Data hackers get their kicks out of hacking into computers and breaking codes to get the information they need. Bio-hacking is kind of the same. Your body has a unique code – a bio blueprint that you can hack at a cellular and genetic level to achieve a healthier, longer, youthful life maintained for longer than normal. Essentially, it’s taking control of your biology and trying different biohack techniques, like diet or lifestyle changes, to improve your health and wellness.
So how do you biohack?
Understanding how your body functions is the first step. No two bodies are the same and what works well for me, may not work well for you in the same way. Your blood pressure may be higher than mine, I might have a different diet to you, and then for us women there are hormonal considerations. These, and more, have an influence on how you biohack. There are many scientific ways to biohack your body, including using new technology like infrared light and cryotherapy, but there are some super easy biohacks you can implement right now from the safety of your home.
Let’s break down the types of biohacks that you can explore.
Sleep is the number one most important biohack you can use to improve your health. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve had a bad night’s sleep and woken the next morning feeling fatigued, groggy and suffering from major brain fog. It’s no joke when medical experts say sleep deprivation can be just as dangerous to your health as high levels of alcohol consumption.
A good night’s sleep allows the neurons in your brain to regenerate from the stress they’ve been under during the day. Poor sleep can be so detrimental that you can lose brain cells.
Biohack target – aim to get 8-9 hours of sleep a night.
- Wear a sleep mask – helps to block out any light signalling your body to shut down and go to sleep
- Don’t watch TV or look at any screen monitors two hours before going to sleep – any form of light can trigger your body to shut down the melatonin that it naturally produces when going to sleep
- Don’t eat two hours before going to sleep – food is fuel for your body, so when you eat, your telling your body that it needs to work off that fuel, but if you’re sleeping your body will store it away as fat instead.
- Use an earthing mat. We spend so much time indoors in front of screens that we are reducing the benefits of being outside and grounding or ‘earthing’ ourselves. You can slo do this simply by walking barefoot on the grass, but I also like to sleep with an earthing mat. I have found my sleep is less broken, deeper and longer than what it has ever been since I started using an earthing mat.
I’ve spoken about the benefits of fasting before on my Instagram page @everyoungwellness. This is another super easy way to biohack your body from home. When you fast, it triggers something called autophagy (self eating) – basically telling your body to start burning away the fat which then leads to weight loss. Fasting triggers the cells in your body to regenerate through autophagy by getting rid of old damaged cells and replacing them with new ones. This generates healing in the body and helps to fight off disease. If you’re disease free, you live longer and voila! You are now triggering anti-ageing.
Biohack target: choose a type of fasting that you can regularly do.
- There are a number of ways to fast like intermittent fasting, a 3 day fast, or a 5 day fast.
- I find intermittent fasting the easiest.
- Stop eating at 8pm at night and don’t eat again until after 12pm the next day. That’s 16 hours of fasting. This will push your body into ketosis and start to burn those stubborn fatty areas!
Cellular regeneration is triggered by the body’s reaction to stress. When we place our bodies under stress either through exercise or exposure to cold, our cells march out to heal the areas of stress the body has been exposed to. Many biohack researchers, like Dr David Sinclair, Ben Greenfield, and Ben Angel espouse the benefits that exercise plays in maintaining longevity.
Biohack target: aim to do some form of exercise three to four times a week.
- High intensity classes (HIIT) are great for ramping up your cellular regeneration.
You might not have a cryotherapy chamber at home that you can use but you can certainly implement cold thermogenesis (or cold therapy) at home.
Cold therapy advocates like Wim Hoff have tested this biohack for many years and even been tested by scientists to ascertain how it is has benefited their bodies, supported their immune system and promoted anti-ageing. Otherwise known as the Iceman, Wim has been able to build his resistance to cold so much that he was able to climb Mount Everest shirtless and build his Brown Andipose Tissue (BAT). What the hell is BAT I hear you ask? BAT is iron rich body fat that we are all born with which increasingly reduces as you age. It plays an important role in reducing insulin and obesity. People who are lean tend to have more brown fat while people who are obese tend to have more white fat. Wim’s BAT levels at 61 are equivalent to that of a 20-year-old.
Cold therapy also helps to reduce inflammation in the body – that’s why so many elite athletes have ice baths after a game. I’ve definitely found it helps with my inflammation after a workout. stubborn fat.
Biohack target: Take a cold shower twice a day, alternate between hot and cold for 30 sec intervals. Aim to gradually decrease the hot 30 second intervals and increase the cold intervals until you can stay under a cold shower for 3 minutes.
- Ice baths are another great way to implement cold therapy at home. In the ice bath pictured I added six bags of ice.
- Hate the cold? Don’t worry you’re not alone. There was a time when I would have said you’re absolutely crazy if you think I’m going to get into an ice bath! I found Wim Hoff’s breathing method really helped me prepare my body before the ice bath.