Biohacking, or ‘lifehacking’ is concerned with one thing: adjusting your daily habits and biological rhythms to increase your productivity and change the way you live. The Apple founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, once commented that the biggest innovation of the 21st Century would be at the “intersection of biology and technology”. This ‘wellness revolution’, as some described it, ties in perfectly with biohacking and its overall objectives. Anyone familiar with growth hacking in marketing (see my notes here), will understand the dependency on facts and statistics to illustrate how effective certain techniques are at building a fan-base or reaching a certain audience. Biohacking works via the same principle, and it’s experiencing an enormous surge in interest recently. People have described improvements in mood, sleeping habits, stress levels and overall fitness, which are all attributed to simple yet specific ‘hacks’. To help illustrate how effective (and how ‘outside the box’) biohacking can be, here are a few examples of successful hacks with explanations:
Intermittent eating patterns
It’s common knowledge these days that grazing throughout the day is good for us, rather than sitting down to heavy meals. But how true is that? In actual fact, it’s not really backed up by much scientific evidence at all, and diets are still springing out of the wood work constantly, professing to make us feel better and help us lose weight. Dave Asprey is connoisseur of biohacking seeking to “maximise his biological potential”, and he’s suggested something different. Rather than eating at prescribed times, Asprey suggests we should eat only when hunger strikes. This can lead to long periods without needing any food and is also referred to as ‘intermittent fasting’, but is more of an eating pattern than a diet as it has no direct rules. Eating only when you feel hungry (like drinking only when you feel thirsty) is a proven way to accelerate fat loss, and improve protein synthesis and insulin sensitivity.
Check out Asprey’s impressive ‘Bulletproof’ website here for some really interesting advice!
Take a deep breath
Meditation and Yoga are excellent ways to combat stress and find inspiration. Perhaps going one step further, Cullen Richardson, a devoted biohacker and entrepreneur, has started using meditation and breathing techniques to control his heat rhythm (visit his website here). Using a bio feedback device (there are many on the market that will monitor your heart rate), he trained himself to gain awareness of how his heart responded to different breathing patterns. He swears that over time he’s managed to slow his heartbeat and “slip into the zone” any time he needs to quickly relieve stress.
The Uberman is a type of polyphasic sleeping pattern designed to maximise your ‘awake time’ with zero impact on your health. We spend nearly a third of our lives asleep but only REM sleep is actually needed for normal healthy functioning. We spend around 2 hours per night in REM sleep, and polyphasic sleepers think the rest is a little bit of a waste. Different sleeping patterns are used around the world (in Spain for example, people sleep less on an evening and instead take siestas during the day), and polyphasic techniques are being measured and sampled to see how they might benefit us – after all, regular sleeping patterns are more cultural than biological. The Uberman is perhaps the more ambitious of patterns, which basically consists of six 20 minute naps throughout the day, equally seperated, which take the place of ‘core sleep’ giving you an incredible about of free time. Obviously, different patterns suit different lifestyles, and we should allow ourselves at least a month to adjust a new sleeping schedule, but if you’re hoping to become more productive and fit more into your day, why not give it a go? There’s more information on polyphasic sleeping cycles on the lifehacker website here.
Ted Nash is a digital entrepreneur and believer in business and productivity. You can find him on Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook where you can talk to him about all the latest technology news, views and digital trends!