Biohacking Sleep: Blue Blocking Glasses, Circadian Rhythms & Types of Sleep (For Performance)

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If you look at any type of screen (especially after the sun has gone down) you should wear a pair of blue blocking glasses.

I doubt I need to explain circadian rhythms, but just in case, know that your body senses where the sun is – when it rises, and when it will set. Of course, when we jump in a plane and travel great distances, we get “jet lag” because our “internal body clock” and the “natural world clock” conflict. Our bodies struggle to adapt to this change.

Lastly, are you taking a siesta (mid day nap)? If not, you should. Learn more below about biphasic/polyphasic sleep cycles. Feeling like you are up for a real challenge? Try the Uberman (I still have yet to meet anyone who has done this consistently..)

Blue Blocking Glasses

DYK? Just under a month ago, the internet experienced the highest search for “blue blocking glasses” in history.

So what is this trend about? Is it valid? What data exists? Lets take a quick look.

The quickest source of validation of “blue blocking” in my opinion is the fact that Apple has embraced “Night Shift” on iOS and OSX. You can read more about what Apple says on their website-

Studies have shown that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep. Night Shift uses your computer’s clock and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset in your location. It then automatically shifts the colors in your display to the warmer end of the spectrum. In the morning it returns the display to its regular settings.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207513

Just look at some of the effects that occur due to where the sun is. Thank you Ben Greenfield, for this graphic.

Boundless, Ben Greenfield

Sleep Chronotypes

Are you a Bear, Lion, Wolf, or Dolphin?
Did you know that genetically we are shown to favor different kinds of sleep cycles? It makes sense, given the common use of classifications like being a “night owl” versus a “morning person”. Some of us (like me) actually do quite well bouncing between these two, others are strictly one or the other. Check out this awesome sleep test by Dr. Michael Breus (Author of The Power of When). It will ask you some questions which will help you determine which person you are, when you are most energetic, when you should make difficult decisions, etc. Really cool.

Sleep Schedules

Lastly, lets take a look at some sleeping schedules.

These are a lot of fun to experiment with for those just getting into biohacking and sleep performance – though it does require a flexible schedule, and perhaps a lot of isolation and discipline. Most say you won’t get the benefits of this until you’ve done a month consistent.

DYK? Da Vinci was said to have used the Uberman (bottom right) schedule for most of his life. This leaves 2 hours for sleep and 22 hours awake. Incredible.

I’ve included a fantastic video below that really breaks down the different cycles and gives some additional context.

Polyphasic and Biphasic Sleep | Sleep cycle, Sleep pattern, Sleep
Types of sleep. Blue = Asleep, Orange = Awake. Learn more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biphasic_and_polyphasic_sleep

Take a NAP!

If you aren’t taking a nap during the day- you should.
As soon as you are, see my recommendations for more about NuCalm.

I would not go anywhere without NuCalm. Few things have become such a staple in my biohacking toolkit. The audios alone are extremely powerful (normally the full protocol calls for: (1) device connected to your head, (2) topical GABA cream, (3) audio track, and (4) sleep mask). Most days I am just doing audio + sleep mask. The power of the NuCalm audios gets me VERY excited about the future of this field. I think we are seeing just the tip of the iceberg here..

NuCalm is clinically proven to naturally relax the brain and body within minutes, without drugs. This patented technology addresses the brain circuitry in the limbic system, the hypothalamus and the brainstem responsible for producing stress and anxiety. NuCalm works specifically on the body’s inhibitory system, the GABAergic system. This device is bio-mimetic in that it resets the naturally occurring negative feedback loop of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which when properly functioning is supposed to shut off and stop releasing cortisol from the adrenal glands after the end of a stressful event. NuCalm is comprised of three discrete steps that work together to entrain brainwaves to the frequency of the first stages of sleep and create parasympathetic nervous system dominance. People in this state are physically unable to have an anxious response. Within moments of application, users will begin to feel relief from the ‘fight-or-flight’ sympathetic nervous system response and their stress hormone (cortisol) levels will begin to decline as the HPA axis is inhibited.

SOURCE: https://www.nucalm.com/science-of-nucalm/

NuCalm specifically has (2) 20 minute power nap tapes. Every time I listen, I lay down and say “my mind is going way too fast to fall asleep right now” .. by 5 minutes in, I am asleep. By minute 17 I am awake, and I feel like I have been asleep for an hour! It is an incredible technology that pushes you in to deep theta and delta sleep faster than anything else. (This is where your body actually is recovering).

KEY ACTIONS:

  • Set a bed time and follow it religiously. [For me: 10:00 PM]
  • Set an “unplug time”. [For me: 8:00 PM]
    • Airplane mode on all devices. No screens. Charge my phone in my Office (not the bedroom!!!)
  • Make sure night shift is turned on, or use blue blocker glasses. [I use both, and night shift on the heaviest setting]

Check in next time where I will discuss some of my tips for travel (adjusting to new time zones). A few key highlights: always fast when you travel. As soon as you land, eat meals at the “normal time” according to your new time zone. Modafinal, blue blocking glasses, exercise, and grounding, are also great hacks.

Until then…