We’ve all heard how important sleep is for our overall health. Nothing’s better than waking up from a solid eight hours, feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. On the other side of the coin, nothing’s worse than waking up from a bad sleep or a bout of insomnia, where you’re tossing and turning, racking your brain, wondering why you can’t get those “z”s like you used to. With 37% of Brits having experienced insomnia, there are many factors that go into a good night’s sleep, from melatonin levels to diet to lighting levels in the bedroom. People everywhere are starting to use “bio-hacking” to fix their sleep, which is the management of one’s personal biology using an approach that employs a combination of nutritional, medical and even electronic solutions. Here are some easy “bio” sleep hacks to help you finally get the rest you deserve:
1. Grounding: one of the best insomnia hacks out there
Grounding is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the act of standing, sitting or lying on natural ground. The earth has a calming energy that can be felt throughout your entire body. There are many “grounding” products on the market today, from electric grounding mats to bracelets. A lot of people have sworn by these devices and claim that the calming energy puts them right to sleep.
2. Sleep in a pitch black room
It’s a proven fact that melatonin levels are greatly affected by light exposure. It’s actually been found that exposure to light while sleeping can reduce melatonin production by 50% (1). Get some blackout curtains or wear a sleep mask to make sure you’re sleeping in absolute darkness.
3. Avoid bright lights before bed
It’s also been found that exposure to light before bed can cut 90 minutes off of your melatonin production cycle (1). If you’re the type of person who likes to play around on your phone or computer before bed, know that the exposure to extremely bright lights can put a huge damper on your sleep hacking efforts.
4. Biohacking sleep is simple when you drop the caffeine
This might be an obvious one, but don’t consume any sort of caffeine before bed. In fact, if you’re having sleep troubles, it might be a good idea to drop it all together.
Caffeine is scientifically proven to hinder sleep because it is stimulant that blocks adenosine from reaching the brain. Adenosine is a natural chemical within our bodies that builds up during the day to make us drowsy at night. Caffeine is great for that daytime pick up that makes us feel more wakeful and alert but it starts to have an impact on sleep if consumed after 6pm.
Opt for de-caf later on in the day and you’re bio-hacking your way to better sleep.
5. Going to bed before midnight is a great sleep hacking technique
Your body starts to naturally releases cortisol after 11:00pm (2), so making sure you’re in bed before the stress wave hits will ensure that you’re not kept up because of the natural surge of cortisol that occurs. Cortisol isn’t great for sleep - it’s created under stress conditions, providing the body with glucose.This energy can helps put us in ‘fight or flight’ mode. However, elevated cortisol over the long term consistently produces glucose, leading to increased blood sugar levels, inhibiting sleep.
Naturally lower your cortisone levels by limiting alcohol, sugar intake, trans fats and highly refined carbs whilst upping your lean protein and healthy fats intake.
You can also try deep breathing exercises before bed and acupuncture.
6. Exercise in the morning, not at night
You know that burst of energy you feel after a good workout? Save it for the morning. Exercising stimulates the mitochondria which are tiny organs located in our cells responsible for energy production (3). Exercising at night might cause your body to produce too much energy, causing you to toss and turn all night. It’s better to exercise in the morning when you actually “need” a boost in energy.
7. Turning your phone on airplane mode is one of the most effective sleep hacks around
EMF waves are becoming a huge health concern (4). As wifi networks become larger and more powerful, our bodies are having trouble adjusting. Any sort of device that uses wifi can affect your sleep patterns and cancel out any attempts at sleep hacking. If you sleep with your phone on right beside your bed, stop! Turn it on airplane mode or better yet, keep it downstairs.
8. Looking for hacks to fall asleep faster? Try eating one spoonful of raw honey before bed
Your brain uses a lot of energy at night and depends on the glycogen stored in your liver for fuel. Give your brain a little bit of extra power by consuming a spoonful of raw honey before bed.
9. Take your sleep hacking to the next level and download the Flux app
Flux is a free app (5) that you can download onto your phone or computer that mimics the natural setting of the sun and blocks the blue light emitted from your screen which has been shown to have a worst effect on melatonin production than red light (6). So if you absolutely HAVE to look at your phone before bed, it won’t be as bright and blue.
10. Make sleep hacking easy with Passionflower tea
Passion flower is known to calm the nerves and reduce anxiety. If your brain tends to go a mile a minute, try a little passionflower tea before bed and see how quickly it calms you down.
11. Insomnia hacks got nothing on Chamomile
You can’t beat the classics. Chamomile has been around for centuries and is easily one of the most popular herbs for sleep on the market today. Try sipping some chamomile tea before bed, or...pop a Neuro Rest (which features Chamomile powder) you’ll notice a wave of calm wash over you.
12. Try ASMR
ASMR stands for “autonomous sensory meridian response”. There are millions of ASMR videos on YouTube that you can easily download and listen to through your headphones. These videos send comforting sounds like whispering and light scratching through your headphones, which then produce tingling and relaxation in the body. It sounds a little nutty, but there are definitely crazier sleep hacks out there! It really does work. Try it!
13. Biohacking sleep is a cinch with the right
Magnesium supplements Supplements are popular option for biohacking sleep. That’s because Studies show that Magnesium, when at the right dose, is a potent aid to help you get to sleep quicker, sleep longer, and sleep through the night without waking up. If you’re feeling anxious, magnesium can help with that too. Many people swear by their bedtime dose of magnesium for a calm, relaxing night’s sleep. When you are low in magnesium, you may struggle to sleep, get muscle twitches and mental disorders such as anxiety.
There are 9 types of magnesium all with different benefits to treat different problems. It’s important to choose the right Magnesium mix for sleep. We recommend:
- Magnesium oxide
- Magnesium Citrate, and
- Magnesium Bis Glycerate
Magnesium oxide provides the most elemental magnesium, but has a lower absorption rate. Magnesium citrate is absorbed very easily. Magnesium Bis-Glycinate, meanwhile, has the highest bioavailability of all the forms of magnesium provides a high level of absorption so that the effects are felt faster. Together, these magnesiums work synergistically to aid sleep
14. Biohacking sleep is a breeze when you run a fan in your room
Any sort of white noise is known to help sleep (7). If you live in a noisy city or loud apartment complex, running a fan or white noise machine can help to cancel out any sudden noises. The fan also cools the room which is like two sleep hacks in one!
15. Try showering at night
Have you ever heard the term “shower thoughts”? Why is it that we seem to get all of our best ideas in the shower? Well, it’s because by being in the hot steam of the shower, we’re activating our parasympathetic nervous system (AKA rest and digest). Our body lets go, and our brain starts to go into an “alpha state”, which is the perfect state to fall asleep in.
16. Avoid alcohol before bed is crucial for sleep hacking
Alcohol requires a lot of processing by the liver. Having a drink or two before bed can calm the nerves, but you’ll find that later on in the night, you’ll be kept awake by your system working in overdrive to process the toxicity of the alcohol. Herbal tea and warm milk is a much better choice.
17. Avoid heavy meals before bed
For those of you who have sensitive nerves, a heavy meal can set off anxiety throughout the night. As your body is processing this heavy meal, you might get the sweats and even heart palpitations. Stop eating at 8:00pm to give your body time to process your meal and only go for light snacks before bed.
18. Don’t go to bed angry: one of the most effective sleep hacks out there
If there’s something on your mind, there’s no way you’re getting to sleep. Talk your issue out with a friend or loved one before going to bed, otherwise you’ll be thinking about it all night.
19. Eat a lot of snacks throughout the day
Keeping your blood sugar balanced and in check is crucial for a good night’s sleep. Going too long without eating can cause your body to flood with cortisol, which can in turn cause racing thoughts, heart palpitations and a general feeling of anxiety. Keep the snacks flowing and you’ll be sleeping in no time.
20. Journal before bed
Writing down your thoughts as well as any tasks you need to do the next day can really help to clear your mind. Put your pen to paper and just let it all flow out. Now your mind can focus on what really matters... sleep.
21. Finally, take a natural sleep aid supplement
Natural sleep aids, such a Neuro Rest are highly effective and become even more so when combined with sleep hygiene practices for long term sleep health. These sleep hacks paired with Neuro Rest (that includes compounds like magnesium, l-tryptophan, 5-HTP and Montmorency cherries) will help you fall back into a healthy sleep pattern. Neuro Rest is formulated by biochemists and utilises naturally sourced vitamins and minerals that are crucial for sleep.
Visit the Utmost Me Sleep Blog for more articles on everything related to sleep; from bedtime routines to sleep nutrition.