Biohack Your Way To Restorative, Deep Sleep


Sleep is a major cornerstone for an energetic, joyful, healthy, long life. Unfortunately, in this modern world we place too much value on staying busy and deprioritising sleep.

I have to admit that I have not always focussed on my sleep and in the past have neglected getting a good night’s sleep to accommodate my busy life. As my passion for longevity has grown and as I increasingly understand the role that sleep plays in a long and healthy life — on a nightly basis, I now aim for eight hours in bed to get seven hours of sleep.

Though the actual purpose of sleep is not completely understood, research has shown that the waste removal system of the brain, the glymphatic system, is at its most efficient during deep sleep and specifically during deep sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. When you do not get good, restful, deep, restorative sleep — damaged proteins and other toxins build up in the brain, leaving you feeling foggy in the short-term and, in the long-term, more vulnerable to rapid brain aging and the development of neurological diseases. Sleep deprivation is also a proven risk factor for cancer, heart disease, heart attack/ failure, stroke, diabetes, depression, anxiety, obesity and premature death.

To improve your health almost overnight, give sleep a chance — and give yourself enough time to do it — by ensuring you get at least seven hours per night.

Hack your way to better quality sleep with these eight, simple tips that I follow.

Move your body

Have a caffeine cut-off time

Don’t eat your evening meals too late

Avoid alcohol close to bedtime

Get natural sunlight

Tame blue light

An hour before bed time I either have no screen time or change the screen settings on my phone and laptop (using f.lux) to warm light ‘night mode’ — to start downshifting my brain, encouraging the release of drowsiness hormones/chemicals.

I also use a red light lamp in my bedroom before I go to bed and if I wake up during the night. The longer-wavelength red light mimics the light of sunset and, as a result, cues your master clock to trigger sleep.

Use relaxation practices

I also wear the Apollo Neuro — a wearable that uses touch therapy to reduce stress. Stress activates our “fight or flight” sympathetic nervous response, leaving us feeling distracted, overwhelmed, and making it difficult to sleep. Apollo delivers a novel touch therapy, felt as gentle waves of vibration, that stimulates the “rest and digest” parasympathetic nervous response and restores balance to the body. When used consistently, Apollo is able to retrain the nervous system to manage stress more effectively. Therefore, over time this results in better sleep, improved focus, and a feeling of more balance.

I use the Relax and Unwind mode before sleep — which combines frequencies shown to support relaxation and recovery by increasing parasympathetic (rest and digest) activity in the nervous system and improving HRV. While I sleep I use the Sleep and Renew mode — the most gentle of the Apollo modes, shown to improve parasympathetic activity and to aid in relaxation.


Track your sleep

The Oura Ring is one of my favourite sleep trackers. The Oura Ring measures sleep using sensors that gauge body signals, including my resting heart rate (RHR), heart rate variability (HRV), body temperature, respiratory rate, and movement, to determine my sleep patterns. Each of the body’s signals shift during the four different stages of sleep. For example, respiration and RHR rise to near-waking levels during REM sleep, while they fall to their lowest levels during deep sleep. Oura’s machine learning algorithms combine these measurements into a detailed picture of your unique sleep patterns.

The Oura Sleep Score that you can then take a look at each morning is a gauge of exactly how restorative your sleep was the night prior. Your sleep score is affected by seven sleep contributors, which are displayed as horizontal bars in the Oura app’s sleep view:

  1. Total Sleep: Total sleep refers to the total amount of time you spend in light, REM and deep sleep.
  2. Efficiency: Sleep Efficiency is a measurement of your sleep quality.
  3. Tranquility: Sleep disturbances caused by wake-ups and restless time can have a big impact on your sleep quality and daytime cognitive performance.
  4. REM Sleep: REM sleep plays an essential role in re-energizing your mind and your body, making it an important contributor to your sleep quality.
  5. Deep Sleep: Deep sleep is the most restorative and rejuvenating sleep stage, enabling muscle growth and repair.
  6. Sleep Latency: Sleep latency is the time it takes for you to fall asleep.
  7. Sleep Timing: Your sleep timing is an important contributor to your sleep quality and daytime performance. score.

The images below show some sleep and readiness stats from the Oura app from a fantastic night of sleep and recovery.

Ranging from 0–100%, the sleep score is an overall measure of how well you slept. You can consider a sleep score of 85% to be very good, and a score above 90% excellent. A sleep score above 85% typically means that all sleep contributors are in balance and that you meet the typical sleep needs of a person your age. The Oura app also guides you find your ideal bedtime that helps you wake up refreshed and feeling energetic throughout the day.

Get some sleep


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