thermoregulation, plays a crucial role in our health. Brown fat, a type of body fat that acts as a furnace for our metabolism, is a key component of this process. Unlike typical white fat associated with weight gain, brown fat is beneficial, rich in mitochondria, and primarily located around the clavicles, upper back, and heart.

Cold exposure, such as taking a cold shower or a cold plunge, can increase the density of brown fat. This means that the mitochondria in the brown fat become more concentrated, allowing it to burn hotter and longer, similar to the oil in a candle. As a result, this process can lead to improvements in resting metabolism and insulin management.

To reap the benefits of cold exposure, Dr. Huberman recommends getting uncomfortably cold for about 11 minutes per week. This can be achieved through various methods, including cold showers, ice baths, or even walking outside in cold weather with minimal clothing. However, it is essential to ensure safety and avoid dangerously cold temperatures.

Snowy landscape with a stream

The benefits of cold showers and cold plunges extend beyond physical health, as they can also boost mental resilience. By forcing yourself to stay in a cold environment, you exercise top-down control and override your natural desire to seek comfort, helping to build mental resilience. Additionally, cold exposure leads to a significant increase in dopamine levels, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and reward, leaving you feeling mentally clear and alert for several hours.

Moreover, cold exposure can enhance metabolism and fat loss. When you shiver, your muscles release a molecule called succinate, which activates the brown fat, leading to an increase in metabolism. This process can aid in weight management and overall health.

In conclusion, cold showers and cold plunges, as explained by Dr. Andrew Huberman, offer a host of benefits for mental and physical well-being. By incorporating deliberate cold exposure into your routine, you can tap into these benefits and potentially improve your overall health. However, it is crucial to prioritize safety and listen to your body's signals.

After delving into the benefits of cold exposure, consider exploring the warmth of saunas and how they can be used in conjunction with a cold plunge for maximum benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long should a cold shower or cold plunge last?
Dr. Huberman recommends getting uncomfortably cold for about 11 minutes per week, divided into several sessions. Even turning on the cold tap for the last couple of minutes of your shower can be extremely beneficial.

2. How cold should the water be for a cold shower or plunge?
The water should be cold enough to make you feel uncomfortable but not so cold that it's dangerous. Always prioritize safety.

3. Can I get the same benefits from a cold environment as I can from a cold shower?
Yes, any form of cold exposure, whether it's a cold shower, a cold plunge, or being in a cold environment, can provide the same benefits.

4. What are the safety considerations for cold showers and plunges?
Avoid dangerously cold temperatures and always listen to your body. If you start to feel too uncomfortable or show signs of hypothermia, warm up immediately.

5. How does cold exposure affect metabolism and fat loss?
Cold exposure can increase the density of brown fat in your body, which in turn can enhance your metabolism and aid in fat loss. When you shiver, your muscles release a molecule called succinate, which activates the brown fat, leading to an increase in metabolism.