30 Amazing Sleep Biohacks
The Definitive Guide
To Biohacking Your Sleep
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The Complete Sleep Resource
35% Of People Lack Sleep
You Are Not Alone
If you've woken up from your sleep feeling like you need another 8 hours then this is the guide for you.
Sleep & your health
Most people just don't realize how important good quality sleep is to their health. Maybe if people knew how much a lack of sleep can damage their immune system, they might think twice about burning the candle at both ends.
It all seems so simple
Realistically, everybody knows how to get to sleep right? Just hop in bed, lie down, and "viola". If only it were that simple, hence the need for this very article.
So, Now What?
What's The Next Move?
You need rest, now!
What we all need to know is what we can do to make the process happen a little faster and how to get a good night of sleep that leaves us rested and genuinely recovered.
Everything you need is in this guide
We've compiled the very best sleep hacks that can show you how to sleep better by looking at what the science has to say about sleeping using the best methods possible.
Time to get started
Let's look at all the factors that come into play and how we can adjust things to sleep a little easier and finally get the refreshing rest that only sleeping well can give.
Before You Start Biohacking Your Sleep
How Many Hours Of Sleep Do You Need?
Everyone is different
We frequently hear experts telling us we need 8 hours of sleep but the truth is this varies a lot depending on several factors.
As you age your body creates less melatonin and this means you don't seem to need as much sleep. Or at least you don't get sleep as long, as easy as you may have used to.
That's only the perception, it isn't to say that a person's sleep requirements are necessarily less because of their age, but generally that is the case.
A Growing Body Needs More Sleep
8 hours isn't going to be enough for a baby and try getting a teenager out of bed on only eight hours of sleep.
It's still different, though
It really is different for every individual because not every person of the same age requires the same amount of time sleeping either.
Generally though, if you're still in the growth phase then you'll most like need to sleep a bit longer than a fully developed adult.
Active People Need More Sleep
A Small Price To Pay
How you live determines a lot
Someone with an active lifestyle may need more sleep to recover, especially bodybuilders and resistance training athletes.
When muscle tissue is broken down because of resistance training, the body will likely require more sleep than usual in order to recover and repair.
Without adequate rest and recovery, the exercise efforts of active people might be in vain as it can actually compromise the immune system.
Sick People Need More Sleep
Resting & Repairing
Sickness taxes your body
Someone who is sick could require a lot more sleep as their immune system is fighting infection much like someone with large external wounds who will also need a lot of time recuperating.
Sickness taxes your body Some self-evaluation is required
Rather than aiming for 8 hours, which is the bare minimum, you should aim to see how you feel after waking and either improve sleep quality or duration accordingly.
How Much Sleep Is Needed For Optimal Health?
The Magic Number
How much is enough?
7-8 is the general minimum, so realistically it's not enough a lot of the time.
Your bedtime discipline matters
Aim for more if you're tired too often. If you're sick, pretty active or a growing child/adolescent, you'll need a bit more than 7-8 hours of sleep.
The Big Question...
How Important Is Sleep?
Just How Important Is Sleep Really?
In One Word: VERY!
More than a lot of people realize
The thing about sleep is, most people really do pay little attention to it. Most people's focus is on their day. Work, play, and eating always seem to take center-stage.
Your sleeping pattern matters
We all know we need enough to get by, but the amount of people who actually maintain a tight schedule specifically for their sleeping patterns is very low.
Control what you can
Sure life is full of surprises and many of them will keep you up and reinvent your schedule for you, but most days we have the opportunity to turn off the TV a little early and get straight to bed... But we don't and we probably should.
Let's look at what a lack of sleep can do to your health...
Sleep Deprivation Effects
They're Real & Shocking
Lack Of Sleep Can Be Fatal
Did that get your attention?
Well, lack of sleep can lead to early death and studies show people who get more sleep live longer and those who don't get enough sleep may find themselves facing eternal slumber earlier.
Lack of sleep is so serious it can be deadly
This all correlates with the way lack of sleep affects health, recovery, and general well-being, of course, so though death is a bit hyperbolic, it's still true to a degree.
Serious Temperament Changes
Your mood and serotonin
Serotonin affects your ability to focus and makes you drowsy. Lack of sleep can sometimes lead to irritability and high cortisol levels, hunger, and disruptions in mood.
Sleep affects your disciplinary discretion
The discipline you have when well-rested may be very different from when you are extremely tired meaning your choices can be impaired which could mean you're possibly going to make some regretful decisions.
Grumpy & tired
We've all been snapped at by a tired relative, maybe you've even been a bit of a grouch yourself?
Increased Fat Storage
Hormonal stress & your body
Cortisol levels increase when you're lacking sleep and this can be very bad for your diet.
People who are overtired have increased hunger and make poor food choices that may lead to weight gain.
Extra fat storage
In addition to increased hunger and the concomitant overeating that can happen, the hormone cortisol itself promotes fat storage and that's the last thing most people want. (1)
Precious Metabolic Loss
For all you hard trainers out there, this is the real nightmare. Lack of sleep often leads to decreases in muscle mass and is especially bad for those trying to recover from weight training workouts.
Your muscle mass is the core of your metabolism
Muscle is precious and sleep helps you recover and grow your biggest metabolic asset.
A good night's sleep relieves those muscle-destroying hormones that may catabolize muscle proteins and undo so much hard work in the gym.
There's a reason many athletes put as much effort into sleep as their training
Most athletes know how to get a good night of sleep because they understand it is of equal importance to diet and exercise.
Some have to learn that mistake the hard way, though.
When your concentration suffers
Your job, relationship, and even intellectual aptitude can be affected by not having sufficient sleep.
As focus declines
Working can be hard when you burn the candle at both ends, but for those who work in technical jobs, the inability to concentrate is dire if you don't know how to get to sleep and rest efficiently.
As you can see, the importance of sleep is not something to be taken lightly.
So, How Important Is Sleep To Your Average Person?
It's extremely crucial for good health
Without enough, you can lose focus, gain weight, lose muscle, make poor choices, and be in a cranky mood.
For more info:
I suggest you read the article below to see even more dangers of living a life with inadequate sleep.
The above article highlights just why getting more sleep may be the single healthiest thing you could do.
Let get on with some biohacks...
Here They Are...
30 Sleep Biohacks
Let's Biohack Your Sleep
Time To Get Started
Okay, let's take a look at these sleep hacks and learn how to get a good night's sleep each and every night.
You're ready to begin
Now that you understand the importance of sleep and the dangers surrounding sleep deprivation, the premise of getting more sleep to achieve maximal health should be starting to sound like a fantastic idea.
If you've been reading all this and are wondering what biohacking is you should take a look at this page:
>>> What is biohacking? <<<
That'll clear up any questions you have on biohacking and help you to understand what most biohackers are trying to achieve.
Time for our first biohack:
Let's begin at Sleep Biohack #30
30. Air Quality
Poor Air Quality Wrecks Your Sleep
Don't Underestimate This
Air quality may be more important than you think
Your body needs oxygen to live, you know that pretty well, in fact, it's one of the first things we ever learn. Poor air quality could be hurting your health and your sleep.
Many people understand the importance of breathing
That doesn't always stop folks filling their lungs will cigarette smoke, sleeping on a dusty mattress, and having a bedroom with terrible ventilation.
In fact, a lot of people are guilty of at least one of these three things.
Science says the condition of the air you breath affects sleep
An interesting study on the effects of air quality on sleeping individuals shows that if you improve the quality of air in your bedroom, you may have a much better sleep. (2)
Leave A Window Open
If You Can
Let in some fresh air
Now, this advice could be ridiculously impractical if you live in a cold area of it's the middle of winter.
If that's the case there's a good chance the low humidity of the air if probably not preventing your bedroom from having adequate fresh air.
Clean air for free
If you are able to keep a window open either day or night it can give you higher quality air which might help you both breathe and sleep better.
You may wish to run a dehumidifier if you believe this is not the case.
Get An Air Purifier
A case of very helpful technology
These are one of my favorite inventions on the planet. They filter the air like, give you fresh breathing air, and they're not expensive at all.
You'll possibly sleep better
Having one of these in your bedroom may have a positive effect on the quality of your sleep.
Especially good for smokers
Air purifiers are a must if you're a smoker, be it tobacco or any other kind of inhalable source of smoke. They remove those toxic particles from the air and may make the room smell better too.
Or, and I'll say it again - Give up cigarettes.
Clean Your Mattress Regularly
Many People Don't - You Should!
Mattresses can really affect your breathing
Your mattress can seriously affect the air you breathe if it is dusty and covered in loose particles
It is extremely important to at least air your mattress out but you should also clean it regularly.
It's not pretty
Dust and nasty particles can lie dormant waiting for you to breathe them in if you're not proactive about removing these nasties from your place of sleep.
Get it cleaned professionally
You may consider getting a professional with a steam cleaner to do it or possibly even consider buying or hiring a steam cleaning unit to do it yourself.
So, to summarize:
> Science says air quality may affect your sleep
> A dusty/dirty mattress can be detrimental to your breathing and sleep quality
> Air purifiers are excellent for indoor smokers and those who can't open windows
AJ's Biohack Rating:
"This is something that's so understated but very important. Do you really want to be breathing in dust, chemicals, and disrupting your sleep because of it?"
Next up is Sleep Biohack #29
29. Binaural Beats
Binaural What Now?
The Sleep Inducing Beats
Something a little different
Okay, so this is probably a new one for you but don't be scared of new things. Binaural beats are a pretty awesome and unique way to chill out and relax, ipso facto; they can help you get to sleep faster.
A great sleep hacking tool
I've been interested in using Binaural beats for sleep hacking for quite some time. Now I use them regularly.
Like anything that's popular or becoming popular, Binaural Beats are more accessible than ever.
Let's take a closer look at Binaural Beats...
What Are Binaural Beats?
You've probably also never heard of Frequency Following Response (FFR), but that's the driving force behind why & how Binaural Beats work.
The idea is more simple than it sounds.
In your headphones, different sound frequencies are sent via each individual headphone's receptor.
So, one for your left headphone and a differing sound frequency to your right headphone.
You've just processed a Binaural Beat in your brain.
How This Can Help Sleep
As the human brain follows the frequencies (Frequency Following Response), it creates a perception of a brand new third frequency which the brain then produces brainwaves that match the exact Hertz (Hz)
The Effects Of Binaural Beats On Sleep
When done correctly, this third tone that the brain simulates brainwaves can elicit a mental state of relaxation which is definitely good for any time of the day but of course, is going to be great for any trying to get to sleep faster.
Let's look at what the science says about Binaural Beats' effectiveness...
The Science Of Binaural Beats
An interesting study confirms its efficacy
In a U.K study by Dr. D. Laws (3), he concludes that Binaural Beats may be effective in assisting in the augmentation of both sleep quality and duration, meaning you might want to give this high concept sleep biohack a try.
The above-cited study mentions that the relaxation induced by Binaural Beats may help to elicit sleepiness and help with the initial falling asleep process.
One of the most promising things about this study was that the test subjects were pre-operative patients. Their exposure to Binaural Beats has a measurable effect on their levels of anxiety, reducing stress levels, and having a positive effect on their mental state.
This bodes well for other applications, but for those who are wanting to get to sleep but have difficulty tuning out, this could offer an excellent sleep-inducing benefit.
So, to summarize:
> Binaural Beats work by sending different signals to each individual headphone
> The different signals are processed in the brain which causes a relaxed state
> The relaxed state reduces stress and can help to induce sleep
AJ's Biohack Rating:
"Binaural Beats are an exciting new product that might do far more than just help you get to sleep.
There could be a whole host of other conceivable benefits which may make this biohack worthy of being further down this list in the future"
Time for Sleep Biohack #28
28. Neuro-Associate The Bedroom
Eliminate Non-Bedroom Activities
This Might Not Go Down So Well
Yes, sex is fine, don't panic.
The problem is that people have made other areas of the home encroach upon their bedroom. The room that used to be almost solely for sleep has become a second entertainment hub.
Now Bedrooms have TVs laptop computers and some people even have mini-fridges next to their beds - Living the dream right?
In an upcoming biohack further down we'll discuss electrical disturbance, well, this is different and almost as bad. Why?
Let's look at why using your bedroom as a second media-room hurts your sleep...
The Bedroom Is Neuro-Associative
Making The Connection
Explaining the link
Your brain creates a neuro-association with your bedroom.
This connection means subconscious reasoning takes place at bedtime that connects being in the bedroom to actual sleep.
When your bedroom is used primarily for sleep, your brain may be more likely to produce the hormones necessary for the inception of sleep.
This hormone production is based on the neural associations you make between the sleep that happens in your bedroom and your presence there.
If you consistently use your bedroom as a secondary TV room or office, then the brain creates a different neuro-association with what should be your place of rest. Instead, now believing it to be your place of entertainment.
So get rid of the tech from your bedroom and sleep better.
Don't Partake In Non-Bedroom Activities
(With An Exception Or Two)
Again, sex is fine
You're off the hook for that. The real problem is distraction.
The temptation to NOT sleep
Technology in the bedroom only makes us want to use it and that is a problem if we're hitting up the internet or watching a TV show instead of actually sleeping, which is what far too many people do.
If you want to take a disciplined approach to sleeping (yeah, that sounds kinda funny), then you're going to have to make tough choices.
Getting rid of distracting technology is one of them.
But it's not just the distraction that is the real problem here...
Reducing Bedroom Tech
The Real Problem
Easier said than done?
This really depends. If you have a dedicated TV room in your house, you may find that the increase in sleep from only watching "the box" in that room is very much worth removing the television from the bedroom.
Should you read in bed?
This is an interesting question because it's both a positive and a negative.
It may create a similar environment to having a television set on but reading can make some people quite sleepy which could, in turn, create a situation where reading books is linked to sleep, and therefore it may be a net benefit.
It'll depend on if reading in bed makes you sleepy and if you're reading in bed before sleep or not
Don't read in bed during the day
Obviously, if reading makes you sleepy at night it may be okay but if you're sitting on your bed reading during daylight hours it may wreck any bedroom-reading-sleep neuro-associations.
So be careful
So, to summarize:
> The bedroom should be for sleep, sex, and maybe reading
> Non-bedroom activities in the bedroom can affect sleep hormones
> Reading might be okay if it's done before bed and make your drowsy
AJ's Biohack Rating:
"It can be really comfy having a TV in bed and for some, it may not be a big deal but if you're having a lot of trouble getting to sleep then eliminating bedroom television time and only watching it in another room, might help a lot"
Okay, now we have Sleep Biohack #27
27. Unwind Pre-Bedtime
Easier Said Than Done, Right?
Unwind The Right Way
Some of the above biohacks may mention how an elevated heart rate reduces your ability to fall asleep fast.
If an elevated heart rate keeps you awake...
Then it obviously stands to reason that lowering your heart rate can accelerate sleep - Which it does.
The key is knowing how to achieve this.
Plan to relax
Having a pre-bedtime strategy can be extremely helpful with letting you stay on top of the activities that might otherwise keep you awake.
Being proactive about your sleep is very important.
Let's look at some tips to unwind, relax, and chill out before bed...
Be Like The Cat
Well, Kind Of
Kitties know how to relax
Okay, let me clarify - Don't be like the crazy, nocturnal cat on catnip. But, do pay attention to the way a cat can achieve ridiculous levels of "chill".
I'm referencing the proverb "Cats are connoisseurs of comfort". There's got to be something in that worth investigating.
If you're nearing your sleeping time, move slower, do things at a very tempered pace, or not at all. It's all about keeping that heart rate lowered.
Now is the time to procrastinate
Pre-bed is the time to completely embrace the utter laziness of the cat.
Harness the power of meditation
It's nearing your bedtime, now is not the time to stress or anticipate tomorrow.
Anxiety is a major cause of insomnia and as such, it makes perfect sense to develop the tool to reduce an anxious state of mind.
Meditation can help both with breathing techniques, but also methods of clearing the mind and removing negative thoughts.
It's worth trying even if it's not something you've ever done
Meditation has a whole host of benefits for your health and in this instance - Your sleep will benefit from learning to meditate.
Pre-Bed Hot Drink
A Great Neural Linking Strategy
If you remember that last biohack where we talked about things that were neuro-associative with sleep help to produce beneficial hormones that may promote sleep.
By having a hot drink every night as part of your pre-bedtime routine, you can help create a neuro-associative environment.
Avoid the caffeine, though
For obvious reasons, you're not going to want to pump your body full of heart-elevating stimulants right on the cusp of sleep time.
Ditch the caffeinated beverages in favor of decaf or drinks that have no caffeine at all.
So, to summarize:
> A lowered heart rate is better for your sleep
> Meditation can lower your heart rate
> A pre-bed drink may be neuro-associative and help you fall asleep
AJ's Biohack Rating:
"I know you're not stupid and are not planning on doing 20 mins on the treadmill before bed but it's the small things here that might help like a bit of chill time.
Be proactive about doing this in part of your pre-bedtime routine and you'll definitely see some benefits"
Right on time for Sleep Biohack #26
26. Biohack Your Carbs
Controlling Your Blood Sugar
Helping Your Rest
Carbs too close to bedtime can have a negative effect on sleep.
That isn't to say carbs are necessarily bad for sleep, it's just that elevated blood sugar can be.
Being smart about your carbs may help you sleep
For this reason, biohacking your carbs can help lower your blood sugar and assist you in falling asleep quicker.
It's pretty much common sense that you should not chow down on a bowl of sugar before bed but there's a bit more to it when it comes to carbs.
In theory, they can hinder or help your sleep.
Let's look at helping control carbs to get you to sleep faster...
Biohacking Your Carbs Before Bed
Reducing Energy Spikes
Steady is better (most times)
I'm a big fan of steady blood glucose for a number of reasons.
As far as well-being goes, high blood sugar can be dangerous for your health, your weight-loss efforts, not to mention can cause crashing energy levels and affect mood.
Sugar spikes affect sleep
An elevated insulin level may prevent you from falling asleep straight away and that's clearly not ideal. There are a few ways to have carbohydrates and still prevent this, though.
Be smart - Control your carbs
Controlling your carbs is the smart way to go about eating, any time of the day, but considering the impact carbs can have on sleep, it would be even more beneficial to deal with pre-bed carbs the smart way.
Some Carbohydrates May Benefit Sleep
Hitting The Sweet Spot
Carbs can assist with sleep onset
It's something that people on a ketogenic or low-carb diet are all too aware of. Reduced carbs can keep you awake and exacerbate insomnia and sleep dysfunction.
Some perfectly timed carbs before bed can have an effect that actually can help you fall asleep faster each night.
This is one of two key factors in consuming carbs before bed. Too many carbohydrates and your body may be subject to excess heating as it tries to burn through a surplus of carbohydrate-based calories.
I serving the size of your fist has long been an informal but effective way to measure many carb sources for most people's diets.
The glycemic index measure how much of a spike on your blood sugar a given carb source creates. 40 is low. 80 is high.
Now there's some evidence to suggest that some high G.I (glycemic index) carbs may help you fall asleep faster (4) but the problem is that may have negative effects such as increased proclivity towards fat storage and possible mood changes (which can affect sleep)
Small mid-G.I carb meals may strike a happy balance
By eating a normal (size of your fist) portion of natural carbs before bed such as potato, apple, or most fruits, you can get some carbs to help you sleep but avoid a massive sugar rush.
Also by eating these 2-3 hours before bed and not consuming higher fiber carbohydrates like oatmeal, grains, or cereal, you can avoid the excess gastrointestinal work the body has to perform that might prevent a night of more restful sleep.
Carb Biohacks That Lower Blood Glucose
Minimizing blood sugar response
There are a couple of carbohydrate biohacks you can use to keep blood sugar down and reduce the impact the pre-bedtime carbs might have on your sleep.
By cinnamon, I mean "Ceylon Cinnamon" which is true cinnamon. This is different from the variety you'll likely find in a supermarket which is usually actually cassia tree bark and could be toxic at large doses.
Taking a teaspoon of Ceylon Cinnamon in water with a meal can help lower the blood sugar glucose response of a meal. You can buy this type of cinnamon in most good health food stores
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apart from the myriad of health benefits, having apple cider vinegar with your meal can help to lower the glucose response of the food, allowing you to be far less affected by having carbs prior to bed.
Every biohacker I know goes through a lot of organic apple cider vinegar and for good reason. Maybe you should too.
Though less powerful than Ceylon cinnamon, cardamon is a useful spice in its own right. Also carrying a decent array of healthful properties, cardamon powder can be taken with meals to help lower the blood sugar response of the carbohydrates.
Opt for organic Cardamon and look for it in glass jars (and everything you buy) rather than plastic.
So, to summarize:
> Carb size, timing, fiber count, & sugar-content play a big role in sleep or awakedness
> The right carbs 2-3 hours pre-bedtime might help you fall asleep faster
> Cardamon, Ceylon cinnamon, & apple cider vinegar can low blood sugar response
AJ's Biohack Rating:
"I'm a huge proponent of eating carbohydrates. The exceptional hormonal benefits, the energy assistance, and the pro-sleep effects are well worth having them in your diet.
For those looking to lose weight but still keep carbs, the mentioned carb biohacks can do wonders for helping to keep you in fat-burning mode while still getting the advantages of carb fueled energy"
Next in line we have Sleep Biohack #25
25. Sleep Aromatherapy
Relax Your Senses
Drift Into Slumber
What you're looking for with aromatherapy is the calming effect it can have which is exceedingly useful for anybody wanting to get some shuteye.
Essential oils have been used for millennia and as such have developed a strong following with many people claiming that using aromatherapy has helped them sleep soundly on a regular basis.
Not everything that is popular is good and not everything that is unpopular is bad.
What we can deduce is that there are many satisfied people with the results including those using aromatherapy to get to sleep.
But what does the science say?
The Science Of Aromatherapy
Science-based evidence shows effectiveness
In a study of ICU patients, aromatherapy was shown to have a statistically significant effect on sleep, in particular; lavender oil seemed to be effective. (5)
Aromatherapy may also lower anxiety
A total of sixty patients were tested for sleep improvement and were found according to the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) scale to have a measurable increase in respose quality and reduction in anxiety levels.
Essential oils for aromatherapy sleep
Other oils that have been recommended for the sole purpose of assisting people in getting to sleep are Mandarin, Bergamot, Sandalwood, and (the very expensive) Frankincense.
How to use aromatherapy devices
These diffuser units can be placed in the bedroom prior to sleep and then removed/powered off in order to eliminate noise, light, and sound.
It's common for most aromatherapy devices to contain a pump, that evaporates water with the oils in the machine. This diffusion helps evenly disperse the scent and aroma throughout the room.
Choose the oils you prefer
You can purchase the essential oils of your preference and simply place them in these devices as it dissipates them into the air, leaving your bedroom smelling wonderful and giving you all the calming effects you're looking for.
A Couple Of Small Hazards To Watch For
Because the main aromatherapy units contain water and are electric-powered, there is the risk however small, that you might spill the water and possibly make contact with an electrical outlet.
Some devices have a tight seal but not all of them are quite so safe so caution may be required
Essential oil dangers
Not all oils are extremely safe for everybody.
Oils that may cause irritation in skin-sensitive individuals may include:
Anybody with extremely sensitive skin may want to avoid these essential oils.
Any man who values his testosterone (which should be every man) should take care and caution with the following estrogen promoting oils:
These may mimic estrogen production which could be quite dangerous for male testosterone levels and for females with breast cancer issues.
So, to summarize:
> Science says Aromatherapy can help with both sleep-induction and anxiety
> Aromatherapy devices are readily available and easy to purchase
> There are some moderate dangers associated with essential oils and diffuser units
AJ's Biohack Rating:
"This is something that's very easy to implement, has a pretty solid science-backed record, and has a very real rest-inducing effect.
Beware of estrogenic oils, though - Lavender is the worst offender so look for other oils that help sleep like Mandarin, Bergamot, Sandalwood, and Frankincense."
Now we move along to Sleep Biohack #24
24. Exercise For Sleep?
Just Don't Exercise Right Before Bedtime
But You Should Exercise
It's an effective tool in your kit
Exercise has been proven to have an important effect on both sleep duration and quality. For anyone looking to catch forty winks a little easier, this may be a missey key.
The right exercise helps
Of course, there are better ways to do things so exercising smarter and maximizing the effects it has on rest are going to be something any biohacker worth their salt is going to pay serious attention to.
Almost anyone can do this
Outside of those who are severely incapacitated (and many of them still try, without excuses), most people have the wherewithal to perform some form of daily exercise.
Let's take a look at how exercise can help you sleep better...
Increasing Fitness Increases Sleep Quality
Science Says So
It doesn't require hours at the gym
As little as 20 minutes of exercise per day can naturally increase your ability to enjoy a deeper slumber. In fact, too much exercise can be counter-productive to good health.
In the study "Exercise Effects on Sleep Physiology", scientists found that people who commit at least 20 minutes per day to some form of physical activity have an enhanced sleeping experience because of the effect on slow wake-sleep cycles. (5)
This is excellent news, especially for those who don't work out at all. Consider it an option, at least.
Better CNS sleep
The above-cited study published by Frontiers In Neurology showed that those who participated in some forms of exercise had improved CNS (central nervous system) sleep. This means a far more restful nap time which is what we're all aiming for.
Even More Benefits Of Exercise On Sleep
Exercise bestows a whole range of later benefits DURING sleep
In addition to sleep-induction speed, there are a few additional advantages to be gained from regular exercise including:
Better REM sleep
This is the immersive rest most athletes are obsessed with.
REM stands for rapid eye movement which can be observed by those in the precious deep-sleep state.
Improved metabolic functions
In the study cited above on sleep physiology, the epidemiological examination has found an improvement in some metabolic functions during the sleeping process.
Possible glucose transportation and disposal enhancement
There is some evidence suggesting that blood sugar processing during sleep is improved if the individual has participated in an exercise regimen.
Cautions Regarding Exercise & Sleep
Things To Consider
Just be sure not to exercise too close to bedtime because that can produce an elevated heart rate and body temperature that are not conducive to good quality rest.
A workout 2 hours before bed is more than likely going to make it harder to get to sleep depending on the individual.
The recommended time gap between strenuous exercise and sleep is 4-6 hours dependent on the individual's tolerances. This can vary quite a bit between individuals so it's something that has to be experimented with.
Intensity might also matter
Lighter exercise is obviously not going to elevate the heart rate the same, so walking after dinner will probably be fine working under the assumption that dinner is not immediately near your bedtime.
Seek medical advice
Before beginning an exercise program it is always recommended to seek out professional medical advice.
So, to summarize:
> Daily exercise has been shown to help with sleep-induction as well as quality
> Regular physical activity has been shown to benefit many intra-sleep metabolic functions
> Don't exercise directly before bed
AJ's Biohack Rating:
"As if you really need to be told to perform some physical activity but here we are and that's what I'm telling you (after you've sought medical advice clearing you to do so)
Don't exercise before bed, though. That would be plainly stupid"
So, it's time for Sleep Biohack #23
Eat Your Way To Sleep?
Don't Mind If I Do
The turkey-based siesta
There's a fairly frequent occurrence whereby those who eat turkey dinners (think Thanksgiving/Christmas et al.) tend to fall asleep not long afterward.
There's a reason that this afternoon nap time occurrence happens with such frequency.
Turkey & tryptophan
Turkey is high in tryptophan which could go some way towards explaining why many people feel the need to take an afternoon nap after the consumption of copious amounts.
Is it just turkey responsible for Holiday naps?
Now, there are a few reasons for this such as early mornings, arduous preparation, and energy-sapping activities but one of the stand-out reasons is that of the tryptophan found inside the turkey.
Tryptophan & sleeping better
Consumption of tryptophan-containing foods can aid in helping those who want to fall asleep to do so faster.
Let us take a closer look at how tryptophan might help with slumbering...
Tryptophan > Serotonin > Melatonin Conversion
The Drowsy Cycle
The reason tryptophan is believed to be an excellent natural sleep aid is that tryptophan converts into the mood-regulating neurotransmitter serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) at some point post-consumption.
What happens next is thought to be where the cycle creates drowsiness and can induce sleep.
After tryptophan consumption, at some point when exposed to darker lighting conditions, the created serotonin is further synthesized into melatonin which as we've covered, may lead to better natural sleep.
Darkness may be required
For maximum effect, exposure to lower lighting might be beneficial to maximize the tryptophan>serotonin>melatonin cycle but given that so many people fall asleep while it's broad daylight during holidays, that may not actually be necessary.
Sources Of Tryptophan
What To Eat
Getting natural tryptophan from your food
If you're looking to help your sleep with a little tryptophan in your diet, there are few foods you can look to consume that may help you.
Stay away from hormone disruptors
I've left out ones that contain hormone-disrupting PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) and estrogen promoting phytochemicals. Every good biohacker knows to avoid those foods where possible.
Sources Of Tryptophan To Help You Sleep:
- Turkey & Chicken
- Beef, Pork, & Lamb
- Whole Eggs
- Tuna, Salmon, & White Fish
Be sure to consume an hour or two before bed to let the tryptophan process.
Tryptophan supplementation is popular, especially the supp 5-HTP, but full cautions should be taken when supplementing with concentrated sources and medical contraindications should be learned.
Tryptophan Health Cautions
Things To Watch For
While tryptophan is not a cause of liver disease, it is recommended to consult with a physician before consuming it if you have the aforementioned affliction
Like liver disease, tryptophan is not believed to cause this ailment but medical advice should be sought for those with kidney disease if they intend on using tryptophan.
Individuals suffering from eosinophilia (high levels of a certain type of white blood cells); or who have fibromyalgia are cautioned to not take tryptophan without a thorough medical examination and clearance.
Tryptophan supplements may also interact with some medications so awareness of contraindications is important.
So, to summarize:
> Tryptophan might help with assisting sleep induction
> It should work better at night when exposed to darker lighting
> There are some cautions which should be researched before supplementation
AJ's Biohack Rating:
"Like most things, I opt for natural sources. I wouldn't personally take a tryptophan supplement but definitely like to consume a few tryptophan-rich foods prior to sleep"
With that, we move on to Sleep Biohack #22
22. Carb Synergy
Synergize Your Carbohydrates
Carbs can help you sleep
All the way back in biohack #26 I talked about reducing the impact of carbs on blood sugar but you'll notice I never said they were a bad idea - Quite the contrary, as it turns out, carbohydrates in the right circumstances can help to induce sleep faster than in their absence.
The key is the right type of carbs
There is a bit of a fine line between the type of carbohydrates that might help you to fall asleep and the ones that will keep you awake at night.
It's important to know the difference.
It is also prudent to know whether or not you can handle carbohydrates which I'll go into with a little more depth further down, but for most people, it should be okay.
So let's look at using carbs to fall asleep...
Faster Acting Carbs Work Best
With A Caveat
If you can handle them
Now, this has some contingent requirements.
In biohack #26 I talked about how fast-acting carbs might not be ideal for everyone and how medium carbs could be okay but definitely NOT slow-acting carbohydrates.
To use fast-acting carbs
You probably need to have a fairly decent response mechanism to carbohydrates so, if you're overweight and have poor insulin sensitivity - It may be better to cut out the carbs.
Fast carbs for an overweight or obese person might increase weight gain propensity
Your body shape might matter
For people in better health and shape, studies show that a very small amount of high-glycemic carbohydrates may help to induce a favorable biological state for optimal sleep. (6)
So the science seems to show that if you are wise about carbohydrate use, it might help you to fall asleep.
Why Not Slow Carbs?
You're Sleeping Not Running A Marathon
Why aren't slow carbs sleep-friendly?
Most low-GI (glycemic index) carbohydrates burn slowly in our system.
The truth is that you don't need a whole lot of complex carbohydrates when you're asleep as you're not really in need of that form of energy.
Simple carb-based drowsiness
Slow-burning complex carbs might not work as well because it's the initial phase we're interested in here.
There's not a lot of need for excess carbs once we're already asleep.
High fiber can be anti-sleep
Most complex carbs are very high fiber and the issue with this is that if your digestive system is having to work to digest fiber, it might cause issues with your rest.
The last thing you want when trying to enjoy a deep slumber is your body heating up and having to perform digestive work. That's not sleep-conducive.
Carbs Help Tryptophan Synthesis
Improve tryptophan adoption
In the previous biohack, I talked about how effective tryptophan could be as a possible sleep-aid, well, it turns out that having carbs with your source of tryptophan can help augment the synthesis of said tryptophan.
If you utilize the carb control methods from biohack #26 in conjunction with tryptophan consumption, you'll possibly develop an even stronger method of sleep induction.
The two work together better than the sum of their individual potential. Well worth trying.
If you time your meal right (which is the very next biohack), you can get even more of a potential relaxation benefit that can help you doze off when you need to.
So, to summarize:
> Fast-acting carbohydrates might be the absolute best type to help you snooze
> Overweight folk might not benefit as much from higher glycemic carbs
> Slow acting, high fiber carbohydrates might keep you awake
AJ's Biohack Rating:
"Not everyone is going to be okay with pre-bedtime carbs. That's okay, if it's not for you, then there are plenty of other biohacks here that can help.
At least consider it because it can be really effective especially when paired with tryptophan-rich foods"
Next cab off the rank is Sleep Biohack #21
21. Meal Chronology
The Importance Of Your Meal Clock
Timing Is Everything
Hot off of the back of biohack #22
So, you've read the above biohacks and you're already to eat some bio hacked carbs with your tryptophan-containing foods.
What's the issue?
The problem is that if you consume them all too close to when you plan on sleeping, you might have a negative effect on your ability to doze off at night.
Well, luckily there is a way to get the best of both worlds and completely optimize what to eat and when to eat it before you're ready to snooze and slumber.
Let's take a closer look at meal timing...
Time Your Last Meal Accordingly
Watching The Clock
Respect your digestive system
Rather than stuffing my face before bed and squirming for hours as my body tries to digest a stomach full of food, I try to give myself a bit of time for the food to digest prior to sleep.
Why does this matter?
Because this has a two-fold positive effect:
1. There's no lying prone with food slowly digesting, keeping you awake.
2. The sleep-inducing qualities of the pre-bedtime meal have a chance to become bioavailable at sleeping time, not two hours after you're already in bed.
So, don't feast before sleep, or else
It's probably common sense but just in case you have a habit of gorging yourself before bedtime, maybe pay a bit of attention to detail in the next two paragraphs.
Be Careful Of Hidden Stimulants
Compounds Can Keep You Awake
Hidden stimulants can hurt your sleep
A bit further down in another biohack, I'll talk a bit more at length about the dangers of anti-sleep stimulants and sleep but for this particular section on meal timing, it's really important to know what to look for and to not consume them too close to bedtime.
This can be found in chocolate, cacao, and cocoa powers, as well in desserts containing any of these aforementioned ingredients. This compound could be responsible for keeping you awake if consumed too close to bedtime.
Eat this stuff earlier
Theobromine can cause alertness and an accelerated heart rate so it's important to be very aware of any chocolate products within 3-4 hours of bed, depending on your level of tolerance.
This can be found in hard and aged cheeses.
It may have an adrenaline producing effect in some cases which could definitely affect the ability of an individual to fall asleep, so it's well worth being aware of.
How Long Before Bed Should I Eat?
This is more dependent on the food source
It can range anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours.
It really depends on the type of protein and carb sources.
Digestibility plays a huge role here
Working under the assumption you're eating more easily absorbable carbs as mentioned in the previous sleeping biohack, then your protein will be the key.
Meat is not really ideal
Meat takes a long time to digest meaning that if you choose meat as your pre-bedtime protein then you'll need to consume it further away from bedtime than something like whey protein isolate which is pretty much immediately bioavailable.
> 3 hours for red meat
> 2 hours for white meat
> 1 hour for nuts, cheese, & eggs
> 30 minutes for whey protein or amino acids.
That should work okay assuming you have no underlying digestion/allergy issues.
So, to summarize:
> Pre-bedtime meals should be small, low fiber, and easily digestible
> Chocolate products & hard/aged cheeses might keep you awake
> Meat might not be an ideal protein source prior to sleep
AJ's Biohack Rating:
"It all may seem a little complex but it's really simple: don't overeat before bed, give yourself an hour or two, and make sure the food is easily digestible to prevent issues.
Eat your chocolate and hard/aged cheese earlier in the day"
Next, it's time for Sleep Biohack#20
20. Have Sex
Yep. You're Being Told To Have More Sex
Okay, I wrote in sleep biohack #28 that you should make your bed for sleeping but you'll remember that I said that sex is not something you have to eliminate from the bedroom.
Sex is okay
Well, it's more than okay, it's really good for inducing sleep.
Multiple sleep-inducing facets
There are a whole bunch of reasons sex helps you fall asleep (which I'll cover in more depth below) and for many of you reading, you're well aware of this phenomenon.
Here's why having sex before bedtime is a great sleep-inducing activity...
Sex Lowers Cortisol
Cortisol is a sleep killer
Stress increases cortisol and sex lowers it. If you have been paying attention then you've probably picked up on the fact that cortisol is much feared by biohackers and health aficionados alike.
Cortisol is a dangerous hormone when left unchecked but for the purposes of this section, let's look at its effect on sleeping.
Unchecked cortisol prevents restful sleep
Cortisol is not good and if it's high, chances are you're not going to sleep anytime soon.
Cortisol is known as the "Stress Hormone" or also known as the "Death Hormone". Needless to say, less is almost always going to be not just beneficial for your sleep but for your general health.
If you have too much, there's a good chance you'll be running high adrenals and the restlessness will prevent your ability to doze off come bedtime, if at all.
Sleep for 2
By adding sexual activity right before bedtime, you can help yourself and your partner to get a better night's sleep. Talk about win/win.
Sex Is Dopaminergic
Kicking Up The Endorphins
Endorphins improve sleep quality
Sex helps release dopaminergic endorphins which allow better rest and dream states. These relaxation-inducing hormones are excellent in assisting you to fall asleep not only faster but also improving sleep quality
Dopamine, prolactin, and progesterone all have a calming effect on the body and for men worried about their testosterone and the effects of progesterone, don't worry - Having sex actually increases testosterone in males.
So, not only does quality rest increase testosterone but sex-related hormones help boost it even further.
The science says men and women benefit greatly
It seems sex before sleep is extremely useful for women with insomnia according to a University of Ottawa study. (6)
Sex Makes The Bedroom Neuro-Associative
There's That Word Again
If sex makes you sleepy...
Then having sex in the bedroom regularly will train your brain to associate sex with sleep.
Remember biohack #28
I know there's a few of these but that wasn't so long ago.
The idea of neuro-association is that your brain relates certain activities and locations to thoughts/feelings.
You'll need a partner though
There's always a catch, right? You'll also need to have a fair bit of your sexual activity in bed in order for it to have somniferous neuro-associative linking.
So, to summarize:
> Sex helps lower the stress hormone cortisol
> Sex increases dopamine production and happy hormones
> Bedroom sex may convince your brain to be more tired in bed
AJ's Biohack Rating:
"Did I just give you an excuse to have more sex? I think so. 10/10, Talk about the best biohack ever!"
If you enjoyed that then check out Sleep Biohack #19
19. C. R. A
Circadian Rhythm Augmentation
Boost Your Natural Sleep Cycle
Bad light can hurt your sleep cycle
Artificial light has completely changed the way we work, sleep, play, and socialize.
Unfortunately, artificial light has upset our circadian rhythms by anywhere from a little to a heck of a lot.
Tech vs biology
We evolved to wake up at the crack of dawn and retire to sleep after dusk.
Thing is, we don't do that anymore and it can be a very real problem.
Rising early can help to reset your rhythm and right the wrongs of artificial light. You just have to follow the right steps.
Let's look out how we can augment our circadian rhythms...
Setting Your Body Clock
Harness The Light
Expose Yourself To Light Immediately
Here's a really useful sleep biohack: as soon as you wake up, get in the light straight away.
This is where your daily cycle begins.
Does it have to be sunlight?
Now, this can be sunlight or artificial light, it doesn't matter too much, though sunlight is generally better for a myriad of health-related reasons.
A rare instance where artificial light might not be that bad
Just as artificial light can produce negatives by keeping us awake at night, it can be used in the morning to trigger your body clock.
This light exposure is going to help you later in the day and this is why...
Controlling Sleepiness Better
Biohacking your melatonin production
Exposing yourself to light immediately upon waking may give you the extremely useful advantage of maximizing melatonin production later on in the day.
Starting the countdown to sleep
Light exposure works to let our bodies know that it's daytime and our circadian cycle can start immediately. (7)
The major benefit of this is as the day grows longer, your body starts releasing the hormones necessary for sleep, earlier.
Get exposed to bright light as early as you can
Meandering around the house in sub-par light is a bad way to start your day and can adversely affect your wake-sleep cycle.
Be sure to get your hit of light as early as possible in the morning.
The Power Of The Mundane
It's Not So Bad
Your routine can help a lot
If you have irregular bedtimes and meals then you could find that your circadian rhythm cycle is possibly being upset.
Ever-changing sleeping cycles can lead to differing wake times and this won't help the whole light exposure trick from helping you as much (though, it still works)
Hormonal advantage or disadvantage
Your body releases sleeping-assistant hormones in accordance with when it believes you are going to bed.
If you keep a tight, strict sleep schedule then you have a better chance of gaining a hormonal advantage. If your bedtime is erratic then you may find the opposite.
Meal chronology (again)
As mentioned in a previous biohack (#21), meal timing is important and a good routine no matter how mundane it may seem can be an excellent catalyst for sleep-inducing hormones to be released.
A haphazard meal before bed that your body is not used to could completely throw your sleep cycle "out of whack".
So, to summarize:
> Early light exposure helps you to fall asleep later on
> Sleep at the same time to maximize hormonal efficiency
> Eat at the same time every day/night to establish routine
AJ's Biohack Rating:
"Obviously shift workers are going to struggle with this one.
For everyone else, it's definitely actionable and implementable so there's no reason to not use this knowledge to develop a better sleeping pattern"
Next in line we have Sleep Biohack #18
18. Bed Compatibility
Getting Your Bedding Exactly Right
But An Important Facet Of Good Quality Rest
You're in bed a lot
Over 2000 hours.
That's how long you spend in your bed every year. That's a lot of time to waste on a bed that's not 100% completely maximized for comfort.
Your mattress matters
Your comfort levels play a huge role in determining just how fast you drift off to sleep. Many people spend far too long on a poor quality mattress and suffer in silence.
Some of them are even completely oblivious as to the fact that a poor sleeping base is affecting their nightly rest.
This is a real hidden problem. People can go for a long, long time without paying attention to this important issue.
Mattresses can be a breeding ground for bacteria, a dust magnet, and trapped moisture.
All of which can affect your health, not to mentioned comfortability but the real reason to turn your attention towards your bed is sheer comfort.
Ask yourself this question...
Does Your Mattress Make You Want To Sleep?
Does It Entice You To Bed?
A fairly simple question is it not? But one that people oft forget to ask.
It's easy to get out of bed, get stuck in the grind, and not think twice about that awful mattress that really only barely does its job of being a place to lie down and nod off.
It's a great time to be in the market
Mattress technology is far better in this current era than ever before. You can go to a store and test several beds before deciding on a winner.
What you really want is a bed that draws you to the bedroom every night with anticipation, not dread.
Choosing The Right Mattress For You
Things To Consider
Getting the right bedding
Finding the right mattress for you will depend on quite a few variables including your height, weight, and personal preference which is probably the most important facet of the decision-making process
Don't underestimate your needs
The fact of the matter is, you’re going to be spending a significant portion of your life on your bed so you’re going to want to put a bit of thought into maximizing your comfortability
Clean it regularly
In our first biohack #30, Air quality was mentioned and just how important it was in affecting how your ability to rest.
Once you're happy with your mattress, don't forget to clean it and air it out regularly too. You'd be amazed at high up on the list of priorities this should be compared to where most people place it.
Keeping your whole bed fresh, clean, and free of dust and debris is an absolute necessity.
What About Bedding?
Worth A Mention
Sheets, duvet covers, and bed liners all count
It's amazing how a poorly fitted sheet can wake you up, tangling your feet and annoying the crap out of your already drowsy mind. It can be a real issue.
A comfy bed cover
It's well worth it for your health and well-being to take a little time to assess your bed and everything on it. Decide if you could do better and perhaps look for more comfortable options.
It's great when you sit on top of your bed and your bed cover is so enticing that you want to go to bed early. That's what you want to aim for here.
>Get a comfortable bed that suits your body type
> Keep your mattress clean and dust-free
> Make sure all your bedding accessories are clean and comfy, too
AJ's Biohack Rating:
“It’s amazing how little thought goes into a bed purchase considering the importance of its impact on health “
Now, on to Sleep Biohack#17
17. Natural Vitamin D
Recharge With Sunlight
75% of people are deficient in Vitamin D
Vitamin D is becoming more and more recognized as a super-essential vitamin for its role in many important biological functions including the ability to stay well-slept.
The majority of people in the world are actually Vitamin D deficient, so it's a great place to start just for improving overall health.
It's kind of a misnomer
What you may not know is that Vitamin D isn't really a vitamin at all, it's more of a steroid or "secosteroid", to be precise.
It's unquestionably essential to good hormonal health.
It also plays a massive role in sleep.
Human Beings Are Diurnal
The Day/Night Cycle
Unlike nocturnal creatures such as owls and Vampires (kidding), humans are diurnal and are biologically programmed to be awake during daylight hours and asleep during nighttime.
If you recall in sleep biohack #19, I spoke about how getting light early in the day played a big role in augmenting our circadian rhythm.
Well, getting sunshine during the daylight hours is a great way to heighten our wake-sleep cycle and further optimize pineal gland hormonal efficiency later in the day when we want to get to sleep. (8)
Vitamin D Fluctuations Hurt Sleep
Science Shows Deficiency Affects Rest
Poor health can mean poor rest
Even if it were just a correlation, there's a pretty clear link between bad health leading to impaired sleeping ability.
Unfortunately, many people are quite deficient in Vitamin D and this may have a hand in reducing natural immunity, health, and several crucial biological functions.
Science shows a link
According to the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, there's a definitive link between getting adequate Vitamin D and improving the sleep-latency and easier restfulness. (9)
What is sleep-latency?
This is the total amount of time it takes to fall asleep after the lights have been turned off in the room you are resting in.
Health Benefits Of "Vitamin" D
Why It's Not Just Imperative For Rest
Your bones require calcium and absorption of calcium is increased by having adequate Vitamin D levels.
Skin, nails, and hair constitution
Vitamin D may assist in skin and hair health and elasticity.
Vitamin D might help you biohack fat storage with one promising study showing Vitamin D has a positive effect on fat loss. (10)
Mood & mental wellness
Depression has been shown to have a negative correlation with the increase of Vitamin D up to a maximal point.
Cardiovascular health might also increase with sunlight exposure and Vitamin D3 supplementation.
So, it looks like getting a little more daily sunlight might be not only good for your bedtime but also for your health in general.
> Sunlight improves human wake/sleep cycles
> Vitamin D might improve the ability to fall asleep faster
> It may offer many extra health benefits
AJ's Biohack Rating:
“Don't turn a blind eye to the health benefits of sunlight. Of course, don't get too much, but by hitting the sweet spot you might not just sleep better but your health, on the whole, might improve “
Time to check out Sleep Biohack#16
16. Sound Modality
Using Sound Devices
Let Gentle Sounds Usher In Your Sleepiness
For those who enjoy a little soothing sound
Now, not everyone is a big fan of noise.
For some of you, it may be a distraction that impairs your ability to fall asleep instead of being beneficial but for the rest of us, sound machines/devices may help to trigger positive, relaxing emotions and make falling asleep easier.
It definitely works for some
Many individuals use sound devices to elicit feelings of calm and help tap into the neuro-associatively sleepy properties that the right music/sound can help to form.
If you are one of the people who can use this biohack then it will definitely add yet another option that could help you fall asleep quicker at night.
What Is A Sound Machine?
They're more common than you might realize
The fact is, you've probably seen these devices in catalogs or at sharper image stores.
Sound machines are just devices that play nice little sounds that help to relax you and elicit positive emotions.
What sort of sounds do they make?
These awesome devices can produce sounds like rain falling, a bubbling brook, campfire, light-music, and owls hooting.
Even ocean waves, trees bristling, and waterfalls are all things you might possibly find on a sound device.
Are They Actually Effective, Though?
Like many things, what works for some won't necessarily be effective for others. There's a good chance if you like to listen to music at bedtime then sound devices might be quite effective for you.
If it works for you, then luck be with you. For others, not so much.
If you hate any form of noise, are a light sleeper, and despair at the thought of even a penny dropping then there's probably a pretty good chance you might not enjoy a sound device come bedtime.
Anecdotal evidence says they're pretty effective
Although hard data is pretty sparse on this subject, it would seem that a lot of people anecdotally at least, appear to get a tremendous benefit from using sound devices in order to fall asleep at night.
How To Use A Sound Device For Sleep
Set It To Your Favorite Sound
Pick your personal preference
I like the rain, it's my particular favorite. If you buy one of these sound devices you might want to have a little play around to decide which sleep-inducing sound you prefer the most.
Even if it takes a couple of nights to work out which sound seems most effective and which volume seems to be perfect for your own sensibilities, it's well worth the time invested.
Use the timer
These devices can be set to your most beloved sound and then can be timed to turn off after a set period of time.
So, you can fall asleep to the rain falling and once you've drifted off the device then turns itself off, leaving you to your slumber.
Portable ones exist
Some sound modulation devices are portable meaning you could use them when traveling and not have to mess up part of your sleep schedule.
So, to summarize:
> Sound machines/devices let you listen to comforting sounds at bedtime
> Light sleepers might not have as much success using them
> They come with timers and some are portable, adding functionality to their use
AJ's Biohack Rating:
"I've used them and I'm actually a light sleeper. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it can be a mild annoyance. Your mileage may vary"
Next up is Sleep Biohack#15
15. Hot Water Therapy
A Natural Muscle Relaxant
Hot Water Wins
It turns out that all this time, hot water is a fantastic sleep-aid because it has some really beneficial effects.
Who doesn't need an excuse to have a nice warm bath, right?
Taking a nice hot shower or bath before bed works
It seems that having either a bath or shower, timed right before bed might be a very effective way to induce the somnolent, drowsy state that assists in falling asleep.
Let's take a look at why...
What Does The Science Say?
The good news is that there's ample evidence to suggest that having either a warm bath or shower before bed can help to relax you and reduce cortisol levels, placing you in the optimal state to get to sleep faster. (11)
Again, cortisol comes up a lot in biohacking circles where both rest and stress are considered vitally important to regulate.
The ability to reduce cortisol is a well sought-after prize and any mechanism that allows us to reduce this damaging hormone can play a huge role in not just falling asleep but allow many extra health-inducing benefits.
Body temperature control
The way hot water interacts with human biology is that it raises the body's temperature slightly which means as you get into bed, the body's core temperature gradually decreases, leaving you in a sedated state ready to possibly doze off sooner.
What Temperature Should Warm Baths/Showers Be?
Hitting The Sweet Spot
The Goldilocks temperature
This is dependent on individual tolerances. Hotter baths & showers are fine so long as you can enjoy it and it doesn't create a stress response.
If your shower or bath makes you uncomfortable then that is only going to further accelerate your heart rate which is the opposite of what you're trying to achieve.
Can Cold Showers Work?
Coldwater can induce the fight or flight response which might be great in the morning when it's time to get on with the day, but at a time when sleep is imperative, waking yourself up is obviously not going to be ideal.
When Is The Best Time To Take A Hot Shower?
Timing It Perfectly
If it's sleeping you're after
If you're taking a hot shower for the sole purpose of promoting a state of sleepiness then directly before bed after everything else is completed.
It's best to go straight from the shower to bed - Getting dressed is optional if wearing clothes to bed is your thing.
It's okay to shower before this
It may sound funny to some but it's okay to shower more than once a day. It may be best to save the warmest shower for right before bedtime, though.
So, to summarize:
> Hot water can act as a natural muscle relaxant as well as a cortisol reducer
> Cold showers are not effective and have a different physiological response
> Right before you go to bed is the best time to have a hot shower
AJ's Biohack Rating:
"I only have cold showers as a means of testosterone boosting and discipline but from time to time utilize a hot bath or shower and it really helps me get some much-needed respose"
Next up, it's Sleep Biohack#14
14. Limit Pre-Bed Activity
Be Proactive About Sleeping
It's time to get smart about your sleeping pattern
I've addressed the issue with mixed sleeping times and how in order to maximize rest and hormonal efficiency, going to bed at the same time every night has some really great benefits.
Now it's time to get ahead of the curve and eliminate all that unnecessary pre-bedtime activity that might be responsible for keeping you awake.
Rushing around before bed can spell disaster
Now, I'm a big fan of being efficient and getting stuff done quickly. Bedtime, however, is not the time for a late, mad rush.
Be smart, be proactive. Get the chores/activities you need to be done, earlier and you'll be in far better stead to doze off faster when it does come time for bed.
The Problem With Procrastinating
Controlling Your Pulse
It's hard to sleep after strenuous activity
Back in sleep biohack #24, exercise was recommended but with the caveat that it should not be too close to bedtime.
If you leave everything until right before bed, you'll find your heart rate accelerating as you rush and stress, trying to get everything you need to be done in a short time. It can be like you've done a workout before bed which is less than ideal.
It's critical to slow down and unwind before bed but you can't do that if you've left everything to the last minute which is why being proactive about some things, can really help when it does come time for bed.
Do Dishes Immediately After Dinner
Don't Delay Things
It's simple but effective
Look, I can be a terrible procrastinator myself. But, I've trained little 'ole me to be a bit more proactive. Stuff has to get done right?
So, I try and do it earlier to enable less activity before bedtime so my wind-down time actually lowers my heart rate, not increases it.
Be sure to tick things off earlier
One of the things I've become more proactive about is getting dishes done straight after dinner. Whether you're loading the dishwasher, the laundry, or just getting any chore ticked off of your list, get it done well before bedtime.
If you're unloading dishes, washing, or chopping firewood at ten minutes before your nap time then you've probably made a big mistake.
If you make lunch for work the night before, why not do it during dinner prep or before dishes. Little things like this can free up time later for you to unwind.
Brush Your Teeth Right After Your Last Meal
You Don't Need To Wait
Another thing that can get overlooked
This is quite a useful little hack.
Don't wait until right before you go to sleep to brush your teeth. Get them clean and fresh straight after you eat your last bite of the day.
It's better this way, anyway
Not only will this make it one less thing to do before bedtime, but it's also better for your dental hygiene, anyway. It's far better to freshen up your mouth than wait until pre-bed.
If you time it right and knock everything out, you could have an hour of complete rest and relaxation prior to bedtime and lower that heart rate leading to a more somniferous, sleep-friendly state.
> Too many chores before bed raise your heart rate
> Getting things done earlier means your routine allows for more unwinding
> It may help with your sleeping pattern by getting you to bed on time
AJ's Biohack Rating:
“If you have to do all these things anyway and why not do them in the order that helps you maximize downtime, ergo; better sleep? “
Next up is Sleep Biohack#13