This blog post will cover tips 4-7 in our Science-Based Biohacks for Optimizing Your Sleep Segment, created by our team physicians. Stay tuned for tips 8-11 in our next post!
Sleep Biohack 4: Work With Your Glymphatic System
While the rest of the body has a lymphatic system to remove toxins, the brain until recently was believed to be without a lymphatic drainage. This is until we discovered what we now call the glymphatic system. Every night, when you sleep, the brain undergoes a detox removing waste materials and accumulated byproducts to help it perform at its peak again the next day. But here's the caveat, this system requires a massive amount of energy and blood flow. To assist your glymphatic system in detoxing your brain and helping yourself perform at your optimal potential, follow these tips:
✔️ Eat your last meal at least 3 hours before bed (otherwise all the blood flow goes to your gut and not your brain)
✔️ Get between 6-8 hours of sleep
Sleep Biohack 5: Sleep Hygiene
One of the easiest ways to set yourself up for great sleep is proper sleep hygiene. Our brains like routine and by creating a regular sleep routine, you can get the best sleep. Take it one step at a time and develop the right environment and routine for deep and rejuvenating sleep. What are key components to incorporate?
✔️ Go to sleep and wake up at a consistent time, even on weekends if possible
✔️ Follow the same routine, whatever it is, the last 30 or so minutes before you sleep
✔️ Put away all electronic devices the last 30 minutes before bed
✔️ End with calming activities like reading, prayer, reflection, journaling, meditation
✔️ Avoid daytime naps (allows adenosine to build up in your brain allowing for a good nights sleep)
✔️ Get physically active throughout the day but avoid exercise a few hours before sleep
✔️ Sleep in a cool environment (promotes better sleep)
✔️Get exposure to sunlight during the day (helps sync circadian clocks with the earth)
Sleep Biohack 6: Develop A Consistent Sleep Ritual
While mentioned previously, the importance of consistency cannot be overstated. When you sleep on a regular schedule, your body and mind are ready as that time rolls around and fully prepared for sleep. This ensures a rejuvenating and healing night of sleep. But always remeber to cut yourself some slack and never get frustrated with yourself for not doing it perfectly! Have fun with this and see life as a game.
Develop a consistent routine to help yourself wrap up the last 30 minutes before bed with relaxing and calming activities you enjoy. Some that we recommend include reading, stretching (lightly), meditating, journaling, and reflecting on your day. Also, do not forget brushing, flossing, and face washing! Oral hygiene is crucial to reducing inflammation in the body and helping you get healing sleep.
Sleep Biohack 7: Blue Light and Sleep
One of the most powerful biohacks is the understanding of our brains and light. Our brain processes countless signals in a day, of which light is one of the most significant. Our exposure to light sends various signals to our brain on wakefulness and sleep. When we are exposed to blue light from the sun in the morning, our pineal gland alerts the brain to suppress melatonin and signals for wakefulness and alertness. No wonder we feel sleepy on cloudy days! At night, the lack of sunlight signals to the pineal gland that it is nighttime, promoting sleepiness and melatonin production.
This natural rhythm works perfectly with the other rhythms of our body. BUT our modern societies have thrown this natural cycle out of whack. We no longer only see blue light during the day with artificial blue lights, cell phones, TVs and laptop screens all of which emit drastically more powerful blue light than the sun. This is not only messing up our sleep rhythms, but also causing inflammation and damage to our eyes. Try these tips to help sync your circadian rhythms with the natural ones of the earth:
- Get blue light blocking glasses and use them after sundown: there are many brands, find ones that work for you. Read the reviews. Some great ones are as cheap as $10. For those of you with regular prescription glasses with “blue light” protection, most do not filter out a large percentage of blue light and you should still invest in a pair specifically for night time.
- Turn off the blue lights at night, especially as you wrap up. Get red light bulbs if necessary.
- Turn on the night shift settings on your phones and laptops. This makes the screens more red/orange which does not have harmful effects on the eyes or sleep rhythms.
- Take a supplement with lutein and zeaxanthin (Lutemax® is a good one), both potent antioxidant carotenoids which have been shown to protect the retina from blue light. Another beneficial supplement is astaxanthin, which has evidence for reducing eye strain.
Following these easy tips will make a world of a difference in harmonizing your brain with the cycles of nature and optimizing your sleep and performance. Give them a try and let us know what you think.
Stay tuned for our next post in which we will cover our final tips on biohacking your sleep!
Part 1 which covers tips 1-3 can be found here: https://www.mypeaksupplements.com/blogs/the-mypeak-blog/science-based-biohacks-for-optimizing-your-sleep-part-1
If you want to watch the YouTube video version of this blog: https://youtu.be/Soo2UNvXA8w