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BIOHACKING With AJ James

30 Amazing Sleep Biohacks

The Definitive Guide

To Biohacking Your Sleep

The Complete Sleep Resource

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You're Not Alone - A Lot Of People Are Exhausted​

 Biohacking Your Sleep Can Help

Feeling tired? 

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.

 

Age

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.  

 

Tissue repair

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.

Immune issues 

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.

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 seems 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 of 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


Death

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.

Moods

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 to 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?

Weight Gain

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 additional 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) ​

Muscle Loss

Precious Metabolic Loss

 

The horror
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 in 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.

Focus

Waning Concentration

 

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, buts 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?

VERY!  

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.

>>7 Reasons Lack Of Sleep Is Extremely Dangerous << 

 

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 Are The 30 Sleep Biohacks

Let's Biohack Your Sleep

Time To get Started

 

3,2,1

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 an 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​
They're Fantastic

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 my 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 breath 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:​

[7.3/10]

AJ Says:

"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​.   

Increasing popularity

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?​

 Mind Bending Reality

FFR

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.  

Simplified Please?

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.  

Congratulations!

 You've just processed a Binaural Beat in your brain.

How This Can Help Sleep​

Calm Elicitation

Brainwaves

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 for, 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
Confirmed Efficacy

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.

Increased relaxation

The above cited study mentions that the relaxation induced by Binaural Beats may help to elicit sleepiness and help with the initially falling asleep process.

Reduced anxiety

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 the 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:​

[7.5/10]

AJ Says:

"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.

Encroaching technology

Now Bedrooms have TVs laptop computers and some people even have mini-fridges next to their beds - Living the dream right?

Wrong!  

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 a subconscious reasoning takes place at bedtime that connects being in the bedroom to actual sleep.   

Hormonal production

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.

BUT...

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.

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.

Sleep discipline

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 a 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 an 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:​​

[7.7/10] 

AJ Says:

"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

Chill out

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". 

 

Slow down

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

Well, maybe.  

Pre-bed is the time to completely embrace the utter laziness of the cat.

Meditate​

100% Effective

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. 

Slow breathing

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

Neuro-association

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:​

[7.7/10]

AJ Says:

"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

Sleep issues

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. 

Conventional wisdom

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, anytime 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 ans sleep dysfunction.

Some perfectly timed carbs before bed can have an effect that actually can help you fall asleep faster each night.

Portion size

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.

 

Glycemic level

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 more restful sleep.

Carb Biohacks That Lower Blood Glucose​

Clever Tips

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.

1. Cinnamon

By cinnamon, I mean "Ceylon Cinnamon" which is true cinnamon.   This is different to 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.

 3. Cardamon 

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:​

[7.8/10]

AJ Says:

"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

 

Inner calm

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. 

Age-old remedy

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.

Massive popularity

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 Behind Aromatherapy

The Evidence

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. 

Aromatherapy Devices​

Convenient Dispersion

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. 

Water pump

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.

Aromatherapy Cautions​

A Couple Of Small Hazards To Watch For

Electrical hazard

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 include:

Lemongrass oil

Cinnamon Oil

Clove oil

Anybody with extremely sensitive skin may want to avoid these essential oils.

Estrogenic Oils

Any man who values his testosterone (which should be every man) should take care and caution with the following estrogen promoting oils:

Fennel Oil

Aniseed Oil

Sage Oil

Lavender Oil

These may mimic estrogen production which could be 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:​

[7.8/10]

AJ Says:

"This is something that's very easy to implement, has a pretty solid science-backed record, and has a very real rest-inducing effects.

 

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.

Science-backed evidence
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 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​

Extra Perks

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 that 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, 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

Exercise timing

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.

Recommendations

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:​

[7.9/10]

AJ Says:

"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

23. Tryptophan

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 afterwards.

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

Serotonin production 

The reason tryptophan is believed to be an excellent natural sleep aid is because 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.

 

Melatonin Conversion

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:

- Hazelnuts

- Turkey & Chicken

- Cheese

- Beef, Pork, & Lamb

- Whole Eggs

- Tuna, Salmon, & White Fish

- Shellfish

- Oats

Be sure to consume an hour or two before bed to let the tryptophan process.

Supplements

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

Liver disease

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

Kidney disease

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.

 

Other cautions

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:​​

[7.9/10] 

AJ Says:

"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

Be Smart

 

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 in to 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...

Fast 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​

Synergistic Activation

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.  

Synergy

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.

Utilize timing

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:​

[7.9/10]

AJ Says:

"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 biohacked 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.

What Now? 

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.​

Theobromine

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.

Tyramine

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?​

Optimal Timing

This is more dependent on the food source 

It can range anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours.   

 

It really depends on the type 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:​

[7.9/10]

AJ Says:

"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

You're Welcome

 

Good news  

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​

Great News

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 affect 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 know as the "Stress Hormone" or also know 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 Dopaminagenic

Kicking Up The Endorphins

Endorphins improve sleep quality 

Sex helps release dopaminagenic 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

Hormonal relaxation

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 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:​

[8/10]

AJ Says:

"Did I just give you an excuse to have more sex?  I think so.  10/10, Talk about best biohack ever!"

If you enjoyed that then check out Sleep Biohack#19

19. C. R. A

Circadian Rythmn 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. 

Good news

Rising early can help to reset your rhythm and right the wrongs of artificial light. You jsut 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...

Manipulating Melatonin

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 wont help the whole light exposure trick from helping you as much (though, it still works)

Hormonal advantage or disadvantage

You 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 chances 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:​

[8.1/10]

AJ Says:

"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

It's An All Encompassing Term

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.

Bed hygiene

This is a real hidden problem.  People can go 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?

It should!

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.


To Summarize:

>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:​

[8.2/10]

 

 


AJ Says:
“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

Nature's Power-Up

Getting more D Vitamin

Vitamin D is becoming more and more recognized as a super-essential vitamin for its role in many important biological functions.

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

Human diurnality

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.

Circadian rhythm

If you recall in sleep biohack #19, I spoke for 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)

Lack Of Vitamin D Can Affect Sleep

Science Shows Deficiency Hurts 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 in the room you are resting in.

Health Benefits Of "Vitamin" D​

Why It's Not Just Imperative For Rest

 

Bone health

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.

Fat reduction

Vitamin D might help you biohack fat storage with one promising study showing Vitamin D having 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.

Heart health

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.

To Summarize:

> 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:​

[8.3/10]

 

 


AJ Says:
“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?​

Multiple-Sound Devices

They're more common than you might realize

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 to 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?

That Depends

People vary

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.

Lighter sleepers

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:​

[8.3/10]

AJ Says:

"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

 

Age old remedy

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?

 Solid Proof

Sound evidence

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)

Reduced cortisol 

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?​​

Not really.   

 

Cold water can induce the fight or fight 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.

Immediately pre-bedtime

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:​

[8.4/10]

AJ Says:

"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

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 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 recommend 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 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.

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.

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.

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.
 

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]

 

 


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? “

Next up is Sleep Biohack#13

13. Optimal Sleep Positioning

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 in to 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...

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.

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.

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. (12)

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 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 Sleep Biohack#12

12. Control Artificial Light

Light Can Be Your Enemy Or Your Friend

You 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.

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. (13)

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.

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. (14)

 

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.

 

 

 

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 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 which 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. (15)

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 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 for Sleep Biohack#11

11. Thermal Regulation

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 effects of thermal environment on sleep and circadian rhythm, if you're too hot, your body may believe that it's still daytime your and circadian rhythm could be thrown a little out of sorts. (16​) 

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...

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 to 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

A hotter bed = awake people

Let me clarify; it's great to have a cool room but if your bedsheets 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.

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 airconditioning 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.


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

Next up is Sleep Biohack#10

10. Biohack Your Stimulants

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 extremely detrimental to your sleep​.  

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.

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. (17)

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. 

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. (18)

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 help you to rid your body of the negative effects of this stimulant. 

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

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 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 choice are the cause)"

Next up is Sleep Biohack#9

9. The Sleep 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.

 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 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).  (19)


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.

 

 

 

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 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 night time environment

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

AJ's Biohack Rating:​

[8.8/10]

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

8. Reduce 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 it's 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 cheeky photons to prevent us from maximizing the rest we get from a good night's sleep.

What The Science Says On Light Pollution

Light Is 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. (20)

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.

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.

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 no fall back asleep

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

AJ's Biohack Rating:​

[8.8/10]

 

 


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 if sleeping is something of concern (it should be). “

Time to take a look at Sleep Biohack#7

The Definitive Guide To Biohacking Your Sleep

Sleep Biohack #1:

Maximize Bed Comfortability

7. Potassium

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..

How Potassium Affects Sleep 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. (21)

 

Now, loss of sleep is 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.

Sleep-Inducing Neurons

Potassium is responsible in part for the activation of sleep-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)

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. 

 

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. (23)

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 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#6

6. Reduce Noise Pollution

Serious Slumber Stifling

Noise Can Really Suck!

 

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 #16, 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.

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. (24)

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.

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 to not just blocking out light but also towards dampening 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 for the sleeping-deprived souls who would do anything for a better night's rest.

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, 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 Orwelian 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 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 Sleep Biohack#5

5. Magnesium 

Helping Your Muscles Relax

Inducing Somnolence

 

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. (25)

 

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

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.  (26)

Increasing renin levels

Serum magnesium in the blood appears to have blood pressure lowering effects​ 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.


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 had occurred during that particular time, especially if they return to sleep and then happen to wake again. (27)


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

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

Right now it's time to take a look at Sleep Biohack#4

4. L-Theanine

The Sleepy 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...

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 that 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.

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.  (27)

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. (28)

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. (29)

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​

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 low 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 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 Sleep Biohack#3

3. Red Light Therapy

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 sleeping 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 #3 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.

 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. (29)

 

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.

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.

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 with 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 the 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 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 Sleep Biohack #27

2. Herbal Remedies

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

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. (30)

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​

"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 post-pardum women showed that consistent consumption of chamomile tea led to statistically significant increases in sleep quality. (31)

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

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. (32)

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

Hidden gem

This is probably the least well-known of the 4 natural sleep remedies listed here but may still 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. (33)

Consumption

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

A Word On Herbal Sleep Remedies

Budgeting

If 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 Says:
“I've used all of these at some point and definitely use a couple of them semi-regularly “

I do hope you're now ready for the very last sleep biohack . 

Here it is at number 1...

1. Reduce EMF & RF

Reduce Electromagnetic Fields & Radio Frequency 

Ultimate Sleeping Disruptors

When tech goes terribly wrong

EMF's & RF's (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...

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. (34)

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. (35)

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...

 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. (35) 

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:

 

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 EMF's...

What Is An EMF?

Is It Dangerous?

The truth about EMF

EMF stands for electro-magnetic-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), that was discussed above, EMF's can emit high level or low-level radiation.  There's also the question of long term exposure as well.

Do tech devices emit dangerous EMF's?

Maybe.   The evidence is inconclusive.  A study on mobile cell phones and brain tumors seem to suggest no danger. (36)

On the other hand, the International Agency For Research On Cancer classifies EMF as 2B: Possibly carcinogenic to humans. (37)

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.

Can EMF's Affect Sleeping​

The Science

A resounding yes!

In a study of twenty-four young males of good health, a study found that exposure to a 60 Hz, 28.3 μT magnetic fields had a disturbing effect on their sleep. (38)

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 EMF's are not harmful (which they might be), they probably affect sleeping quality, sleepiness, and diurnal pattern recognition.

Countering EMF's

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 night time 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 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 "

30 Amazing Sleep Biohacks

The Definitive Guide

To Biohacking Your Sleep

Phew

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.

 

 

30 Amazing Sleep Biohacks - The Definitive Guide To  Biohacking Your Sleep

By:

AJ James

Biohacker​ & Founder 

IMPROVE EVOLVE

What Are Your Thoughts?

Comment Below:

In Conclusion

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