We spend almost one-third of our lives asleep. Not getting enough sleep can take a toll on our mental and physical health. While short-term insomnia might be something to overlook and not panic about, if the problem prolongs, it could be a warning sign. Lack of sleep or inability to get sound sleep could be an invitation to lower immunity, damage of cells in the body and cardiovascular conditions. So, what is it that you can do to get a good night’s sleep? The answer is – understanding your body, factors that affect sleep quality and biohacking.
How staying up late is affecting you?
Our body replenishes during sleep. It produces proteins, stores energy, and regenerates tissues. Lack of sleep means the body won’t function properly, which might lead to:
Lack of sleep results in the release of cortisol and an increase in C-reactive protein. These can cause inflammation in the body.
Changes in the immune system
When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it causes to lower the white blood cell count. This is an indication of a reduced immune system.
Other health problems
- Increase in systolic blood pressure
- Weight gain
- Body’s urge to consume foods that are high in fat and sugar content increases
- Higher resistance to insulin
- Mental illness such as depression
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Seasonal flu
Why do you face sleep problems?
Blame the changing lifestyle for interrupting with your health and not letting you get a night of sound sleep. Sitting for long hours and excessive use of electronic devices are two primary reasons why individuals are facing sleep issues. A study by the National Sleep Foundation in 2011 revealed that:
- 63 percent of Americans don’t sleep enough during the week
- 15 percent of adults between the age 19-64 said that they sleep for less than six hours on weeknights
- Of these, almost 95 percent used a computer, cellphone or other electronic devices on the majority of days in the week an hour before going to bed.
The reason –
Exposure to artificial light released by gadgets can suppress the release of Melatonin, which is a sleep-promoting hormone.
How to improve sleep quality?
A good night’s sleep results in improved:
- Ability to handle stress
- Capacity to learn new things
- General wellbeing
- Skin quality
- Sports performance
A sleep of 7-8 hours every day is necessary for a sound body and mind. The University of Warwick released an alarming study stating that the risk of mortality is 12 percent higher in individuals who sleep for 6 hours or less than those who get nine hours of sleep.
So, what is it that you can do to ensure better health and wellbeing?
Sleeping pill is usually the first resort for most individuals. That’s why their market is enormous and still growing. What many don’t know is that these pills come with the risk of dependency. Withdrawing them could further lead to tiredness, memory problems, and sleeplessness.
Because sleeping pills do more harm than good, it makes sense to look for safe alternatives. And this brings us to Biohacking – the next big thing in the health and wellness domain.
What is biohacking?
Biohacking is the concept of hacking your body’s biology with the use of science and technology so that you become the best version of yours. It covers everything right from what you eat to your thoughts, routine and surroundings. In short, Biohacking is the fuel you can rely on to improve your life.
How can biohacking help you get better sleep?
Biohacking is all about understanding your body and tapping into its unfound potential. When you know your body better, it gets easier to identify what’s good and bad for it. From biohacking perspective, sleep is one of the critical steps to upgrade yourself. But how to make sure that you get a good sleep every time? Biohacker’s Handbook has the answer to the question. A work of Teemu Arina who is a technology expert, Olli Sovijarvi, a medical doctor, and Jaakko Halmetoja, a nutritional expert – the book weaves together the novel perspective of self-development, technology, and nature. It gets into the details of sleep as an integral part of biohacking, and the ways to ensure your overall health and wellness don’t get hampered by lack of good sleep.
Having said that, let’s look at the ways to ensure you sleep tight. Some of these already covered in the book
Setting up bedroom
Sunlight, LEDs on electronic items and moonlight can disturb sleep. Use blackout curtains and lamps that don’t emit blue light. Also, you can use black adhesive tapes to darken the LEDs of electronic devices.
Pay attention to bed and ergonomics
Mattress and bed materials with low to no breathability could be an ideal breeding ground for allergens. So, opt for mattress and covers made of organic cotton, silk, and wool. Coming to ergonomics, you should sleep without clothes and on your back or right side. Try to sleep without a pillow; else use a pillow that supports the neck.
Checking air quality
Poor indoor air quality can have a severe impact on your respiratory organs, and cause sleep problems. Therefore, you must ventilate the bedroom during the day time, as this will also reduce the possibility of mold growth. In addition to ventilation, use air filters to improve indoor air quality.
What to avoid?
Paying attention to the don’ts is as important as ticking all the columns on your dos checklist.
Say no to any form of caffeine
Try to cut off caffeine intake at least 5-7 hours before the sleep time. For those who are addicted to coffee, tea or energy drinks, taking 1000-2000 mg of vitamin C can help in making caffeine leave body quicker. You can also chew 5-10 pieces of the whole cardamom to resist the temptation.
Limit alcohol consumption
Alcohol can interfere with REM sleep. Limit the consumption of alcohol in late-evening to a maximum of two doses. Also, the time gap between going to sleep and your last glass should not be less than 90 minutes.
Avoid foods with Tyramine
Tyramine can increase the production of noradrenaline – the chemical that boosts the activity of the brain, and could keep you awake for a longer time. So, avoid foods such as chocolate, bacon, spinach, eggplant, potato, wine, cheese, and tomato at dinner.
Do not exercise
Exercise can stimulate the central nervous system and increase body temperature. Therefore, don’t exercise at least 2 hours before going to bed.
Having a deeper understanding of the body can play a pivotal role in improving the quality of sleep. Nowadays, individuals are turning to gadgets to understand their sleep pattern and collect relevant data of their sleep. Analytics, when combined with medical science and nutrition can pave the way for something bigger and better that will let human beings kickstart every morning with great zeal and positivity.
Inquisitive to learn more about biohacking and how it can help you become better? Get your copy of Biohacker’s Handbook today. You can get an additional 10% discount with the code Healthtime at the checkout.