Part 2

31Expert Sleep Biohacks

Sleep Biohacks

The Comprehensive Guide To Biohacking Your Sleep 

AJ James Author Image
 The Final And Most Powerful
Expert Sleep Biohacks Part 2

Let's jump right back into it with number 15... 

Let's See Some More Biohacks
Education on somnolence

15. Limit Pre-Bed Activity

Warm down stretching pre-bedtime
Be Proactive About Sleeping

Don't Procrastinate

 

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.

Pulse control lowered heart rate
The Problem With Procrastinating

Controlling Your Pulse

It's hard to sleep after strenuous activity

Back in sleep biohack #25, 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.

Slowing down

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.

Proactive dishes duty
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 ten minutes before your nap time then you've probably made a big mistake.

Multi-task 

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.

Toothbrush and toothpaste
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

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 superior 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.
 

To Summarize:

> 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:​

[8.4/10]

Me talking about a pre-bedtime schedule

AJ Says:
“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? “

Time to talk about how you lie in bed...

14. Optimal Sleep Positioning

Comfortable bed
Your Sleeping Position Can Make Or Break Your Rest

It Really Does Matter

Chances are, you haven't given it a second thought

Your sleep position may hamper or help your ability to fall asleep faster.   ​

 

The way you lie in your bed makes a huge difference to several biological functions.

It's possibly different for everybody

Your circulation, size, body shape, and composition may come into play here.  A heavier person may need to lie down in a different way to someone who is feather-light.

Let's cover different positions for different body types...

Supine sleeping position
Sleeping On Your Back​ Position

Position #1 Supine

Best For lighter weights

This is a better way to lie down for those individuals who are not excessively overweight and for those folk who do not have a snoring problem.​

Benefits of sleeping on your back

The sleeping on your back position allows airflow to be maximized, blood circulation is optimal, and it may prevent the formation of wrinkles as opposed to side-sleeping.

People with back pain anecdotally report that lying prone may alleviate some of the pain.

It would seem to carry quite a lot of advantages and may well be the best way to lie down in bed.

Who wouldn't benefit from this?

Folks with excessive body weight may find their breathing hampered by lying in the supine position.  Anyone with snoring issues may find their problems exacerbated by laying themselves down this way.

.

Lateral Recumbent sleeping position
Side Sleeping Position​

Position #2 Lateral Recumbent

Better for average body types

The side sleeping position is acceptable if you already have good circulation and breathing.  It's the most common position that the majority of people.

Improving its effectiveness

One tip is to have a raised pillow so your leg matches the height of your spine, that is, if you prefer to raise your leg, which is actually beneficial for lateral recumbent sleepers. This can help improve spinal comfort as well as overall circulation.

Who may have trouble with this?

If you happen to suffer from breathing conditions or have a limited circulatory function, it may not be optimal.   Resting this way may entangle limbs, reducing blood flow considerably.

prone sleeping position
Stomach Sleeping Position​

Position #3 Prone

For rare exceptions

The stomach sleeping position is not really recommended other than for people who are very light in weight, have excellent breathing and circulation but still have snoring issues.

If you don't weigh much, it might be a case of you being able to rest in bed this way because you can not necessarily because you should.

Bottom of the list

Lying prone is widely considered to be the worst sleeping position. (15)

One of the most obvious problems with lying prone is that your face is more likely to be covered/smothered leading to reduced airflow, limited neck circulation, and possible pressure on the sinus cavities.

Even people who are light in weight may have difficulty breathing while lying prone in bed.

So, to summarize:

> Lying supine (on your back) is best but limited to health/body type

> Lying lateral recumbent (on your side) works best for most people

> Lying prone (on your stomach) is worst and not recommended 

AJ's Biohack Rating:​

[8.5/10]

AJ on optimal resting positions

AJ Says:

"You might happen to be a restless octopus in bed and staying still might be laughable but for those of you who are not, supine & lateral recumbent are clear winners."

Next up is a cause of insomnia that you may not have realized...

13. Control Artificial Light

1.PNG
Light Can Be Your Enemy Or Your Friend

You May Need To Control It

 

Light affects sleepiness

Most people are completely unaware of the role that light plays in health but in some particular instances light can very much affect your ability to fall asleep and stay that way.

Light is a recurring theme here

Several of these biohacks on this page revolve around the control and manipulation of light and for a good reason.  Light plays a massive hand in how your whole diurnal cycle works.

Light management is essential

By knowing how to control light, which light is good, and which should be avoided, you can better manage when and how you fall asleep as well as maintaining a better quality of sleep.

Curtain blocking moonlight
Avoiding Bright Light 

Keeping The Body Primed For Rest

How technology tricks and upsets our sleeping cycle

Nighttime darkness signals to our circadian rhythm that we will be needing to fall asleep pretty soon in accordance with our biological imperative to do so.

Unfortunately,  bright light sends a contrary message that it must still somehow be daytime and that it's not a good time to release the hormones that assist us in drifting off into a nice relaxing slumber.

Hampering the melatonin signaling 

According to the National Center For Complementary & Integrative Health, bright light exposure at night can block melatonin production, limiting the ability to form restful sleep and possibly contributing to an unenviable woken state for longer. (16)

Some light is okay

Obviously, there is some naturally occurring light at night.  The moon and stars illuminate a certain level of the night's sky.  So it stands to reason that some mild light in the home won't hurt your melatonin production too much if at all.

It is worth taking some precautions towards the wattage power of the light bulbs in your home and avoiding the brighter ones altogether according to the time of day.

Computer blue light
Avoiding Blue Light 

Just As Bad As Bright Light

The other side of the same coin

While light bulbs mimic the light from daytime, the issue with blue light from electronic devices is that it mimics the sun's UV rays. This mimicry is terrible in the human diurnal sleep cycle.

Just as we can use the sun to biohack our circadian rhythm and boost our sleeping cycle, blue light can work against us to destroy it.

Science says avoid blue light at night

According to Harvard Medical School, exposure to blue light wavelengths can seriously upset and affect our biological clocks. (17)

 

The problem with technology
Prior to the invention of electricity, it was commonplace to go to bed a lot earlier and wake up at the crack of dawn.  

 

Of course, with all of those bright screens such as TVs, smartphones, and computers there is an omnipresent temptation to stay awake for the next dopamine fix (that comes with a giant hit of blue light) but you really shouldn't.

Night time lamp light
Countering Night-Time Light

How You Can Fight It

Dimming light bulbs
The best thing to do to counter the double edge sword of modern technology is to avoid bright lights before bedtime and dim lights wherever you can and where that's not possible, use ambient light from other rooms to give visibility to rooms you're in.

 

Going low tech at night or turning the blue light off
Yes, avoiding bright lights means your technology too, so put the phone/laptop/tablet down.
There are many apps you can download that help turn off the blue light on your devices at a certain time every day. 

 

Flux is one useful program but there are others.

Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Using blue light blocking technology can help to reduce the effects of sleep-affecting blue light. There are blue-light-blocking glasses you can wear at night.  

 

A lot of biohackers favor these because they're surprisingly cheap, easy to use, and work extremely well.  You wear them around the house a couple of hours before bed and your body's natural hormones are not affected by the blue light emitted in your home.

There is some question over their blue light blocking  (B.L.B) glasses and their effectiveness because of studies on one particular set but the Amber B.L.B lenses are shown to be scientifically sound. (18)

So, to summarize:

> Bright light tricks our body into thinking it's daytime

> Blue light tricks our body into thinking it's in direct sunlight

> Reducing bright & blue light before bedtime can significantly affect your sleep

AJ's Biohack Rating:​

[8.6/10]

AJ talking about reducing artificial light at night

AJ Says:

"You may be quite surprised how effective using a dimmer bulb could be or even just switching to low blue light on your devices.  It can do wonders for helping with sleepiness issues for those who have a lot of tech exposure"

Right now it's time to literally chill out in order to drift off...

12. Thermal Regulation

Snowflakes
Cooler Heads Prevail

(And Sleep Easier)

 

Heat versus sleeping

Summer can be a real sleep killer,  especially if your bedroom becomes humid and you become a sweaty mess.  That's a recipe for discomfort and as we've already covered here, it's extremely difficult dozing off when you're uncomfortable.

Science says heat is a danger to quality rest

Temperature affects the quality of sleep.  

 

According to the study on the effects of thermal environment on sleep and circadian rhythm, if you're too hot, your body may believe that it's still daytime and your circadian rhythm could be thrown a little out of sorts. (18​) 

The obvious

It can be hard to fall asleep at the best of times but when you're hot and uncomfortable, it can be next to impossible.

Cooling your room can help, here's why...

Bedroom air conditioner
Nap room fan
Cool Your Room Down Prior To Bedtime​

Be Proactive & Pre-Cool

A nice cool room

One of my favorite sleep hacks is pre-cooling my bedroom.   I've always been a fan of a nice cold pillow and that fresh feeling of hitting a cooled-down bed.

You don't have to be too fancy

Use whatever works for you depending on the temperature.   

Airconditioning is a godsend but a decent fan can also be quite effective depending on the heat of your surroundings. 

Fighting humid air 

Slightly different from temperature but with a direct effect on the "feel" of your environment, humidity can make a room seem to be a lot hotter than it is and your body can't really tell the difference.

Dehumidifiers are great for getting rid of that humid air and making it breathable as well as more conducive to sleeping bodies.

Cool Down Your Bed Sheets​

Prep Them For Your Nap

Hotter beds = awake people

Let me clarify; it's great to have a cool room but if your bed sheets aren't cooled down then it's possibly all for naught.  

It's nice to hop into a tightly tucked-in bed (for some, not me) but the issue is in the middle of a hot night, a well-made bed is a human toaster oven.

A really useful tip

A workaround that was recommended to me, is to pull down the bed covers and top sheets and let the air-con and/or fan blast away.  

When it's time to hop into bed, I get into beautiful cooled-down bedding instead of a sauna.

I can't state emphatically enough how good this can feel hopping into a cooled bed.

Cold thermometers
Ice Packs Are Great

A "Cool" Trick

The perfect chill

One little bedtime hack I like to employ is chucking an ice pack or three into my bed. Sometimes air conditioning is a bit much so I'll just use the fan/ice pack combo.

I also sometimes like to have an ice pack under my pillow.

Be Careful Though...
If you're too cold, your body might have to employ muscle twitching in order to warm you up which could accelerate your heart rate, which we've established in previous sections, is not ideal. (20)


Finding a nice cool medium can help you to drift off nicely in maximum comfort.

 

To Summarize:

> Science says exposure to heat can trick your body into staying awake

> A cool room helps your temperature regulation and is sleep-inducing

> If you're too cold, you might have trouble sleeping as well

AJ's Biohack Rating:​

[8.6/10]

AJ James recommending a nice cold bedroom

AJ Says:
“I like a nice cool bedroom but there's an added bonus of it being more fat-burning friendly than a warmer room “

Next up is to fight "awakening agents"...

11. Biohack Your Stimulants

Over-stimulated, insomnia brain
A Stimulated Mind Is An Awake One

Beware Of Over-stimulation

 

When you can't wind down for bed 

There's usually a pretty good reason.  It could be stress, overexertion, excitement, or stimulants.

 

There are ways to counter many of these issues that could be keeping you awake at night.

 

Drug based

There are many vices that could be the reason you can't fall asleep: Coffee, nicotine, guarana.  These things can be hidden causes of insomnia.  

The problem with these drugs is that they can overstimulate the brain and wreak havoc on your ability to get high-quality rest.  Not ideal right?

 

If you can't eliminate vices, control them

The last thing you want at a time when you're trying your best to wind down and relax is to be stimulated to the point of not being able to sleep properly and affecting REM sleep.

cigarette
Biohacking Nicotine

Stimulant #1

Science says nicotine keeps you awake

You may not be aware but according to a thorough scientific summary, nicotine acts as a central nervous system stimulant which can cause excitation and affect the ability to fall asleep. (19)

Time your nicotine consumption better

You can reduce the impacts of nicotine on sleeping by not smoking or coming into contact (dermal patches) for 2 hours or more before bedtime.

Flushing nicotine from your system.

You can rid your body of nicotine by drinking more water and consuming antioxidants which increase the speed at which nicotine is metabolized in the body.

 

Phenobarbital (Not Recommended)

This anti-seizure, prescription drug can increase the rate at which nicotine is processed in the body.

I've listed it here purely for informational purposes only (It's a barbiturate with many side effects).

Some people have used this as a means to biohack remaining nicotine from their systems to avoid detection in tests. 

caffeine-containing coffee
Biohacking Caffeine

Stimulant #2

Caffeine has a track record

Caffeine may be one of the leading causes of insomnia on the planet according to the Journal Of Clinical Sleep Medicine. (20)

Because caffeine alters homeostatic sleep drive, it's best to avoid any coffee or caffeine-containing products (guarana, some chocolate,) prior to bedtime.​

Take Rutaecarpine (Rhetine)
Promising studies have shown that the substance Rutaecarpine can enzymatically break down the caffeine in the bloodstream, effectively helping you to rid your body of the negative effects of this stimulant.  (21)

Rutaecarpine accelerates caffeine excretion in the urine and can help counter the effects of coffee consumed a little too late.

This is quite good news for anyone who drinks coffee on a regular basis and has the concomitant negative effects of keeping them awake.

Theophylline (Not recommended)

Prior to the discovery of Rutaecarpine, the prescription drug Theophylline was frequently used as a means to flush caffeine out of the body (often by sportspeople about to take drug tests)

The biggest issue with Theophylline is that it might very much be dangerous and has a lot of side effects that are exacerbated by caffeine consumption so it's definitely not recommended.

Vice clock
Time Your Vices Better

Smarter Consumption

Don't consume stimulants too close to bedtime

Make sure you don't have coffee within 4-6 hours of your bedtime.  The same goes for energy drinks.   

When it comes to cigarettes, try to abstain from smoking for at least 2 hours before bed. Or... You know, give up smoking altogether.  That's probably your best route. 

Limit technology time

Over-stimulation from screens can also be an issue.  It's better to reduce interactive technology before bed.  TV is slightly better than social media so that's okay closer to your nap time but beware of what you're watching. 

 

A horror movie is clearly going to be more stimulatory in nature than a documentary.

Careful with video games

There is no greater technological stimulant than video games.  They require a lot of cerebral processing no matter how brain-dead gamers may appear to be.

It might be wise to keep at least an hour's gap between playing video games and bedtime, although I doubt many hardcore gaming fanatics would take that advice.

Many people playing video games stay up very late and do so at the expense of sleep.  Immense self-control is required to interact with this style of activity and still get good quality rest.

So, to summarize:

> Nicotine can be flushed with water and antioxidants

> Caffeine can be flushed with Rutaecarpine as well as water

> Caution is needed with video games

> Timing vices pre-bedtime is imperative 

AJ's Biohack Rating:​

[8.8/10]

AJ talking about preventing insomnia

AJ Says:

"A lot of insomnia is caused by the above-mentioned vices.  Sometimes you've just gotta stop complaining and take control of the problem (especially if your choices are the cause)"

Now it's time to organize your shut-eye?...

10. The Sleep Schedule

sleeping schedule
Leveraging Your Sleep Cycle

The Smart Way

 

Plan to rest and you'll rest well

Or at least rest a bit better.

 

As we've touched upon a few times, your body has something called a circadian rhythm which set's itself up to fall asleep at the same time every night.  

 

You can and should make sure you use this to your advantage.

Hormonal moves
If you get smart about your sleeping times you can leverage your body's natural sleep cycle and maximize the production of important hormones that help you get nice and naturally drowsy so you can doze off faster.

melatonin neurotransmitter
Natural Melatonin Production​

Maximize This Neurotransmitter

Science says to schedule your bedtime

There's a smart reason to schedule your bedtime every night at the same time.  

Each night your body releases the "hybrid-esque" neurotransmitter/hormone melatonin, the signaling agent which lets your entire body know it's time for sleep. Irregular sleeping patterns affect natural melatonin production and can interfere with sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep).  (24)


Use this to your advantage

You can play to your natural strengths by making sure you have an evening plan that keeps you on track to be in bed at the same time every single night.


Set yourself a reasonable goal of going to bed each night at your chosen time and stick to it.

sleeping plan
Pre-bedtime timer
Be Smarter About Bedtime​

Refer To Biohack#14

Control your pre-bedtime activity by planning it

Some people have a tendency to push bedtime too far by leaving pre-bedtime rituals until the last minute.  Don't be one of these folks.​

Be smart about your pre-bed routine and get your shower, teeth brushed, and whatever else it is you need to do, nice and early.  

Set a timer

Some people report great results from setting a sleep timer 30 mins before their preferred bedtime every night.

It's simply a matter of putting faith in planning in seeing it through until it becomes your new routine.  It really does work well.

Formulating A Sleeping Plan

Your Attack Plan

 

Developing better sleeping patterns
It's really important to have a plan of attack if you're having difficulty maintaining good sleeping patterns.  

 

A sleeping plan can help to stick to good habits exactly the same way a diet can.


If you take some ideas from all the previous biohacks, then you can put together a plan to help you fall asleep quicker and stay that way for longer.


Let's look at a sample sleeping plan:

4:00 PM
25 minutes of exercise


5:30 PM
No alcohol, cigarettes, or coffee past this point

 

6:00 PM

Dinner followed by dishes and brushing your teeth


9:00 PM
Turn on aromatherapy diffuser and cooling fan


9:30
Dim all lights and read a book in the living room/lounge


10:30 

Have a hot shower
Turn on rain sounds on the sound device and relax your way to slumber-land

There you have it

It's really as simple as putting the plan in place and following through.


It may take a little time, but the time you get back by not being tired can not be replaced and we've already discussed the dangers of going without sleep or having poor sleeping habits.

So, to summarize:

> Irregular sleeping patterns hurt melatonin production

> Sleeping plans help control the nighttime environment

> A good plan will become a habit and that routine will be easier eventually

AJ's Biohack Rating:​

[8.8/10]

AJ recommending a sleeping schedule

AJ Says:

"It's not as hard as it looks and it helps you fit a few biohacks n that you may have forgotten about which is great news"

Right now it's time for sleep biohack #8

9. Reduce Light Pollution

Awakening light pollution
Sneaky Light Can Keep You Awake

Fight Back

Light again, really?

Now, I've written quite a bit about the perils of artificial light pretty extensively so far in this guide to biohacking your sleep.   

Unfortunately, even once we're in bed, there's a chance that sneaky light can make its way into your place of rest... And we do NOT want that, do we?​

Light waves are everywhere 

Light comes in many forms and it can only take a few sneaky photons to prevent us from maximizing the rest we get from a good night's sleep.

Female photon scientist
Countering Outside Light

Dark Curtains & Light Blocking Blinds​

All that outside light pollution

Moonlight is beautiful, illuminating, and even breathtaking in some instances.   When you're trying to sleep, though, it can have negative consequences on your attempts to rest up.

Cover windows well

Black-out blinds and dark or latex-backed curtains can help.   Keeping light pollution out is a major priority for mean sleep-deprived folk - Getting the right type of window covering can be essential.

Longer curtains/drapes are ideal because they can reduce extra light coming from below them.  The short the distance between the curtain and the floor, the better.

Street lamps

Moonlight isn't the only culprit here.  Streetlights can generate a lot of icky, unnatural light and send it beaming through your bedroom window.  Not exactly ideal.

There are curtain rails that can frame the top edges of said curtains which can help to block out a lot of the excess light that peers through the top.

Light-blocking curtains
What The Science Says On Light Pollution

Light Can Be Interruptive

Significant effects on human rest capacity

As has been covered here, light has been shown to affect circadian rhythm and sleep pretty conclusively. 

Countering the effects of light is essential if you want to optimize the bedroom for its sole purpose.

Small amounts of light can wake you 

According to the scientific study of light exposure impact on human circadian rhythm, it showed that even at protracted wavelengths (631 nm, red) and intermittent light exposures interfered with circadian resetting responses, as well as exposure to low light levels (5-10 lux) at night when sleeping with eyes closed induced a circadian response. (22)

What does this mean?

Essentially, it shows that small amounts of light exposure can trigger wake cycles at times when you most certainly do not want to be woken up.   

It can also mean light affects the quality of deep REM sleep and that excess light may hinder us from returning to sleeping if the circadian reset is triggered.

TV with awakening light diodes
Countering Inside Light

Eliminate Device Diode Light​

Tech lights in the bedroom

Mobile cellular phones have been a wonderful piece of technology that helps us to stay in touch with each other whenever we please. 

 

Unfortunately, many pieces of tech that have made their way to the bedroom can affect our sleep and that's a real shame.

Cover up diode lights

If you choose to keep devices in your bedroom that have little diode lights then get the same black tape and cover up those annoying sleep-destroying lights.

Doors too

If someone is still awake and has a light on in the house doorways can seep light through the base in your bedroom.

 

This can be countered with door sweepers that attach to the base of your bedroom door.  This can effectively block out those waves of light, leaving your room perfectly dark for a better sleeping experience. 

To Summarize:

> Even small amounts of light can keep you awake or wake you up

> If your circadian rhythm rests you may not fall back asleep

> Covering up windows, doors, and electronic device lights can help a lot

AJ's Biohack Rating:​

[8.8/10]

Aj talking about blocking light from the bedroom

AJ Says:
“Dark rooms are far better for sleeping (to state the obvious) but some people choose the light aesthetic over the function of a well blacked-out room.  Don't do it if sleeping is something of concern (it should be). “

Time to take a look at an important somniferous electrolyte...

8. Potassium

Potassium element periodic table
Potassium Is Crucial For Sleeping

Balance Is Imperative

A little known truth

This is a really esoteric sleep biohack.   Not many people know this but your electrolyte levels and in particular your potassium levels can seriously affect your ability to sleep soundly. 

Electrolytes play a pretty big role in muscle activity including relaxation so when there's an imbalance it might affect the quality of rest.

Balancing issues

Electrolyte imbalance can be a serious health risk and although very rare, can possibly result in death.

Chances are, that's not going to be a significant issue for your average person, but a real issue could be lacking potassium at night time which may be detrimental to your somniferous state...

Potassium's effect on brain somnolence
Potassium Affects Somnolent Response​

The Science

A widespread deficiency

Potassium has long been touted as one of the human diet's "missing" ingredients. 

 

We have plenty of access to and sources of potassium-rich food and even potassium salt at large, yet many people seem to still lack this fundamentally important electrolyte.

The dangers of potassium deficiency

Lack of potassium can increase the risk of hypertension, stroke, heart disease, and of course for the sake of this article, sleep loss. (23)

 

Now, loss of sleep if compared to the aforementioned health issues probably seems like a small problem but because lack of quality rest can also increase the risk of many dangerous health problems, it's in a similar company.

Somnolence-Inducing Neurons

Potassium is responsible in part for the activation of somnolence-inducing neurons, so lacking inadequate potassium levels could very well mean that optimal biological conditions for sleep are never reached for those who are in any way deficient in this essential electrolyte. (22)

K source banana
Sources Of Potassium (K)

Foods High In Potassium

Dietary K

If you're looking to biohack your sleep with a little extra potassium, then there are several sources of this potentially valuable electrolyte that may help you.

The Best Sources Of Potassium:

Organic Leafy Greens

Bananas

White Beans

Avocados

Potatoes

 

Mushrooms

 

Kiwifruit

Wild Caught Salmon

Milk

Tomatoes

You can also supplement with potassium salt which can be found in most supermarkets as lighter sodium salt alternatives. 

Potassium danger sign
Cautions For Potassium 

Excess Consumption Issues

 

Just the right amount

Caution should be used in adding too much as excess potassium can also be dangerous. While it is important to make sure you have enough, going too far over could cause serious health issues.

The dangers of high potassium

Hyperkalemia is a condition that can affect the kidneys and can be quite serious.  Problems such as chronic kidney disease and acute kidney failure can be a cause or effect of high levels of potassium.

Some medications may be responsible for a hyperkalemic state. (24)

Side effects of hyperkalemia

Dangerously high levels of potassium may cause someone to exhibit side effects such as:

Muscular fragility

Heart palpitations

Difficulty breathing

Pins and needles

Numbness

Nausea

Please seek immediate medical attention if you show any of the aforementioned symptoms.

So, to summarize:

> Potassium deficiency can cause serious trouble sleeping

> Excess potassium can be a serious health risk

> Potatoes and bananas are pretty readily available natural sources

AJ's Biohack Rating:​​

[9/10]

AJ specifying the science of potassium

AJ Says:

"It's rarer to have too much than too little potassium.   A banana and a potato each day should be perfectly adequate without endangering a normal, healthy adult"

Next up is Sleep Biohack#7

7. Reduce Noise Pollution

Sleeplessness inducing noise
Serious Slumber Stifling

Noise Creates Sleeplessness!

 

Noise and sleeping can't always coexist

Yeah, you know this.   The problem is that it's easy to forget that your bedroom leaks noise - Or worse yet, has something in it producing noise.​

Remember in sleep biohack #17, how I talked about sound devices and how great they could be for inducing sleep faster?   

 

Well, not everyone is going to be so lucky.  For many people, they are noise sensitive and it can really affect their ability to fall asleep at night.

Some sound is inevitable

You can't eliminate sound altogether.  Even by yourself in bed, you have to breathe.  

A little noise is fine and tolerable for most people.  Excess sound pollution can be a  very real issue though.

Sound affecting cardiometabolic strength science
The Science Of Noise Pollution​

Your Health At Stake

The constant presence of noise pollution

The truth is that too much noise can have serious effects on your health.  It may seem like something that at a glance is trivial, after all, many people have to put up with a bit of noise in their neighborhood.

Just because everyone is experiencing it, doesn't mean it isn't affecting them

Studies show it's bad for your health

According to the World Health Organisation and several other authorities on the matter, noise pollution is a major factor in sleep loss and this can lead to many health issues that can arise because of constant exposure to rest-affecting sounds. (25)

The effects of noise pollution according to that study 

Poor sleeping behavior causes possible endocrine and some metabolic observable disturbances and is linked to a number of cardiometabolic, psychological, and socially adverse outcomes in adults and children.

Loud noise
Dealing With Noise​

Steps You Can Take

First, think about your tech

I've already spoken at length about removing technology from the bedroom because of its effects on tech addiction and light pollution.​

Some tech can even emit a faint noise that you may hear or may pick up subconsciously. Be sure to locate the offending noise polluter and remove it from your bedroom.

Sound-proof your bedroom

Sound-proof glass can be a fantastic investment if you can afford it.  Thicker pane window glass is great for buffering outside noise and can go a long way to countering external noise pollution.   

Thick curtains can also go some way toward not just block out light but also dampen outside sounds.​ The curtains with a dense latex back double as excellent light and sound blockers for your bedroom.

What about your walls?

Some people go as far as to double insulate their walls and although it may sound extreme, when you consider you spend more than a third of your life in your bedroom, it's actually a pretty wise move, especially for those sleeping-deprived souls who would do anything for a better night's rest.

Sound cancelling headphones
Sound Cancelling Headphones​

Tech Biohack

Blocking out noise at the biological level

If you can stand to sleep in noise-canceling headphones which are ostensibly giant earmuffs, then these can actually help.   

 

I absolutely can't fall asleep in bed with these, but do find they're situationally okay like on an airplane trip.

Better for Supine sleepers

For the most part, they require you to sleep on your back, which seems to be the optimal sleeping position anyway (depending on weight and health), so it's really a judgment call if you think you could benefit from them.

Low tech?

If you can't afford to insulate walls, soundproof your windows, and curtains, and the thought of wearing headphones to bed is like an Orwellian nightmare, then perhaps something as simple as earplugs might suit your needs.

Earplugs are low-tech, cheap, and they're reasonably effective if you can wear them comfortably enough to still slumber away when you need to.

So, to summarize:

> Noise pollution is everywhere and hard to escape

> Soundproofing your bedroom can help a lot

> Headphones and earplugs are alternatives that can be effective

AJ's Biohack Rating:​

[9/10]

AJ talking about noise-related sleeplessness

AJ Says:

"I absolutely can not sleep comfortably with earplugs or headphones.  I do, however, sometimes wear a thick, black "beanie" which does muffle out a fair bit of sound in my already fairly soundproofed room.   Other people are catching on and doing this too.  "

Right now it's time for an all-important mineral that can help your dozing ability...

6. Magnesium 

Magnesium element on periodic table
Helping Your Muscles Relax

Inducing Sedative Slumber

Why Magnesium?​

Well, Magnesium (Mg) has been shown to be very effective as a muscle relaxant, with it playing a key role in the regulator of sleep which I'll go into further, below.

Widespread deficiency

Because many western diets are low in magnesium concentration, people may be missing out on one of the key roles of "Mg" in the diet and that's assisting in the induction of sleep

Migraine prevention

Part of its ability to prevent migraines highlights just why magnesium may be effective as a sleeping aid.   

Deficiency in magnesium may cause a reduction in neurotransmitter efficiency and activity. (26)

Melatonin is a significant neurotransmitter, especially in relation to sleep. By having more efficacious neurotransmitter activity, in theory, melatonin production should be optimized.

R.E.M science guide
How Does Magnesium Help Sleep?​

The Science 

Relax

Magnesium appears to have a muscle relaxant-like property.  This is why it is often used as a preventative supplement for those who suffer from headaches.

Magnesium's contribution to N-Methyl-D-Aspartic Acid (NMDA) receptor conductivity seems to play a large role in its effectiveness.

Help with insomnia

A study of elderly patients suffering from insomnia who were given magnesium to help sleep showed that sleep time, sleep efficiency, early morning awakening, and sleep onset latency all improved.

 

In this study, it is mentioned that magnesium plays a role in potassium synthesis (a key electrolyte involved in sleep) assisting in the unilateral entrance of potassium channels.  (27)

Increasing renin levels

Serum magnesium in the blood appears to have a blood pressure-lowering effect​ and may increase plasma renin levels.  Higher renin levels are believed to have a positive effect on REM sleep, which is a very positive attribute.

Rapid Eye Movement
What Exactly Is REM Sleep?

The Deep Kind

REM explained

REM sleep which is short for rapid eye movement sleep is the fifth and last cycle of sleeping your body goes through.


Your average human being spends around 20% of their nap time sleeping in a REM state,  which is when you're at your deepest state of slumber.


REM sleep is when you have dreams

This is the point where you're most likely to experience a dreaming state.


People awakening in the interim REM phase of their sleeping cycle are at their most likely to experience disorientation and derealization.


Because of the dizzying state of consciousness that can be experienced after waking up during REM sleep, an individual is much less likely to remember events that have occurred during that particular time, especially if they return to sleep and then happen to wake again. (28)


Both the drugs alcohol and nicotine can impair the ability to progress through the sleeping cycles and in particular, the REM aspect of sleeping.

So, What Is REM Sleep? Is It Good?
It is your period of deepest rest and very important.  

 

Because it's when you dream, it's also when you potentially have nightmares though, which for some with night terrors can be upsetting. Some people even go as far as trying to prevent the REM phase with the use of alcohol (Not recommended).

sources of magnesium supplements and nuts
How Much Magnesium Should I Supplement With?​

Food Or Supps?

The magic number

414 milligrams of Magnesium Oxide was shown to be effective in the aforementioned study.

This amounted to 250 milligrams of bio-available Elemental Magnesium.

Other sources of Magnesium supplementation may differ in bioavailability (how much you actually absorb).  

Sources Of Magnesium Include:

(I've left out ones that have a negative effect on hormones)

  • Activated Almonds

  • Avocado

  • Cashews

  • Oatmeal

  • Potato with skin

  • Pumpkin/Squash

  • Raisins, Especially Dark Red

  • Spinach

  • Whole grain bread

  • Organic Yogurt

Add these to your pre-bedtime meal or perhaps consider a Magnesium supplement

To Summarize:

> Magnesium helps ​relax muscles and may assist in melatonin production

> Magnesium may help potassium processing in the brain

> There are many food sources of Mg and supplements are easy to find.

AJ's Biohack Rating:​

[9.1/10]

AJ James on the subject of magnesium for R.E.M

AJ Says:
“As a long-time migraine sufferer, I use magnesium as a preventative measure and I always have some before bedtime.  I love it. “

Perfect time to look at a positively soporific amino acid...

5. L-Theanine

L-Theanine molecule
The Soporific Amino

The Sleeping Pill Alternative?

Little known

There is a good chance you've never even heard of this amino acid and just so happens to be in a lot of popular foods you may consume already.​

L-Theanine has rapidly grown in popularity, dare I say faster than anything else mentioned on this page.  

Viable alternative medicine?

It is becoming a go-to-sleep facilitator for many people looking to avoid sleeping pills and harsh medications with a myriad of possible side effects.

But just because something is popular, that doesn't mean it's effective.  Let's take a closer look at L-Theanine and see what it is and what the science has to say...

Science website graphs
What Is L-Theanine?​

Amino Amazing

Found naturally

L-Theanine is simply a type of amino acid that is present in many types of tea leaves but can also be found in an array of mushroom species.

If you know what the Japanese "umami" (savory flavor) is then you have a head-start. L-Theanine is thought to be a key chemical component in the umami flavor in foods that contain it.

It's the subject of much discussion and study

Much research is being done on it presently in both the food industry and the natural health community. 

 

It's gone from practical obscurity to popularity faster than any other natural health-promoting product in recent memory.  A lot of research is still required to understand its full benefits and drawbacks but it looks promising so far.

health benefits of l theanine
What Are The Benefits Of L-Theanine?​

According To Science

Reduces heart rate

According to one study, L-Theanine may lower the heart rate of those who consume it which may help promote a more somniferous, sedative state that is more conducive to sleep.  (29)

It's been shown that it's very hard for humans to become sleepy with an elevated heart rate due to the physiological response to a faster heartbeat.

It's dopaminergic 

L-Theanine is known to both increase calming neurotransmitters such as GABA, serotonin, and dopamine, while at the same time potentially suppressing negative brain chemicals that may cause anxiety. (30)

It's anti-stress

L-Theanine has become quite popular as a stress-reduction product because it is what is commonly known as an anxiolytic (a stress-reducing compound).

It works to block the potential binding of L-Glutamic acid to glutamate receptors in the brain which may inhibit the excitation of cortical neurons.  This could increase calmness and theoretically it may help with focus. (31)

Because of the relaxing nature of the physical state, someone might have when consuming L-Theanine, becoming sleepy, and ready to nap seems to be a very plausible outcome.

l theanine cautions
L-Theanine Cautions​

Anything To Watch Out For?

It appears pretty safe

There doesn't seem to be too much concern about L-Theanine.  It appears it's mostly safe and the exceptions are pretty predictable. 

People experiencing the following should seek medical advice prior to the use of L-Theanine:

Low blood pressure

L-Theanine may have blood pressure lowing effects which could be of concern for those who have an already lowered blood pressure.  As such, it could cause concern.

Children

There may be effects that are not generally suited to children or growing bodies and this would likely preclude the use of L-Theanine for the young.

Pregnancy and/or breastfeeding

Those in this category should seek professional advice from a qualified physician prior to the consumption of L-Theanine.

So, to summarize:

> L-Theanine may lower stress or temper stress response

> It can create a sleepy state by lowering heart rate

> It's a naturally occurring amino acid found in green tea & mushrooms

AJ's Biohack Rating:​​

[9.3/10]

AJ talking about L-Theanine for dozing off

AJ Says:

"I drink a lot of green tea (and I mean A LOT) but still supplement with L-Theanine some nights before bed.  I really enjoy the effect it gives me."

Next up is a real tech-based sleep biohack...

4. Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy lamp
Using Light To Fall Asleep?

The Good Light

Does it sound a bit crazy?

After all the effort I've put into highlighting just how much of an issue artificial light can be for those with insomnia and slumbersome issues and now it looks like I may be recommending some form of light therapy.

Don't worry.  It's a sound premise.

An original

One of the original "biohacks" from when biohacking became "a thing", red light has actually become a popular method of increasing testosterone in males.  

That's not really why it's making #4 on this list though right?

For the purposes of this particular biohack, there is really good news when it comes to the benefits of red light,  one of them is helping you to get to sleep.

 Sleeping Benefits Of Infrared Lights ​Under The Microscope
Sleep Benefits Of Infrared Lights ​

According To Science

Increased sleeping time

Scientific studies have shown that exposure to red light prior to bedtime was able to significantly increase sleep time in patients with traumatic brain injury. (32)

The study was conducted to observe the benefits of infrared light on an injury but inadvertently was shown to boost sleep by increasing melatonin production which as I've mentioned, is imperative to quality sleep.

Increased melatonin production

Another study on basketball players showed an increase in melatonin production levels for the players who were exposed to red light versus those who were not and general improvements categorized in The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) of the players.

So, exposure to red light can both help produce melatonin and reduce exposure to bright/blue light if you are exposed to the former in place of the latter.

Red lights in the home
Home Light Replacement

Adding Some Red Light To The Home

Hold up

It's not entirely a matter of just popping some red light bulbs in the socket and basking in the sleepy effects of red light therapy.

There are a few things you need.

You need a certain nanometer strength

To obtain the slumber-inducing benefits of red light therapy you'll need a fairly exact nanometer power in order for it to have any positive effect whatsoever.

600 - 800nm seems to be the efficacious level.

You'll need to choose

There are red light panels, lamps, screens, and bulbs to choose from.

If you do buy the bulbs, you can replace some of your lights at home.

Perfect for countering bright bulbs at night

Well, as it turns out, replacing bedroom (or any room) lights with infrared bulbs can mitigate the negatives of both blue light and brighter lights by eliminating them.

Some biohackers go as far as to have both ordinary light bulbs and infrared lights scattered through their homes only going so far as to have infrared bulbs active for the 2 hours preceding their bedtime.   

 

That might be a bit much for some people but if you're having serious sleeping issues, it's still good to know.

red light flame danger
Are There Dangers To Infrared Light Use?

What Should I Look Out For?

The first thing is don't choose the wrong light

If you end up purchasing a fake red light product you may be exposed to UV light, excess heat, and the possibility of electrical hazards if it's not from a reputable supplier.

Burns

Some red-light panels have reportedly become overheated with people commenting on receiving minor burns.   Red light bulbs that plug directly into overhead sockets seem to be the safest as there's no real chance of contact. 

It would appear burns are a very rare occurrence and might possibly be more an issue of not following instructions.

Electrical safety

Any device that plugs into an electrical socket runs the risk of some danger if misused.  Red light therapy lamps and panels are no exception.

If basic safety precautions are taken then there shouldn't be any risks outside of the manufacturers' warnings.

So, to summarize:

> Red light therapy can benefit sleeping ​

> Studies show effective use can improve melatonin

> Panels, lamps, and bulbs can be purchased for home use

AJ's Biohack Rating:​

[9.5/10]

AJ James recommends red light therapy for sleeplessness

AJ Says:

"I use a red light device almost daily.  The health benefits are numerous, not just for sleeping but for skin, muscle, and cellular health "

Okay, now we have repose-inducing natural sleeping aids..

3. Herbal Remedies

Herbal Natural sleeping aids
Scientifically Proven Sleeping Aids

All Natural - All Effective

 

My go-to for a decent night's repose

My absolute favorite and most used biohack is combining a few of nature's scientifically proven sleeping aids. 

 

I find these very effective and that's what I really care about is whether or not something actually works regardless of hype or opinion.

Natural sedatives for serious shuteye

There are several natural herbs that can help you get to sleep faster and enjoy a deeper restful slumber.  I've listed what I consider to be the best 4 herbal sleep remedies.

Let's take a look at these natural sleeping herbal remedies...

St John's Wort - Hypericum
St John's Wort​

Hypericum

Stress reduction & relaxation

St John's Wort (Hypericum Perforatum) has gained a lot of popularity over the years as a natural sleeping aid.   

Used traditionally as a herbal remedy for depression, scientific data has shown that stress and anxiety are major contributing factors in poor sleeping patterns.

The science

St John's Wort has shown exceptionally positive results in the area of treating depression, anxiety, and stress-related mental issues, ergo; Hypericum is efficacious in assisting sleeping in people who have any degree of stress. (33)

Available in pill, powder, and capsule form

I prefer this in capsule form because the powder is seriously bitter and disgusting, but much cheaper.  Whatever your budget suits, you may want to give this a try.

Chamomile tea - Earth apple
Chamomile Tea​

"The Earth Apple"

Everyone knows this one, right?

Probably the world's most popular herbal sleep remedy, chamomile tea has enough sound, science-backed research that it's worth trying if you feel like you need something to assist you with falling asleep faster at night.

The science

A study of postpartum women showed that consistent consumption of chamomile tea led to statistically significant increases in sleep quality. (34)

Weak brewed Chamomile may not be as effective with many people recommending the use of at least 2 tea bags for maximum potency.  Extracts are also available for purchase. 

It tastes okay too

Unlike St John's Wort, Chamomile Tea is quite palatable and is additionally enjoyable with a little lemon/orange peel added.

Lemon Balm​ Melissa Officinalis
Lemon Balm​

Melissa Officinalis

The Tastiest

Like Chamomile Tea, ​Lemon Balm is easy on the palate and won't have you pulling faces and writhing in the agony of distaste that St John's Wort can (not me though, I just tough it out - don't be so soft).

The science

Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis) has been used for over 2000 years and has been shown in studies to be advantageous for those who are in need of more rest and slumber.

Lemon balm has been shown to have sleeping-friendly anxiolytic (stress-reducing) properties that can help sedate the mind and advance the all-important "somniferous" (sleepy) state. (35)

Pre-bedtime drink idea

Adding Lemon Balm to your nighttime sleeping tea of choice is a great way to add a one/two punch and get to sleep faster.   

I personally enjoy a Lemon Balm, Chamomile, and Orange Peel blend that works very well for me and tastes pretty good too.   I add a little stevia for sweetness because I'm clearly not sweet enough.

Valerian Root​ Valeriana Officinalis
Valerian Root​

Valeriana Officinalis

Hidden gem

This is probably the least well-known of the 4 natural sleep remedies listed here but may still be worth trying if getting to sleep fast is an ongoing issue.

The science

Valerian root has been commonly used as a natural treatment for insomnia with evidence suggesting it can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.

It most likely works because of the compounds valerenic acid and isovaleric acid which appear to be anxiolytic as well as containing the sedative hesperidin. (36)

Consumption

Valerian root can be found in both tablet and capsule form as well as powder, leaf, and extract.

Money budget
Herbal Sleeping Remedies - Costs

Budgeting

If the price happens to be an issue for you, the most economical way to purchase herbal sleep remedies is to get the powder form.  

Extracts are far more powerful forms of your favorite herbal sleep remedies but are a little more expensive, though you only need to use a lot less so it can work out cheaper in the long term.

Obviously, a herbal extract that's 20x more powerful is more cost-effective at any point below a 20x price differential.    It's completely up to you.

To Summarize:

> Herbal remedies such as Lemon balm have been in use for millennia 

> Valerian has several anti-stress compounds that induce sleepiness

> Extracts may be more economical for some budgets

AJ's Biohack Rating:​

[9.5/10]

AJ James loves natural herbal sleeping remedies

AJ Says:
“I've used all of these at some point and definitely use a couple of them semi-regularly - Herbal sleeping remedies are an absolute must-have“

I do hope you're now ready for the penultimate biohack . 

Here it is at number 2...

2. Supplemental Melatonin

2.PNG
When You Can't Manufacture Enough 

There's Supplementation

Why supplement with melatonin?

Many people produce perfectly serviceable levels of natural melatonin at night before bedtime. 

There a still a lot of people that struggle to produce the amount they need to fall asleep and remain rested adequately for a good 8 hours.   

 

As we age, melatonin production appears to decrease which can have serious effects on our health. (37)

Shift workers know the value

If your sleeping cycle is unnaturally affecting your circadian rhythm because your body is unable to respond to light and dark due to work hours, then melatonin production is more than likely an issue.

Shift workers know too well how hard falling asleep can be due to the hours they work.   Melatonin supplementation is extremely popular for those people whose work hours interfere directly with a more natural sleep cycle.

Ready availability

Supplemental melatonin is easy to obtain through most pharmacies/drug stores.  Some forms may require a prescription.

Let us take a closer look at how supplemental melatonin might help you rest easier...

Supplemental Melatonin
What Is Melatonin?

Sleeping Signaller

Naturally occurring

So, if you've made it this far you've probably learned that melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone the body produces at night when you're exposed to darker environments.

It signals to the body that it's time to sleep and can help you to become drowsy and ready to nap.

Sleepiness guaranteed?

Not everyone responds to the light and the dark in the same fashion.   Some people seem to be able to fall asleep within minutes of contact with their pillow and others may require a lot longer before they can drift off blissfully.

day night signal
Using Melatonin Supplements

Which Is Best

It depends on your needs

Some people have difficulty falling asleep and others have issues staying asleep. 

There are a couple of types of supplemental melatonin that can help, depending on which issues are presented.

International travelers may find themselves taking melatonin in order to somewhat counteract the effects of jetlag.

Standard melatonin supps

Your basic exogenous (supplemented) melatonin can help you sleep and has been shown to be effective for many adults including those with sleep disorders. (38)

Delayed-release supps

This form of melatonin supplementation almost always requires a prescription.  

Because of its delayed release, it can help assist those people that might have trouble staying asleep by drip-feeding small amounts in a slowly absorbed medication.

melatonin sleeping pills
 Is Supplemental Melatonin Effective?​

The Science

Beneficial for children

In a promising study on children with pediatric sleep disorders, the kids that were given exogenous melatonin were found to have improvements in sleeping quality (42)

Efficacious for insomniacs

In a study on a slow-release form of melatonin, the results concluded that it had a positive impact on life quality for insomnia patients. (43)

Positive mental health implications

In a study by the French Institute Of Medical Research On Sleep, they found that by supplementing with even small doses of melatonin, patients with stabilized psychiatric disorders were found to not only have improved sleeping quality (especially in those with delayed sleep phase syndrome) but also had measurable improvements in mood disorder manifestations. (44)

strong arm
Is Melatonin Safe?
Are There Dangers?

There may be some side effects 

Although melatonin is generally considered quite safe for repeated use, some people may develop effects such as dizziness, headaches, and nausea.

Many recommendations suggest trying small doses at night in order to initially assess tolerance.

Another side effect is drowsiness but given that the vast majority of people are taking it for the express purpose of falling asleep, it's hard to understand how this would not be considered a sought-after effect.

Interactions

Some melatonin supplements may negatively interact with other medications such as anticoagulants and anti-platelet drugs, some diabetes medications, limited contraceptive drugs, immunosuppressants, and possibly anticonvulsants.

Please read warning labels thoroughly.

Health benefits - Anticancer

As well as being a godsend for shift workers, travelers, insomniacs, and anyone wanting to fall asleep, melatonin has been shown to have some beneficial health properties such as a study that shows some very positive anti-cancer effects that stem from its hindrance of epigenetic alteration and the concomitant metastasis that can occur. (45)

 

Fertility

There is also some evidence to suggest that exogenously taken melatonin may have a positive effect on men's fertility.

A Chinese study presented the conclusion that melatonin's strong antioxidant and anti-apoptotic properties directly led to protective effects on immature testicular tissue freshness and activity maintenance and the preservation of sperm and spermatogonial stem cells (46)

So, to summarize:

> Melatonin can help you fall asleep and slow-release can keep you asleep longer

> It's mostly safe with apparently mild side effects and a few drug interaction warnings

> Melatonin may have several other health benefits

AJ's Biohack Rating:​​

[9.7/10]

AJ uses melatonin for falling asleep

AJ Says:

"I use melatonin periodically when my sleep schedule is broken and I know I need to nap quickly.   I know a few biohacker who take it regularly just for the health benefits ".

Now, last but not least, the number one way to biohack your sleep...

1. Reduce EMF & RF

Electro magnetic field and radio frequency
Reduce Electromagnetic Fields & Radio Frequency 

Ultimate Sleeping Disruptors

When tech goes terribly wrong

EMFs & RFs (electromagnetic fields and radio frequencies) have the potential to drastically affect your ability to not only fall asleep but also to enjoy restful, deep, quality sleep.

Technology is omnipresent

We live in a day and age where the internet, computers, and smartphones are pretty much a necessity, and chances are you wouldn't be reading this information right now without wifi and the use of some device that has an internet feed.

Not only can technology addiction keep you awake when you should be in bed, but it may also be even far more sinister than you imagined.

Tech + Wifi

Your wifi and your devices are probably playing a role in disturbing your sleeping efforts without you even knowing it... Until now.

Let us take a closer look at how we can still use tech without the downsides...

Insomnia causing wifi signals
What Is Wifi?​

Is It Dangerous?

RF radiation

Wifi is a form of electromagnetic radiation called radiofrequency (RF) energy and the specific type of radiation is what is called non-ionizing. 

What does non-ionizing mean?

Ionizing is the dangerous type that can remove electrons from atoms which can cause many nasty effects to human beings under certain levels of exposure which we needn't go into here because that's not what we're dealing with.

Non-ionizing radiation (the wifi kind) does not pose the danger that the ionizing variety can because it lacks the frequency intensity of the higher modulating wave types. (47)

Does that mean non-ionizing radiation is safe, though?

It seems that it's not provably unsafe.  If that is what you'd consider being acceptable.  

Exposure to larger emitters of RF energy (as in sizable radar transmitters) seems to be the only real danger. (48)

Wifi definitely wouldn't fall under that category and would appear to be contingently safe, though long-term tests are still inconclusive on a low-level, long-time exposure.

Wifi does seem okay from the available evidence

What we do know is that wifi definitely doesn't contain the DNA altering harmful ionizing radiation, so don't worry.

But it may disrupt sleep...

Couple asleep together
Does Wifi Affect Sleeping?​

The Science

The real harm may be to your sleep

The relatively harmless non-thermal radiofrequency (RF) energy that wifi does emit may actually confuse your brain into misinterpreting the day/night cycle.

It works the same way artificial light does by confusing the brain as to the time of day, ergo; disrupting melatonin production.

Brain stimulation affects sleeping

Your brain may identify a certain level of stimulation created by wifi signals and misperceive it as being actual light.  This is the problem, especially from the more powerful 4G and 5G network signals. (49) 

Fighting the sleeping disruptions of wifi

This misrecognition of radiofrequency as light has the potential to affect sleep so it may be prudent to do the following:

bedroom door
Countering Wifi

Keeping It Out Of Your Bedroom​

It may be hard to keep wifi on but out

Chances are you don't have industrial-grade metal bunker walls and doors.  This means you're going to have to turn off your modem in order to counter its effects.

Turn wifi off at night

Turn off your wifi modem at home before bed.  Then you'll just turn it on in the morning and be on your merry way.  It might be a mild inconvenience but if it helps you to fall asleep easier then it's surely worth it.

Don't forget your phone

You should remember to switch your phone to airplane mode before bed, especially if you choose to keep your phone in your bedroom.

So, that wifi, now let's turn our attention to EMFs...

EMF- electro-magnetic-fields
What Is An EMF?

Is It Dangerous?

The truth about EMF

EMF stands for electromagnetic fields.  The truth is these are everywhere and the overwhelming majority of the ones you are being exposed to are natural and have nothing to do with technology at all.

The earth, sun, and other planets all emit an electromagnetic field.  

Just like RF (radiofrequency), which was discussed above, EMFs can emit high-level or low-level radiation.  There's also the question of long-term exposure as well.

Do tech devices emit dangerous EMFs?

Maybe.   The evidence is inconclusive.  A study on mobile cell phones and brain tumors seems to suggest no danger. (50)

On the other hand, the International Agency For Research On Cancer classifies EMF as 2B: Possibly carcinogenic to humans. (51)

Get rid of tech at night

With long-term exposure being both a possible threat and an unknown quantity, it would seem prudent to err on the side of caution.  Especially at night when asleep and there's absolutely no need to exposure to localized EMF producing technology.

wifi tower
Can EMFs Affect Sleeping​

The Science

A resounding yes!

In a study of twenty-four young males of good health, a study found that exposure to 60 Hz, 28.3 μT magnetic fields had a disturbing effect on their sleep. (52)

What Does This Mean?

The corollary that could be taken from this study is that a certain amount and wavelength of EMF frequency can upset your sleeping patterns so the smart thing to do is remove electrical devices from your bedroom and eliminate the problem at the source.

Tech keeps losing

It's already been discussed here that tech in the bedroom is a distraction that can prevent good sleep discipline.  The case for diode lights and noise emission has been made pretty clear.

Now it seems that even if EMFs are not harmful (which they might be), they probably affect sleeping quality, sleepiness, and diurnal pattern recognition.

Low tech - Analog alarm clock
Countering EMFs

Find Tech Alternatives For Your Bedroom​

Taking preventative cautions

So, you've decided to get rid of electrical devices from your bedroom - Now What?

Well, there are alternatives to your alarm clock for one.   Remember analog clocks?  The good news is you can still buy them even now.   Just wind them up and the alarm will wake you at your designated time setting.

Batteries

Go battery-powered.  Batteries fly under the EMF radar enough that they won't contribute to sleep loss.  I'm talking about smaller device batteries NOT your laptop.

Basically, if it plugs into a wall or can be charged, take it out of your bedroom.

It's really not that hard to get rid of those electromagnetic fields that are possibly upsetting your perfect night of rest as well as other health risks.   Be proactive!

EMF meter

A great device to check EMFs is an EMF meter which can be purchased online.

Using one of these can help detect safe levels of EMF distribution throughout your bedroom or your house.

The Ultimate Bedroom Biohack

Some very proactive, maybe even obsessive biohackers go as far as to build their bedroom with NO electrical outlets whatsoever, preferring to go completely tech-free in the bedroom and spend the entire night absent of RF & EMF waves.  

 

It's an interesting idea and one that I would give serious consideration to if building a home.

 

How far you take it is up to you but now you know how these things can affect your precious nighttime slumber.

So, to summarize:

> RF & EMF waves confuse your body as to what time of day it is.

> RF & EMF waves might be dangerous long-term

> It's relatively easy to turn off wifi and take the tech out of the bedroom

AJ's Biohack Rating:​​

[9.9/10]

AJ banning wifi from the bedroom

AJ Says:

"Wow. That was a lot of biohacks.  Thanks for making it this far and I hope this guide really helps you take a looking at sleeping in a whole new light.   

 

Please do comment below if you found this useful and what your favorite biohack was ".

Did You Find Something Useful?​

That's a lot of information.  Hopefully, you'll get some real value out of these sleeping changes you can make.

A lot of these biohacks are pretty actionable, so, you can start using them straight away without requiring too much setup or cost.  Some of them are a little more complex and may require purchases.

It's up to you

Remember - You don't have to implement every single sleeping strategy in this guide, straight away or at all.   You have the latitude to try one at a time and see what works and I really hope you do.

If you enjoyed this guide to better sleep and want to learn more really useful biohacks then be sure to check out our other pages on Improve Evolve.

Please do take the time to show your support for our website by following us on social media. 

Knowledge Is Key

Knowing that the amount of sleep each person needs varies considerably, you have to self-evaluate how you feel after sleeping to really know whether you got enough.


Understanding the importance of high-quality rest can be a motivating factor in establishing a solid sleeping routine and perhaps even stretching oneself to create a sleep plan.

 

Natural remedies
There are many natural ways to enable you to fall asleep and as we established, you have a few options to help you.


Medications exist, but they also come with some side effects which have to be considered.

If you have trouble sleeping and think it's affecting your health, please consider visiting your doctor.


The information herein contained in this article is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness or complaint, please seek professional medical advice.

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this article is offered for informational purposes only.  This information is not intended for the purpose of diagnosing or treating ailments and should you wish to seek such advice, please contact an appropriate medical professional.

 

30 Amazing Sleep Biohacks

The Definitive Guide To  Biohacking Your Sleep

By:

AJ James

AJ James Biohacker & Founder Of Improve Evolve

Biohacker​ & Founder 

IMPROVE EVOLVE

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram

What Are Your Thoughts?

Comment Below:

Subscribe To My Newsletter

Get new, fresh biohacks delivered straight to your email

Don't miss out on a single life-changing biohack ever again...

SUBSCRIBE
White arrow
 Improve Evolve - Biohacking With AJ James.  2020 - All Rights Reserved

Biohacking Dictionary​