What is biohacking? And does it work? From simple to extreme measures, learning how to read your body and boost its performance is certainly an appealing practice. Luckily, you don’t have to go to extreme measures to reap the benefits of biohacking at home. Biohacking can be as simple as getting enough sleep and drinking coffee – things you are likely already doing but can enhance to benefit you even further. Discover more about the trend that allows you to tap into your mind and body to boost physical and cognitive performance below.
What is Biohacking?
Biohacking, sometimes also referred to as do-it-yourself biology, is the practice of making small changes to your lifestyle to create incremental improvements to your overall well-being. From enhanced brain function and increased energy to weight loss and allergy control, biohacking can help accomplish a multitude of health goals. The term “biohacking” is a broad one and can range from something as simple as tracking fitness to something as extreme as genetic engineering.
Of course, the more extreme approach is riskier and should only be done with the guidance and supervision of a medical professional. However, there are plenty of biohacking products and techniques you can practice at home safely. The main goal of biohacking is to listen to your body and figure out what works best for it to perform optimally. Once you find what works for you, there are plenty of biohacking benefits that will follow.
Biohacking Products & Techniques to Try at Home
Read any health advice, and sleep is usually right there at the top of the list – and for good reason. A great night of sleep can help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your mood, boost your productivity, and much more. Because of this, sleep is one of the easiest biohacking techniques to try. Start off by tracking your sleep with an app to assess the quality of your sleep. Once you find your baseline, figure out how you can improve your sleep. Reducing blue light exposure, having a bedtime ritual, using a weighted blanket, and sleeping in a cool room are easy ways to improve sleep.
Red Light Therapy
The body responds incredibly well to red and near-infrared wavelengths, which are easily absorbed by the skin. It’s a good thing for that, too, as red light therapy provides a host of benefits perfect for biohacking. Red light technology affects mitochondrial function, which improves cellular energy and activates the nervous system and metabolic processes. This activity has been shown to relieve pain, rejuvenate skin, regenerate tissue, recover muscles, boost testosterone, reduce inflammation, and much more. Red light technologies are the ultimate biohacking products.
One of the main goals of biohacking is creating awareness for your body and how to better yourself from within. Meditation is one of the best and easiest biohacking techniques, because you can practice it anywhere and at any time. When you meditate, you allow yourself to reconnect with your mind and body, which can help with concentration, mood management, productivity, and even heart rate. Incorporating daily meditation sessions into your routine can train you to be more mindful and aware of your state of mind, which affects your overall health.
How’s it hanging? Inversion tables are wonderful biohacking products to try. Hanging upside down is a wonderful biohack for enhancing brain function by strengthening brain capillaries and delivering more oxygen to your brain. When you practice inversion regularly, your body also improves how it regulates blood pressure. Inversion tables are a quick and easy way to not only jumpstart your brain, they also bring relief to any lower back tension your body builds up during the day by relieving spinal disk compression.
This is one diet that isn’t just a fad and has real benefits behind it. Intermittent fasting is the practice of setting periods of fasted and non-fasted times. For example, one might have an 8-hour window to eat between 10am to 6pm with a 16-hour fasting period the remaining hours of the day. Or, one might alternate full days between eating and fasting. Intermittent fasting helps you manage daily calorie intake, lower insulin levels, burn fat more efficiently, repair damaged tissue, and more. Use a fasting tracker to make things easier, and consult a doctor if doing more extreme fasting.
Brain activity can be measured in a wave-like pattern and determines if you feel alert, sleepy, relaxed or stressed. One of the most reliable ways to change your brainwaves is through a consistent sound wave. Audio entrainment, a form of musical biohacking, uses binaural beats and tones to synchronize with your brain waves and induce a meditative, relaxed state. You can access programs developed specifically for your own brain and the activities you want to accomplish, or simply queue up your favorite playlist and listening while you work out, cook breakfast, or commute to work.
An elimination diet is exactly what it sounds like. With an elimination diet, you’ll get rid of something from your diet and then slowly reintroduce it to see how it affects your body. This is a popular option if you think you’re allergic to a food or are concerned that a food may be causing inflammation, such as dairy, red meat, or processed sugar. After eliminating a food item, wait about two weeks then reintroduce the eliminated foods slowly back into your diet. During the second, or reintroduction, phase, keep a close eye on any symptoms that appear that may indicate an allergy to a food source.
Caffeine is well-known as a productivity booster. If you don’t use it already, start with an 8-ounce serving of black coffee, green tea, or caffeinated foods like dark chocolate. Have your caffeine at the same time every day and keep a journal of how it makes you feel in the minutes or hours afterward. Try experimenting with the dose of caffeine until you find the amount that works best for your goal. There’s even a coffee with biohacking in mind known as bulletproof coffee. The coffee contains compounds like medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil, known as an energy booster and weight-loss tool.
Nootropics, or “smart drugs,” are substances used to increase your brain’s performance to help you remember more, learn better, concentrate more fully, stay productive, and function more efficiently. You can also always boost your mental performance with simple biohacking supplements and nutrients, such as magnesium for improved cognitive function, vitamin D for protection from free radicals, krill oil for improved nervous system performance, turmeric for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and vitamin B to decrease brain shrinkage.
If you are interested in trying biohacking on your own, be sure to consult with your doctor if you have any existing health concerns. Biohacking is a wonderful way to get to know your body and mind so you can optimize your health.