The Top 5 Ways to Hack Insomnia
By: Dave Asprey
December 14, 2012
We’ve all been there. It’s been a long, stressful, yet productive day, and you’ve worked yourself to the limit. For the last few hours of work, all you wanted was to go to bed, but you got the job done. Now, you’re finally home, you’ve eaten a great Bulletproof dinner, and it’s time for bed. There’s one problem – falling asleep is taking too long.
Despite the layers of fatigue covering your eyes and slowing your performance, for some reason, your brain just won’t turn off like you want it to. This is a common problem for many executives and really, just about any hard working person. Luckily, there are ways to keep a restless brain from destroying your sleep. Here are the top five ways to fix a bad night’s sleep.
1. Coconut charcoal
In Step 7 of the personal Upgrade Series, you learned how toxins can limit your performance and how to remove them. One of the reasons people start sleeping better on the Bulletproof Diet is because they’re detoxing. Toxins interfere with your sleep by causing inflammation in your brain. A major source of toxins for many people is bad gut bacteria.
Studies have found a connection between sleep debt and bad gut bacteria in animals. In rats, bacterial infections often travel to the gut, where the toxins can cause sleep deprivation. Other studies have shown that changes in gut bacteria can have a significant impact on learning and memory, probably from the increase or decrease in toxins traveling to the brain. Another theory says that lack of sleep at night causes stress in your probiotics, which causes them to secrete more toxins.
Eating the Bulletproof Diet and taking a high quality probiotic are the best way to optimize your gut bacteria, but sometimes you need a little extra help. Activated charcoal acts like a vacuum cleaner, and adsorbs (even better than absorbing) the toxins from your digestive tract before they can reach your brain and cause inflammation. However, activated charcoal is small potatoes (pun intended) compared to Upgraded Glutathione.
Glutathione is one of the most powerful antioxidants and detoxifiers your body makes. It’s essential for removing toxins, protecting fats from oxidation, and assisting in immune function and brain function. One of the ways it helps you sleep is similar to activated charcoal, although faster acting and more powerful.
Glutathione drastically increases your liver’s ability to bind and remove toxins. Many people have lower than optimal glutathione levels due to stress, infections, poor diet, and other problems. If you’re low on glutathione, your body can easily get overwhelmed with toxins and inflammation. While activated charcoal only targets toxins in your gut, lipoceutical glutathione helps your liver remove toxins that are already in your bloodstream and other tissues. This means you get a more complete detox, and even more profound improvements in sleep quality.
Glutathione doesn’t work when you take it orally because your body digests it before you can use it… unless you take Upgraded Glutathione, which wraps the precious glutathione molecule in a proprietary blend of MCT-based lipids. This allows the glutathione to penetrate the lining of the gut and raise blood levels of glutathione dramatically. This technique is exactly the same one used in advanced pharmaceutical delivery systems, but here we’re using it to bring a natural substance into the body more efficiently. That’s totally Bulletproof!
3. Deep breathing exercises
Non-beneficial stress is a terrible waste. Not only does it decrease immune function, shorten your lifespan, and impair sexual performance, it can also destroy your sleep. Perhaps the most common reason people report not being able to sleep is that they don’t know how to clear their mind and stop worrying.
Deep breathing exercises like Art of Living, pranayama yoga, meditation, and other methods can do wonders for helping your brain shut down, recuperate, and prepare for another day of high performance. Another similar but more upgraded technique is HeartMath.
While most of us associate an erratic heart rate with stress (or a serious medical condition), it’s not quite that simple. When your body is under stress, the amount of time between your heartbeats becomes steady, consistent, and monotonous. When you’re relaxed, calm, and your heart is in a state called “high-coherence”, the time between your heartbeats is actually different each time. This means you have high heart rate variability, which is correlated with better sleep… and an even a better golf game.
The HeartMath Emwave2 is a small device that helps you to quickly train your heart and brain to work together. It helps you develop high heart rate variability so you can become bulletproof against stress, which improves your sleep and helps you live longer. The great thing about HeartMath is that you can do it almost anywhere, anytime, and it gives you objective data as to how much you’ve improved.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try a few minutes of HeartMath training with an emWave before bed. Even three minutes can sometimes be enough to put the most tweaked out executives to sleep.
5. Bulletproof Coffee
How many times have you heard someone recommend coffee for improving your sleep? Probably never, right? Well, Bulletproof Coffee is a little different from your average latte.
The high-quality grass-fed butter and MCT oil in Bulletproof Coffee increase your bile turnover, which is a major way your body removes toxins that decrease your brain function and hurt your sleep. In addition, the short chain fats in the MCT oil supply your brain with ketones which help mental function and sleep.
Bulletproof Coffee is still high in caffeine (that’s a good thing), so you should take it at least six or more hours before bed. Otherwise, it may interfere with your sleep. Many of the people I coach report improvements in their Sleep Cycle scores after using Bulletproof Coffee, and it’s done wonders for me, especially when I’m on the road.
How to Salvage Your Day After A Night of Insomnia
When you’re young, you can sometimes overcome a lack of sleep problem with cheap coffee and enthusiasm. When people get a little older, they usually rationalize being tired as something that’s just “part of the job.” I tried both of these techniques, and neither of them worked for the long term. Biohacking made it clear why sleep was so hard.
Gut bacteria can produce toxins that interfere with your brain function. By taking activated charcoal, you can stop these toxins from reaching your brain and disturbing your sleep. When you take Upgraded Glutathione, you can remove performance-robbing toxins from your bloodstream and entire body. Deep breathing exercises and HeartMath training can help you relax and take charge of stress that’s contributing to your sleeplessness. And finally, Bulletproof Coffee (in the morning) can help to decrease inflammation and nourish your brain function with healthy fats.
Toxins are just one of many causes of insomnia and low quality sleep, so be sure to read the other sleep hacking articles on the site as well.
As a biohacker, I’m always looking for new ways to hack my sleep. What methods have you used to salvage a sleepless night? Share your thoughts in the comments!