Over the next several weeks we’re going to be talking about different way we can implement biohacking into our lives. Biohacking is a way to change your body, your health and your brain so you can reach your health goals, so you can live longer, have more energy and be happier. Biohacking is about making small adjustments, that support your goals and those small adjustments over time change the chemistry in the body.
It’s important to focus on one thing at a time – focus on that one area for a couple weeks and take note of how you felt before and how your body is responding as you start making these small changes. This will help you to identify where you’re having success and where, potentially, you still need more help. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you, it’s just a matter of figuring out what works for your body and/or brain.
Sleep is so important for your mental health and emotional wellbeing. It’s also when the body clears neurotoxins from the brain that and allows us to store new information, it repairs cells, and, of course, restores energy. Some of us are fortunate enough to not have sleep issues, but the majority of us have had, do have, or will have problems sleeping. So, let’s look at some best practices for setting yourself up to optimize your sleep.
MAKE YOUR ROOM A SANCTUARY:
Reduce Blue Light
Diffuse/Use Essential Oils
Cozy Bedding & Sleep Wear
Soft Music | Noise Machine | Silence
Blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, our naturally occurring sleep hormone, which tells your body it’s tired and needs to sleep. The sun emits blue light, which is why it’s easy to wake up when the sun is shining in the window (hence the potential need for blackout curtains). The easiest way to prevent blue light from weaking havoc on your sleep is to ditch the screens before going to bed. Now experts suggest no blue light 2-3 hours before bed, but I know you might struggle with that. So, start out with 30 minutes and see if you can work your way up. In an effort to help decrease your exposure to blue light before bed, you can try using a blue light blocking glasses or turn your blue light blocker on your phone. Oh, and you can always swap out your mindless scrolling or e-reader for a good old-fashioned book. (*Did you know that I wrote a book? It's call His Body Our Amputation and it's available in paperback, Kindle and Audible on 10/24/22)
One of the easiest things you can do to create a sleepy time ambiance is to use essential oils in a diffuser (aka aromatherapy). The diffuser emits the essential oil aroma into the air, as the scent reaches the brain it triggers the body to relax, which can lead to deeper more sound sleep. There are endless combinations you can use, it's about finding what aromas you like best and what works for you. Try this sleepy time diffuser blend - 3 drops each: doTERRA Peace and doTERRA Balance.
Perhaps you have a partner in your life who isn't a fan of your particular diffuser blend or you’re just not keen on setting the diffuser up every night. In either case you can use essential oils topically to invoke the same reaction. The best application point when using essential oils for sleep are on the bottoms of your feet, in particular the big toe. Try this dreamland blend and let me know what you think! In a 10mL roller bottle add 10 drops each: Vetiver & Lavender and 5 drops each: Frankincense & Cedarwood, then top with carrier oil of choice, like Fractionated Coconut Oil.
The dreamland blend is just one example of a lovely essential oil blend you can try to help support your sleep. If it doesn’t work for you, try something else. Finding the right essential oils for you, whether you use them in the diffuser or create a roller bottle blend can be a fun process. Here are some of the most popular essential oils that have the chemical makeup that are best known for supporting sleep – Vetiver, Lavender, Frankincense, Cedarwood, Copaiba, doTERRA Serenity, and Magnolia.
Did you know that your body cools down as it’s time to go to sleep and warms back up when it’s time to wake up? If the temperature in your bedroom is too warm, it can throw off how you sleep or cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. The optimal sleeping temperature is between 65-70º F. It’s also important to note that your pajamas, sheets, and blankets all affect how you sleep too. Make sure you pay attention to how those things make you feel.
There are foods you can incorporate at dinner or evening snacks, so when it comes to bedtime you can fall asleep and stay asleep. These include bananas, almonds, chickpeas, fish, spinach, milk, and whole grains. Each of these boost your serotonin levels (the precursor to melatonin) which helps you fall asleep faster. So, skip the melatonin gummy and have a banana before bed and see how you feel in the morning.
Exercising during the day can help you fall asleep faster and improve your quality of sleep. You should try to avoid exercising within two hours before bedtime as strenuous activity during that time can stop you from falling asleep, since exercise typically give you a burst of energy that can keep going for a few hours after your workout.
Have you heard of the circadian rhythm? The circadian rhythm is also known as your internal body clock. It’s responsible for making you feel alert and/or sleepy throughout the day. Ideally, you should feel most alert early in the morning and sleepy as it becomes darker and later in the day.
Biohacking Your Circadian Rhythm:
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day
- When you wake up, take a morning walk to get some sunlight on your face
- Try using a sunlight alarm clock that wakes you up with light
- Pop an essential oil combo of citrus and mint into the diffuser to wake up your senses