Sleep Hacks

edited February 2016 in Everything else
My local transhumanist group is having a month dedicated to sleep hacking. Sleep hacking is one of the easiest places to start biohacking because it is low-risk and low-commitment. I’m gathering hacks that just about anyone can do with minimal effort or expense so a sensory deprivation chamber is not in this scope. Most of the attendees probably won’t want to go through more effort than a stop at the drug store or downloading an app.

There will be a presentation where I will talk about the simplest hacks, and some advanced ones, then get people started on the biohacking path. This group will be targeting people who want to see immediate results with minimal effort, you know, the general populace. Our group’s goal is to help people improve their lives and show that biohacking is not dangerous or scary.

If your hack is anecdotal go ahead and tell me. I won’t present anything as true unless there is evidence but telling the group what other people have done is valuable. For example, Cassox’s VIP experiment [from this thread] will be mentioned.

If you have a brand new idea DEFINITELY tell me because these groups include people who want to be on the cutting edge and we might be able to get a small experiment together. For example, I have thought about painting my eyelids chrome to block out more light than bare eyelids. Maybe this would help people sleep more restfully. Maybe it could help travelers sleep. I don’t know and I doubt it would do any harm.

Some of the other hacks are:
Kava tea
Passion flower tea or supplements
Krill oil
White or pink noise generator
Eliminating blue light from monitors


  • About painting your eye lids.... Have you thought that maybe the change my alter the results.
  • @JohnDoe, do you mean the placebo affect as opposed to some actual benefit?
  • edited February 2016
    I wasn't think a placebo as much as a sudden change. I have found there are somethings we just get used to and learn to live with, as a result it makes us think differently and subconsciously act different. Not a placebo ware it doesn't work but it does because you want it to. Plus what if the paint gives a mild irritation, there by acting as a deep sleep preventive. How relevant is any of that IDK, still how ever worth thinking about.
  • Good point. It would be valuable to know if it continues to work or if it is best in short doses. Maybe it would only work in the short-term, like when you travel by airplane. Either way it would be valuable information if there is an effect.
  • I also think that during hours awake there could be a change of brain function just from there being less stimulus.
  • That's a possibility. I wouldn't want this as a permanent hack. Not until I see results. Plus, tattoos on my eyelids isn't how I want to spend the weekend.
    The obvious downfall is that wearing it around would look like eyeshadow. I couldn't get away with that at work. I could put a neutral color over a light blocking layer but I shouldn't be testing this at work anyway. Or while driving, who knows if this could replicate narcolepsy.
    I would hypothesize that you wouldn't notice a difference until your eyes had been closed for at least a few seconds and your pupils dilate.
  • That would make sense I think a blindfold would be better....
  • In most cases you are probably right about a blindfold or a sleep mask. Some people don't like something that large touching their faces though. Plus, if you open your eyes your vision is instantly restored. Granted, the investment is large compared to the return.
  • edited February 2016
    I'm curious as to anyone on this forum has also tried GABA supplement. I realize there is a lack of evidence for the supplement crossing the blood brain barrier. However, since taking half a teaspoon per night I feel more relaxed at night and wide awake in the early morning. It could be placebo, but, in my experience It may have helped with quality of sleep.

    I upped dosage to 1 full teaspoon and noticed in my afternoons spent outside I had felt as if it were still morning and had difficulty waking up. Went back to half a teaspoon and I'm back to feeling energetic most mornings.

    Again, it could be placebo. Or lifestyle changes ( less alcohol, caffeine, more exercise, etc

    Edit: at 1 full teaspoon a day I noticed a sharp increase in short term memory loss. For example , I would remember what someone had said a week prior but forgot who said it (e.g a co worker, classmate, friend). Whereas normally I would remember the person speaking and what they said
  • In what sense do you wish to hack sleep? there is always lucid dreaming and also controlled power naps where you can force yourself into deep sleep for short periods and come out similar to having slept a long time from what i hear
  • I am looking for sleep hacks which improve the quality or ease of sleep.
    My goal is to make biohacking approachable and easy for people who might be unfamiliar. In other words, sleep hacks that provide a lot of bang-for-the-buck.
    They should be low-risk and ideally that would have a proven record but something edgy would be good to hear about.
  • @McSTUFF
    That should be a wiki page,"is biohacking right for me?" We should come up with more simple stuff for people to try, maybe a vegetable based nootropic?
  • @JohnDoe
    That is exactly the kind of approach I take with people. People's eyes light up when they hold a magnetic ring to a microwave and feel the waves for the first time. When I tell them I can feel that all they time they get a kind of awe. Never open a conversation with "I cut finger open to shove a magnet in there." You need to sell people slowly on something so extreme.
    Earlier I started a thread that used simple tricks, like a magnet ring, that would let people experience the benefits of implants by purchasing a wearable version so they could "Try it before you buy it." [LINK] More STUFF like that would be great.
  • I will see what I can come up with magnets and RFID seem to be covered. How about a simple demo (week long) of a biocoating? I am thinking that AA-bond that benbeezy found on Amazon may be a good place to start.
  • That's not in the scope of what I'm doing with the sleep hacking or "Try it before you buy it."
    My local transhumanist group is trying to get more people interested in the movement. Biohacking is my forte but trying to get people excited isn't always easy and I don't want to scare people off. Even at transhumanist meetings I don't always pipe up that I have implants.
    The biosafe coating is a great pursuit but that's high school chemistry lab level compared to the second grade spelling bee I'm trying to do. It's important to show people that biohacking isn't just scalpels and pills. Sleep seemed to be a good jumping on point.
  • edited February 2016
    I got nothing for now.... Then I will be thinking about this some more as people at my school have asked me about getting started in biohacking. I also did the magnet and ear plug I tried to use ear buds but I think the hole I melted for the magnet compromised the sound proofing and as a result I am not sure how effective that was. After that I walked to the microwave and tried that with much better results.
  • The app Twilight, for tablets and phones. Reduces blue light to encourage better sleep. Can't say if it works, there may be other apps like that too.

    It automatic based on sunrise and sunset, you only need the blue reduction on a night. 
  • Not sure how helpful this anecdotal tidbit is but I was curious about the light/blue light blocking at bedtime effect so two years ago I sent five pairs of glasses that had good reviews for sleep hacking purposes to various friends (aka guinea pigs). They followed the instructions and reported back that the glasses had no appreciable effect on their sleep patterns. One reported headaches and another found it hard to concentrate or do bedtime routine things. 

  • ChilliEye, the Twilight app seems promising. That will definitely make it into the talk.

    Cyberlass, I read the abstract for a study done with similar glasses and the study reported the same thing. But I want to get more ideas together like that and see if I can't round up a few guinea pigs of my own through the presentation.

    It seems like sleep hacking has been a popular thing since there are many good studies and methods, many of which are very safe. This doesn't really put sleep hacking anywhere near the bleeding edge, except things like Cassia's VIP study. 

    If anyone has some far out ideas now would be a good time to share.
  • edited February 2016
    Far out, okay you asked for it.... How about useing a tDCS machine to memick deep sleep brain waves, in order to allow for us to sleep walk (more or less) while we are fully awake. I am not aware of how long after the electodes are removed that the effect will last and the safety of using that inplace of sleep for more that a few hours would be.

    John Doe
  • @JohnDo, you've got me interested. So, your goal is to trick the brain into thinking it is sleeping while in fact you are alert? Ideally this would give the body time to recuperate, heal, convert memories to long-term, but you could spend that time doing non-consequential activities.
    I haven't seen a montage which encourages or mimics sleep but I haven't looked very much. Have you found anything? I have a tDCS but I haven't used it since I used the wrong salt concentration and hurt my arm.
  • edited February 2016
    I built one from my parts bin, the story of my life happened (again), I was short a resistor no time to get one. I also can't self experiment atm I think I am developing sleep insomnia.... That may be useful.... My safety concern lies in duration of use repeatedly. I think that maybe we should see the absolute lowest current and voltage to get a acceptable result
  • These aren't really sleep biohacks, but here are some basic sleep tips I found helpful:
  • What about completely light blocking contact lenses that your can wear to bed, less risks and should have a similar result.
  • Contacts can suck to leave in overnight. >~<

    There's definitely worse ideas. But this one can suck if it rolls around somewhere it shouldn't.
  • Yeah I am lucky not to have to wear contacts or glasses, but I heard about a type of them that you could leave in overnight safely. I don't remember the name if I can find it later I will throw a link to it in the comments.
  • I will try a lot of crazy shit, and do crazier. But dame I draw the line at homemade contacts, or even modified contacts....

    John Doe
  • The only concern I'd see with blackout contacts is waking up in an emergency.
    Surprise house fire? Sudden pain? Waking up to some sort of cacophony and you don't know what it is? Being able to see asap is key. Thing is, a basic sleep mask will have the same blackout effects, and is MUCH faster to remove should you wake up to a piece of you on fire (or something else equally alarming).

    (ps. grazerquart, your avatar is top quality and perfect!)
  • I had the same worry about contacts that block light. In ten years we'll all wear contact that have high resolution displays built in and setting them to "night mode" will be common practice. But, an active display would probably be triggered to turn off if the fire alarm went off.
  • crazy thought but what about using those ridiculous tanning glasses? They sit right close to your eye and some have a strap on them and I believe the block out the light.
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