Biohacking is a health movement where individuals strive to improve their performance, health, and general well-being using specific techniques that require minimal effort. The biohacking trend has a controversial reputation, however, with body modifications and implants at the forefront of the debate. But there are ways you can biohack or “upgrade” your health without any invasive approaches.
If you’re interested in improving your energy and vitality, then adopting some natural biohacking principles might do the trick.
What Is Biohacking All About?
Biohacking, also known as “DIY biology,” is a well-being movement that hinges on self-improvement and the desire to become the best version of yourself.
David Asprey—the self-appointed “founding father” of the biohacking movement—explains that biohacking is about attempting to gain control of your own biology by means of changing your internal and external environments. Generally speaking, this suggests that anything and everything you put into your body (including food, sunlight, and the music you listen to) can have a significant impact on how you feel.
There are echoes of the old “you are what you eat” adage here; believing that what goes into your body directly affects what comes out. Biohacking claims that what you take into your body will either improve or impair your concentration, performance, memory, and overall health.
Leaving aside the controversial biohacking body modifications, which have raised safety concerns, these are some natural ways to “biohack” your own life.
1. Track and Improve Your Sleep and Daily Exercise
Biohacking is about “upgrading” your body, mind, and life for improved well-being. A great place to start, therefore, is considering the foundations of your health: sleep and exercise.
Biohack Your Sleep
Sleep is vital for your health, which is why you’re constantly hearing advice to get enough rest each night. The University of Michigan’s School of Public Health explains that sleep is essential to every process in the body, affecting not only how you feel the next day, but also your ability to fight disease and develop immunity. Sleep deprivation can also have an adverse effect on your mental health.
There are various ways you can use technology to help you get a good night’s sleep. Maintaining a routine by going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day is a good place to start. You can use the native health app on your smartphone to set a bedtime reminder, enable the Do Not Disturb function, and set wake-up alarms to help manage your sleep routine.
Biohacking principles remind you that it’s not just the amount of sleep that affects your well-being, but also the quality of sleep. You can take steps to improve the quality of your sleep by using a sleep mask to help block excess light, using earplugs to reduce noise disturbance, and keeping your bedroom cool and comfortable. Additionally, enabling Night Shift on your phone can help reduce exposure to stimulating blue light before bed.
Tracking your sleep is the best way to identify whether you’re having restful nights or if your sleep needs improving. Check out our guide to the best sleep apps for tracking and improving sleep for more help.
Biohack Your Exercise
According to the CDC, regular physical activity can improve brain health, reduce the risk of disease, and strengthen bones and muscles, among other benefits. Biohacking your health is about working smarter, not harder, and excessive exercise can be detrimental. Therefore, you should find a balance between a completely sedentary lifestyle and overexercising.
Exercise doesn’t need to be exclusively about losing weight either—your movement goal could be to boost your energy, encourage a better night’s sleep, improve your focus, or build muscle.
Using an activity tracker can help you reach your goals. For example, the Nike Run Club app can help you begin a regular jogging habit. Or My Swim Pro can improve your swimming techniques and endurance. Whatever your exercise goal is, it’s worth trying to get a bit of physical activity in each day, even if this is only a gentle walk.
Don’t forget that rest is also vital for your health, so allow your body adequate time to repair and recover after significant workout sessions.
2. Practice Meditation and the Art of Mindfulness
In this fast-paced and ever-evolving digital age, many people have high expectations but low tolerance in life. Most people want the best of everything, they want it now, and they’re unwilling (or unable) to shoulder discomfort, always looking for an immediate remedy to their ailments.
The biohacking answer to this is to practice meditation, mindfulness, and gratitude. Meditation is a proven way to decrease stress, boost focus and concentration, and improve self-awareness and self-esteem. There are plenty of meditation apps to help with mindfulness, as well as podcasts and playlists on Spotify and YouTube to get you started.
Another method you can try is mastering the Stoic mindset, which can give you the tools to help strengthen your gratitude, self-awareness, and ability to cope with difficult situations. Alternatively, if you’re after an all-in-one meditation, mindful exercise, and sleep improvement app, then My Possible Self ticks all the above boxes.
Download: My Possible Self for Android | iOS (Free)
3. Eliminate Toxins From Your Diet and Environment
Biohacking principles suggest that you’d be better off avoiding and removing toxins from your life. Toxins refer to anything that causes harm to the body, from mold around your house to harsh cleaning chemicals or detergents.
If you’re concerned about whether you might be exposed to toxins, there are several apps that can help you identify and avoid harmful ingredients in your home. These might be found in your kitchen, cosmetics, cleaning products, and other places. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) website offers useful consumer guides for those looking to avoid or reduce toxins in their life, including personal care products, sunscreen, and tap water. You can also use the EWG Healthy Living app to scan items around your home and check toxic ingredients through its database.
Although some biohacking tips suggest removing certain foods from your diet, this shouldn’t be done without consulting a doctor or registered dietitian first. If you’re keen to improve your diet, it might be better to add in more nutritious food and ingredients rather than cut out or restrict yourself. You can find free, healthy recipes on websites including BBC Good Food, Eating Well, and Allrecipes if you’re in need of inspiration.
Download: EWG’s Healthy Living for Android | iOS (Free)
4. Get Daily Sun Exposure to Help Regulate Your Circadian Rhythm
Biohacking your health can be as easy as stepping outside every day. The key is to (safely) expose your skin to the sun.
Sunlight helps your body synthesize hormones—vitamin D, serotonin, and melatonin—as well as regulates your circadian rhythms (your body’s natural clock). This is important, as having a well-functioning circadian rhythm will help you feel alert during the day and sleepy at night. (Don’t forget: upgrading sleep is the first biohacking goal!)
Research cited in ScienceDaily, recommends a minimum of 10–20 minutes of sunlight a day for optimum health. SunDay: Vitamin D & UV Tracker is an app that you can use to ensure you gain an adequate amount of daily sunshine without burning or spending too long under harmful UV rays. Simply enter details about your skin type and snap a photo of the sun for the app’s solar UV scanner to calculate how long you can safely stay in the sun.
There Are Simple Ways to Biohack Your Life Naturally and Safely
Even though the biohacking movement isn’t without controversy, some of its simple principles can be used safely. The key is to find natural approaches to boosting your health, such as improving sleep, supporting your mental health with meditation or mindfulness, and getting enough sunlight year-round. Stick to these guidelines and avoid any that suggest dietary restrictions or unregulated body modifications to make safe and natural lifestyle improvements.
Source: Make Use Of