Biohacking Sleep with Lighting, Beverages and Mindset

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Sleep hacking

A sleep hack worth well worth a download is the Sleep Cycle app

Supplements

The most popular sleep supplement is probably Melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that naturally is supposed to put you to sleep, but supplementing Melatonin has some real downsides; if you use it nightly you’ll become dependent upon it to get to sleep.

  • Don’t use more than 10 milligrams

Ashwagandha is the notable Melatonin alternative

It’s an adaptogenic herb that naturally regulates down the autonomic nervous system. Hard working professionals are often plagued by bad sleep as their nervous systems are overactive when they should be winding down from a demanding day. At least 6 scientific papers identify Ashwagandha as a sleep hack.

  • Dosage: as low as 500 or 800 milligrams helps some people relax BUT some people need as much as 3–4 grams of the stuff to reach tranquility. It’s a natural herb that is fine to take at higher dosages.

Red strains of Kratom

This relatively benign opioid herb will really relax you before bed. I love to sip some Kratom tea while reading in the evening before bed. When I had it, I’d use it once or twice a week before bed.

Phenibut

I’ve had some of the best sleep of my life on this Gabaergic stuff! But it doesn’t work as consistently as the other sleep hacks. If you use this stuff about once a week 500–1500 milligrams will be awesome for your social life, your stress or your sleep. Use it more frequently and it will lose its luster for you!

Before Bed Beverage regime

What I’m drinking actually has a noticeably relaxing effect on putting me to sleep, especially these beverages…

  • 1–2 hours before bed Ashwaganda, Chamomile or Valerian tea
  • 15–30 minutes before bed Apple-cider vinegar tea — 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of raw organic honey

Orange Sunglasses

Wifi

Is bad for sleep quality. Turn off your laptop’s wifi off and put your smartphone on airplane mode. If you want to automate this connect your wifi router to a power outlet with a timer so your wifi automatically shuts off at 11:00PM or about an hour before bed time.

Sleep mask and Earphones

Are good ideas to improve sleep quality especially if you live in a noisy city. Lifehacker extraordinaire Tim Ferriss called this as the most comfortable and effective sleep mask.

Lighting & Screens

Make a big difference to your sleep quality and health in general. Just as we avoid junk food, we also want to avoid junk light. There’s two main kinds of light you want to avoid (especially after dark):

Blue light and fluorescent light

I really sucked at sleep for about a decade

What should I be thinking about to go sleep?

This was before the age when you could find a really helpful answer to that sort of question by just Googling it.

Non-stimulatory Thinking

Going to sleep you really want to think about things that don’t excite you, ideally you actually want to be a little bored. Which is a little bit counter intuitive to modern life; nowadays everything about life is trying to make sure that we are constantly amused, entertained or enraged. It’s actually really important to spend a little bit of time every day being bored.

Meditation

Reminiscing

  • First dates you’ve been on.
  • Places you traveled on vacations.
  • Lovers you’ve had.
  • Favorite articles of clothing you’ve owned.
  • Video games you used to play.
  • Jobs you’ve worked at.

Visualizing physical action

In your head you can practice the moves of some physical exercise you do; it could be a weight lifting technique, martial arts, yoga, or whatever.
Personally I do salsa and latin dance so in my head going to bed I often practice the latin dance moves I’ve learned recently.

Practicing vocabulary

If you’ve learned a second language; you can think through the vocabulary and grammar you’ve learned. You can try to construct phrases or translate song lyrics that have been in your head.

Audio enablers of slumber

You may find that your mind just keeps defaulting back to more high valence thinking; your inner dialog beats you up about your bad decisions and grapples with the challenges you’ll face tomorrow. What works really well for me is to listen to a podcast or audio book about some subject that’s not very stimulating. In particular…
Stefan Molyneux’s Free Domain Radio — Viewing society, culture and current events through the lens of empirical philosophy.
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History — Really thorough story telling and analysis of major historical events.
Both of these guys have soothing voices and a melodic cadence that will talk you to sleep. I would not listen to a podcast that had a lot of audio effects, jokes or entertainment value while trying to go to bed.
There’s these audio tracks of really soothing music that help some get to sleep, listening to podcasts or audio books has always worked much better for me though.

The Power of Non-stimulatory Thinking

The Smart Device by Johannes Väänänen inventor of the smart phone
  • It turns down the volume of mental static which allows the default network (your subconscious) to deliver up creative solutions to problems to your conscious mind.
  • It allows you to transform information into knowledge; to take the things you hear and see and integrate them into a holistic understanding of the world and your place in it.

How is non-stimulatory thinking done practically?

  • I live downtown and at the end of my work day or sometimes at noon, I’ll just walk around for 10 minutes, taking in the sights and sounds of the city.
  • Reading intentionally and thoroughly. This is the opposite of browsing a Twitter hashtag about the most recent terrorist attack. I try to spend 30 minutes a day reading something dense with the intention of understanding a deeper nuance as opposed to just being amused; usually a none-fiction book about technology, science, history or philosophy.
  • I spend approximately 25% of my workday listening to zero content music; either the lyric free algorithmic music of Brain.FM or classical music. Next to smart drugs this is probably my best biohack for focusing on a project for hours at a time.
  • For many doing exercise, lifting weights or doing yoga alone in silence doubles as a beneficial mindfulness practice.
  • Journaling, the old fashioned way with pen and paper, focuses your problem solving and introspective powers on the important things in your life.
  • If you’re a guy you can do tantric self cultivation, if you’re one half of a couple you can do orgasmic meditation with your partner. More on this in the sex hacking chapter.

To summarize

  • Melatonin is a popular but problematic sleep supplement. Try Ashwagandha instead.
  • Lighting matters; carefully avoid blue light and fluorescent light for several hours before bed if you really want to sleep deeply
  • Non-stimulatory thinking can be a game changer for your sleep. If you suffer from insomnia because thoughts run relentlessly through your head as soon as the lights go out; you’re doing too much stimulatory thinking before bed.
  • It’s important to spend a little bit of time every day being bored.

Next Chapter: The Technology Trap

This is a chapter from my mémoire and lifehacking manifesto.

Order it from Amazon or directly here on my own website

Watch: Book Announcement “How to Be Cross Eyed” My mémoire and lifehacking manifesto

Adventuring philosopher, Pompous pontificator, Writer, K-Selected Biohacker, Tantric husband, Raconteur & Smart Drug Dealer 🇺🇸

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