This week I had a chance to catch up with an old friend, Ben Greenfield. If you don’t know Ben, which seems hard to believe, he is everywhere these days, Ben is an extreme BioHacker, meaning he knows how to “hack” or get the most out of almost any physical process, nutrition, etc, and this week he released an article taking a deep dive into, you guessed it, sleep.
Biohacking is nothing new but does seem to be something that has become more popular. In our do-it-yourself world, where we can all learn cool things on the internet, try them at home and succeed (or at least not fail too badly), biohacking basically uses techniques and nutrition to achieve physical goals (sleeping better in this case), that normally might not happen.
I will warn you many of these techniques are EXTREME, and are fun to read about, but may be reserved for those who are a bit more adventurous. As always check with your physician before embarking on any significant changes in your routine or medical recommendations from a physician.
So what did Ben have to say? You can check out this 5000-word article here, but let me give you a few highlights from his article:
There is a genetic mutation that allows people to sleep less and still be alert ( but its rare).
Twin studies have uncovered the rare mutations that occur to the p.Tyr362His BHLHE41 gene appears to allow some people to tolerate shorter sleep durations and maintain normal alertness and limited signs of inflammation.
Sleeping on your side has a distinct advantage:
While asleep, relatively new research shows that toxins are flushed from the brain through lymphatic vessels in the brain, called glymphatics (interestingly, lying on your side when you sleep may be the most efficient position for toxins to flush out of the brain through the glymphatics).
Decent exposure to morning sunlight helps maximize the effect of this cortisol release by giving your body a little kick start to get your circadian rhythm normalized.
The importance of extra sleep for athletes and exercise enthusiasts can be highlighted by the fact that:
Maximum bench press drops twenty pounds after four days of restricted sleep.
With proper sleep, tennis players see a 42 percent increase in hitting accuracy.
Sleep loss means an 11 percent reduction in time to exhaustion.
Perceived exertion increases 17–19 percent after thirty hours of sleep deprivation.
Another sleep friendly snack to consider before bed from Ben:
- I’ve discovered another potent sleep snack for a slow release of energy while you sleep, along with enough minerals to keep your blood pressure and cortisol regulated, is a giant spoonful of coconut oil, topped with a dab of almond butter, a pinch of sea salt and a drizzle of raw honey!
Of course Ben was nice enough to give me some props and talk all about Chronobiology and his Chronotype, being a Bear. I will let you read that on your own!
And then there was a section that I was a little skeptical about, that he calls Sounding and Grounding. Here Ben looked at the research on sound, which I have a new blog coming out next week looking at Music and Sleep, but the entire idea of Grounding was finally explained to me in a manner that made sense and was worth a try.
Without getting too technical this is a fun, easy thing we can all do each morning to feel more grounded: go outside take off your shoes and socks and walk or stand directly on grass and the earth. Yes, I know this sounds ridiculous, but try it. I did, and I must admit, it made my day just a little bit better. While I don’t know if it was me being grounded or just enjoying nature a bit, I felt energized.
His jetlag section was one I would be careful about. 80mg of Melatonin seems CRAZY to me (and I told him that) along with Sulfur and Curcumin (I have no data for these so I will leave it at that). But it was an interesting read for sure.
His section on napping was great (except he does not think that a Nap-a-Latte works, I know it does), and has some fun ideas and tips as well.
Since this article was so in depth, that is all I was looking at this week, and you will certainly find a few cool nuggets of info in there to check out. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have on his article, either on my Wake Up Wednesday or just regular email.
My most liked Facebook post this week was an interesting one about 15 Strange Things You Didn’t Know Are Wrecking Your Sleep.
That’s all for this Sunday Sleeper, I hope your day is amazing.
Dr. Michael Breus