Biohacking sounds a bit futuristic, but it can be a really simple way to improve your life. It could be as simple as taking a walk in nature, to something as extreme as having a computer chip implanted into your hand.
But if you’ve never heard of it before and haven’t got a clue how it works, fear not. We’re about to tell you everything there is to know about biohacking, and how you can use it to biohack your way to a better night’s sleep.
What is biohacking?
Biohacking is a “do-it-yourself” biology usually made up of small and incremental lifestyle changes to boost your health and wellbeing – maybe that’s for your diet, physical performance, mental health or sleep. But it’s not as complicated as it sounds, some biohacking techniques have been around for centuries, such as meditation and intermittent fasting.
Think of it as a sort of trial and error way to see what techniques and foods work best for your mind and body. And with so many technologies for biohacking now available, it’s easier than ever to biohack your way to a better life.
Why should you biohack your sleep?
Getting a good night’s sleep is the key to increased focus and performance, better health, a lower risk of chronic diseases, and even more radiant skin. But sleepless nights are common.
It’s thought that half of UK adults don’t get the right amount of sleep, with over 20% getting less than 5 hours a night. And with experts recommending you should get between 7–8 hours a night, there’s a whole host of reasons you should improve your sleep.
6 benefits of biohacking your sleep
- It regulates your body clock
Your circadian rhythm – known to most of us as your body clock – regulates everything in your body from your mood, hormones, energy levels, heart rate, blood pressure and even when you feel hungry during the day.
If your rhythm is off, the side effects are not fun, to say the least. You can expect to experience insomnia, fatigue, appetite loss and a dip in your mental and physical wellbeing.
- A good night’s sleep is essential for supporting your immune system
Even as you sleep your immune system is working hard to keep your body performing at its best.
While you’re getting that well-needed shut-eye, your body is removing waste products from your cells and creating proteins to target infection and inflammation. So it’s no wonder that sleep deprivation will have a knock-on effect.
- Sleep is your most powerful anti-ageing tool
Beauty sleep isn’t just an expression. We’ve all woken up with dark circles and puffiness after a bad night’s sleep, but it’s so much more than that.
As you snooze, your body enters its repair mode, boosting collagen production and blood flow, as well as repairing damage from UV exposure and other environmental aggressors.
- Better sleep improves your mental clarity & focus
It’s probably no surprise that getting the optimum amount of sleep will improve your focus. Improve the quality of your sleep and you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and energised for the day. This boost in energy will enhance your concentration and cognitive function, leading to better physical and mental performance.
- So it also means you’ll also be more productive too
Of course, with higher energy levels, you’re bound to do more work. Whether that’s being more productive at the office or actually having the energy to hit the gym before or after work. You’ll no longer need those 10 cups of coffee a day to function!
- And it can help to prevent weight gain
Getting your 7–8 hours of sleep won’t mean you’ll wake up 10 pounds lighter, but it can stop you from putting on weight. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces a hormone called ghrelin which boosts your appetite, while also decreasing the production of leptin which tells your brain that you’re full. That sounds like a bad combination for snacking to us!
How to biohack your sleep
These are our top tips for biohacking your way to a better night’s sleep:Get the light right
Light pollution at night can seriously disrupt your sleep, sending signals to your brain that it should be awake. Using a sleep mask is a clinically proven way to biohack your sleep quality.
The Dr. Harris Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask is made from a light-blocking Mulberry silk blend, shielding your eyes from this light to improve your sleep. And it’s clinically proven to increase emotional relaxation by 67%, meaning you’ll fall asleep quicker too.
No caffeine after 2pm
If you’re someone who likes to top up their caffeine intake at 4pm, you might want to think twice. A study showed that having a cup of coffee 6 hours before bed can shave an hour off your rest.
Have a power down hour
At least 30 minutes before bed – but ideally 60 minutes – switch off your mobile phone, TV and any other electronics. It’ll stop you from scrolling social media or catching up on emails, and stop blue light from interrupting your sleep too. Instead, do something relaxing like read a book or meditate to calm your mind.
Prep your bedroom
Tidy up to declutter your space and your mind, crack open a window to keep your body temperature cool, and use moisture-wicking fabrics – like silk, cotton or linen to keep you comfortable while you sleep.
Biohacking is all about listening to your body and finding what works for you. The tips we’ve listed above are a great starting point for biohacking your sleep. You may find you don’t need to do them all to improve your sleep, or you may need to do more.
Either way, it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself at the beginning to get the optimum 7 hours. It definitely won’t help you get that much-needed shut-eye! But even if you only manage an extra 30 minutes in bed to start with, it’s still a step in the right direction to boost your sleep, and in turn, your physical and mental wellbeing.