First, a quick explanation of biohacking. Here, we are referring to the philosophy of viewing your body as a system, and ‘hacking’ that system to get the highest level of performance possible using science. There are several ways that you can engage in this form of biohacking. Some of the most common involve nutrition, physical fitness, and sleep. Here, we’re going to address the latter.
Sleep is undoubtedly one of the most important things we do. Without quality, restorative sleep, we simply cannot function. It only makes sense to target sleep in any effort to improve your overall well being.
Whether you have difficulty falling asleep, wake too often, suffer from a sleep disorder, or simply don’t feel rested, keep reading. These biohacks can help you get the most out of your sleep.
Keep The Room Temperature Cool
A cooler room temperature can lead to better sleep. Ideally, this is between 60 and 67 degrees fahrenheit, certainly no more than 70 degrees. Lowering your bodies temperature helps signal that it’s time to fall asleep. In fact, if you’re interested in biohacking insomnia, start with this tip. Many sufferers report better sleep after cooling things down. Of course, this makes sense. Have you ever experienced the misery of sleeping in an unairconditioned room in the summer?
If you have trouble adjusting to a colder room, don’t turn up the thermostat. Instead, grab an extra blanket. Of course, you may find yourself kicking it off late at night.
There is one way that heat can improve sleep. Spend some time in a hot tub, sauna, bath, or shower a couple of hours before bedtime. By raising your body temperature then, you will cause it to lower as you get ready for bed. That temperature drop also signals your body to get ready for sleep.
Cold room temps are great for sleep. Cold feet are not. Try wearing a pair of socks to sleep. You may sleep better throughout the night.
Red Light Blue Light
It turns out that the kind of light you’re exposed to can have a significant impact on your sleep. While blue light can disturb sleep and cause all sorts of other issues, red light therapy can help improve your sleep.
What is Blue Light?
Many illuminated devices, such as phone screens use blue light because it’s easy to produce and environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, it can also cause sleep disturbances. So much so that you might consider banning these devices from your bedroom entirely. It turns out that blue light can disrupt your circadian rhythms, and reduce your body’s ability to produce the sleep hormone melatonin. If nothing else, stay away from blue light emitting devices at least an hour before you go to bed.
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Getting Better Sleep Through Red Light Therapy
While blue light can keep you up, red light can help you obtain better, more restful sleep. Red light has a lower ‘color temperature’, helps your body to produce melatonin naturally, and has been proven to improve sleep quality. Try some red spectrum bulbs in your bedroom. To enjoy even more benefits, try a red light therapy kit.
Speaking of Lights: Remove All Sources of Light From Your Bedroom
Light therapy is great before you sleep, but when it comes time to hit the hay, no light is best. Keep your room as dark as possible to get the best sleep. Turn off all lights, get black out curtains if outside light is an issue, and consider a sleep mask to block all sources of light. You’ll sleep much better in these conditions, and wake feeling more rested.
Biohacking Nighttime Wakefulness
You go to sleep easily, but wake up frequently during the night. That’s no good. Disruptions like this disturb your sleep cycle. You won’t feel rested, and that can impact your cognitive function. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do.
First, let’s deal with one of the most common causes of this; nightly trips to the bathroom. One solution is simple enough, but you have to adjust to it. Stop drinking fluids a couple of hours before you go to sleep. Don’t worry. As long as you drink an adequate amount of water during the day, you should be fine. Then, go to the bathroom before you hit the sack. Yes, even if you don’t ‘have to go’.
Finally, get in some protein a few hours before you go to bed. This is can spur your body to produce sleep enhancing serotonin and melatonin. Are you an athlete? Then you have one more reason to eat a protein-filled snack before you sleep. It’s been proven to improve your body’s ability to recovery from intense workouts while you sleep.
Using Your Diet to Hack Your Sleep
There are many arguments to be had on the topic of carbs and overall health. When it comes to sleeping, it appears as if you should avoid unhealthy carbs at dinner time. If you eat carbs with a high glycemic index, you may find that it’s difficult to go to sleep. On the other hand, adding in healthy carbs with a lower glycemic index can help you fall asleep. Try replacing white rice and pastas with potatoes, vegetables, and whole fruit.
Are you ever tempted to grab one last snack, just before you lay down? Try to break that habit. The blood sugar spike and digestion process can keep you up, even after you go to bed.
If It’s Good For You It’s Probably Good For Your Sleep
Fortunately, there are a lot of biohacks that are just common sense lifestyle changes that are good for you in so many ways, both physically and mentally. These include:
- Ditching recreational drugs and alcohol
- Reducing caffeine consumption
- Turn off your tv
- Read something uplifting
- Try relaxation CDs or an app
- Keep a journal to get those racing thoughts out of your brain and onto the page
Think of your sleep as a puzzle to solve. Try the hacks here to see if one is the key to getting the sleep you need to be at your best.