How To Biohack Better Quality Sleep in Less Time

If you have trouble falling or staying asleep at night, you’re not alone. Over half of all American adults get less sleep than their body needs, leading to a wide variety of health problems. The reason why is simple; sleeping is almost as crucial to your health as breathing. If you don’t get enough sleep, or you sleep fitfully instead of fully, your body will not be happy. (Your brain won’t be tickled pink, either.) 

These days, though, many of us are working longer hours (or several jobs), while we’re also trying to be ‘supermom’ or ‘superdad.’ Even if you don’t have kids, life can be one big ball of stress, which makes falling asleep and staying asleep through the night difficult at best for many. Many folks want a way to sleep better, and many would like to sleep less but still get sleep’s healing benefits.

In today’s article, we’ll look at some solutions to this sleep conundrum so that you can get the vital sleep you need while also preventing a lot of the health problems sleep-deprivation can cause. So splash some water on your face, grab a cuppa’ joe and point your weary eyes to the sleep biohacks below that can help you snooze like a champ. Enjoy!

Why Is Sleep So Important?

One of the most essential functions of the human body is sleep. When you sleep, you give your body and your brain time to heal and “recharge.” While you sleep, your body is busy at work healing, for example, your muscles after a strenuous workout. Your heart, liver, lungs, and every other organ gets quality healing time when you’re off in dreamland too. A good night’s sleep will allow you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day. It can help to ward off chronic diseases and, most importantly, keep your brain fresh and clear. 

Without enough sleep, your cognitive abilities will take a severe hit. Your concentration and focus will all be diminished (which is never a good thing), and your ability to process long and short-term memories will also be impaired. In short, when you sleep, a lot of good things happen that keep you healthy both physically and mentally.

How Much Sleep Does the Average Person Need?

Interestingly, the older you get, the less sleep you need. For example, a newborn baby needs 14 to 17 hours of sleep per day. (That’s over half the day spent sleeping!) Children aged 3 to 5 years need at least 10 hours of sleep and more like 12 or 13 every night. Once you hit your teen years, however, that drops to about 8 to 10 hours. In your 20s, it drops even further, down to 7 to 9 hours. It’s been reported that people over 55/60 years old can get by on 6 to 7 hours of sleep.

There are a few situations where you may need even more sleep than usual. If you’re pregnant, for example, your body will be going through some serious changes, and, during those nine months, you’ll need more sleep than usual. Also, if you’ve been seriously injured or have gone through a serious illness, your body will need more rest while it heals. Ironically, if you’re sleep-deprived or your sleep quality is low, your body will also need more sleep because it won’t be getting the healing time it needs.

What Can Cause Sleep Problems?

Today’s article is about getting better sleep, but we would be remiss if we didn’t talk briefly about what causes poor (or too little) sleep. Below are a few of the most common causes of poor sleep, an inability to fall asleep, or problems with constant waking during the night:

  • Stress- mental stress can cause your body to become hyper-aroused and stay that way, making it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Irregular sleeping patterns, especially if you work late or night shifts or frequently travel (which can cause the dreaded ‘jet lag’).
  • Napping- If you nap, especially late in the day, it can make falling asleep and staying asleep much tougher.
  • Overstimulating Your Brain- Video games are a huge culprit here, as well as working late.
  • Anxiety and Depression- If you have either of these conditions, it will make sleeping much more difficult.
  • A Painful Condition- if you are suffering from a painful condition or disease that makes lying uncomfortable, it can significantly interrupt your sleep. 
  • Medication- different medications can cause insomnia as well as stopping those medications.
  • Neurological Disorders- if you or someone in your family has dementia or Alzheimer’s, it can throw off your circadian rhythm and make sleeping problematic at best. Also, it’s been shown that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have problems sleeping. 
  • Pregnancy- While not a health problem, per se, the significant changes during pregnancy can make sleeping fitful and uncomfortable. (Your mom went through a lot of misery for you!)

How To Biohack Your Sleep To Sleep Better On Fewer Hours

Below are some of the best biohacks we know of for helping you fall asleep faster, sleep sounder, and get the rest your body needs. Some will work for you better than others, so we suggest trying them all (one at a time, of course) to see which works best for you and your lifestyle. 

Making Your Bedroom The Perfect Sleeping Area

One of the biggest problems when it comes to sleep is not your bed or your pillow (although both can be problematic) but instead your bedroom itself. Think about your bedroom as you think about your workspace; the better your workspace, the more productive you are at work. It’s the same for sleep. The better your bedroom, the better sleep results you’ll get. Here are a few of the things you need to do to turn your bedroom into your biggest sleep promoter.

Turn Down the Temp

Your body naturally gets colder at night and, if your bedroom is too warm, it will prevent you from sleeping well. That means turning down the temperature to about 62 degrees Fahrenheit (or further if you can handle it). In winter, you can even open the window a crack. (Just make sure to use a warm comforter.)

Make It Dark

Any light can disturb your sleep at night, including night lights, street lights coming in through the window, etc. The thing is, your body sleeps better when it’s very dark, so making your bedroom as dark as possible is a good thing. (Don’t worry, the monsters under the bed are scared of the dark too.) Using blackout curtains is a great idea, as well as turning off pretty much anything that makes light, even tiny LED lights.

Make Your Bed For Sleep Only 

Many people have a bad habit of doing everything in bed. Hobbies, watching TV, reading, playing video games, and so forth. The problem is, your brain starts to think of your bed as a place to do stuff instead of sleep, which can make sleeping harder. Better to use your bed for sleep only (and the occasionally whoopee-making). Think of it like a temple to your sleep and treat it as such.

Eat Foods and Supplements That Help You Sleep 

Several foods can help you sleep much better, as well as some supplements. Here are a few that you should be eating and some you should avoid before going to bed.

FOOD

  • Almonds
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Spinach
  • Cold-water fish
  • Chickpeas (hummus)
  • Whole milk (organic)
  • Bananas
  • Kombucha Tea

SUPPLEMENTS

  • Melatonin
  • Valerian Root
  • Ashwagandha
  • Probiotics*

DON’T EAT BEFORE BED

  • Complex carbs like bread and pasta
  • Anything with Sugar
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate

*More and more evidence is showing that having a healthy gut biome is vital to good sleep. That means eating a healthy diet with lots of fiber, fermented foods, and low sugar. It also helps to take a probiotic regularly.

Start Using Meditation Regularly

An excellent breathing skill that can help you oxygenate your body, clear your head, and even slow your heart rate, meditation is fantastic. (No, it’s not all mantras and humming.) Several studies of the last few years have found that meditation and especially mindfulness meditation can be an excellent solution for sleep problems. Studies show that it reduces insomnia and depression, as well as fatigue. The reason why is because, when you meditate, your nervous system relaxes and that in turn lowers your heart rate and blood pressure.

Increase Your Exercise and Physical Activity  

There are mountains of evidence showing that regular exercise can help improve your sleep quality, help you sleep faster, and stay asleep longer. Experts recommend exercising first thing in the morning or, at the latest, early afternoon. 

Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to do actual exercise like lifting weights, riding a bicycle, etc. Working in the garden, playing with your dog in the yard, and many other activities are also beneficial for sleep. That way, when it comes time to lay your head down on your pillow, your body is ready. Keep in mind that experts also say you should avoid exercise within one or two hours of going to bed.

Get On a Regular Sleep Schedule

One of the biggest problems that people cause for themselves when it comes to sleep is throwing their circadian rhythm, better known as your internal body clock, out of whack. The easiest and best way to keep your circadian rhythm regular is to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same hour every morning. Also, get some direct sunlight and movement in your body immediately after you wake up.

Now Get Ready For Bed!

As we’ve seen, sleep is incredibly important to your overall health and well-being. The tips and info we’ve just given you should help you improve your sleep significantly and improve your life. 

We hope this article gave you the answers you were seeking. If you have more, or would like to leave a comment, please do so in the space below. Also, we’d love to hear any anecdotes or interesting stories about your experiences with biohacking sleep. Thanks!

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