When’s the last time you woke up without an alarm? When’s the last time you woke up feeling refreshed and energized for the day ahead? If you’re like the majority of Americans, the answer to both questions is probably “not in a very long time”. At least one-half of American adults say they suffer from insomnia and two-thirds say they get less sleep than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night. So, what’s the solution?
No, it’s not sleeping pills! Nearly nine million Americans report using prescription sleeping pills, but those come with a laundry list of side effects. Plus, they mask the underlying reason you can’t sleep in the first place. There are MUCH better ways to get the sleep you need.
Are you ready to sleep better?
WHY SLEEP MATTERS SO MUCH
Our lives are a constant repetition of hustle and go. We never stop and slow down and it affects our sleep. What’s the big deal about that? The big deal is this – good, quality sleep carries a ton of restorative benefits such as:
- Aiding muscle recovery
- Protecting your heart
- Boosting life longevity
- Improving brain function
- Balancing hormones
- Fighting fat
In fact, when it comes to fighting fat, a University of Chicago study found that even with a calorie-restricted diet, the group of participants who slept 8.5 hours a night as opposed to 5.5 hours lost 55% of body fat! Sleep is serious business.
WHAT IS BIOHACKING?
If you read our last blog, then you have an idea of what biohacking is and learned ways to biohack your brain for optimal health and wellness. If you didn’t, here’s the short explanation of biohacking:
Biohacking is DIY biology. This means making small, incremental diet and/or lifestyle changes in order to make improvements in your health and well-being.
There are lots of ways to biohack and many uses for it (brain health, better sleep, weight loss, and more!). Read on for a list of ways to biohack your way to a better night’s sleep!
BIOHACKS FOR OPTIMAL SLEEP
These science-backed sleep hacks will help you fall asleep faster and deepen the sleep that you’re already getting.
- Ditch the light: If you’re going to try only one sleep hack, this is the one. And while you may think we’re only talking making sure your bedroom is nice and dark each night – which IS important, we recommend blackout curtains! – what we’re talking about most here is BLUE LIGHT. As in, the light from computer, tablet, and phone screens. Did you know that blue light lowers melatonin up to 50%? And since melatonin helps regulate the sleep cycle, that’s an issue if you’re watching a screen right before bed. Stop telling your brain that it’s still daytime and do the following – 1) unplug unnecessary electronics in the bedroom, 2) shut down electronic devices AT LEAST 30 minutes before bed (but optimally up to two hours before), and 3) decrease the blue light on your phone by increasing the warm light setting. Or get yourself a pair of blue-light blocking glasses. Trust us, you’ll sleep MUCH better.
- Heal your gut, heal your sleep: Did you know we have 400x more melatonin in our gut than our brain? But the bacteria in our gut also interferes with the melatonin. What to do? Eat prebiotic foods and foods high in sleep nutrients! (like magnesium & potassium).
- Physical Activity: Exercise can help you fall asleep BUT you need to do it at the right time. Doing strenuous exercise within 2 hours of going to bed will only increase the time it takes to fall asleep. But, studies show that morning exercise can help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.
- Time your caffeine intake: The reason why you shouldn’t over caffeinate or drink caffeinated beverages too close to bed? It takes 72 hours to “detoxify” that caffeine from your system! So if you are going to have caffeine, try to do it before 2 PM if you typically go to bed before midnight.
- Binaural beats: What are binaural beats? Sound wave therapy! How does it work? Essentially, you wear earbuds or headphones so that your right and left ears are listening to two different frequency tones (but will perceive them as one). And that helps how? Studies have found that listening to binaural beats affects 3 main hormones: DHEA, cortisol, and melatonin. 68% of study participants had higher levels of DHEA, responsible for how a person ages and resists disease, after using binaural beats. 70-80% of participants had LOWER levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. And melatonin was increased up to 97% with the use of binaural beats. You can find beats to use pretty much anywhere – Spotify, YouTube, etc.
- The perfect bedroom: Besides blocking out light in the bedroom, remember to also 1) block as much sound as possible, 2) regulate body temperature by dressing appropriately for bed and keeping your room cool & comfortable, 3) have a comfortable mattress that offers support, and 4) have a mattress and linen that minimize toxins, reduce the spread of bacteria and help prevent dust mites.
READY FOR BETTER SLEEP?
Now, you’re ready to biohack your way to better sleep! The key is starting with one area and making changes, then moving on to add more. If you want more info on healing your gut or personalized suggestions for better sleep, I’m here for you. Contact me to set up your free consult HERE. Here’s to a good night’s sleep and better health!