Sleep is an assembly line biological workshop in process. We close our eyes and its like an entire bio-industrial machine gets activated, it’s truly an amazing feat that we often take for granted. If you have the wherewithal to recognize and understand the importance of sleep you’ve won half the battle. If you have to understanding of the mechanics of sleep now you have the upper hand and advantage.
You can biohack sleep by prepping beforehand if you use the right agents. Just like a good recipe you can add ingredients to give sleep a particular function you can make sleep more anabolic, more regenerative, more metabolic, you can use it to enhance organ function like your gut, you can use to enhance your mental, emotional state, improve memory recall, improve mitochondrial function and immune function. There are ingredients that you can use to make recipes for whatever the goals is even down to the specifics. Using particular supplemental agents you can provide the raw materials for processes that are already taking place and augment their effects.
Sleep prepping is a science and an art. You have to know how you personally function and what your needs are. Everyone is different and what works for some may not work for others. Here is a framework outline that you can start with however.
Level 1 Circadian agents- The circadian rhythm is the default platform that your sleep-wake cycles run off of if that gets out of whack all the other levels that follow don’t matter much you’ll get little return from. Dealing with the circadian rhythm can be drilled down and specific but we’ll deal with the top level priority here and that’s getting to sleep and staying asleep. This also applies if you have a flipped rhythm where you’re more active at night. There are several agents that can turn down your nervous system and cortisol and get you sleepy and to bed as well as keep you asleep. Things like valerian root, lavender, chamomile, some forms of magnesium and more.
Level 2- Systemic agents- When you get paid the first thing you have to take care of are the bills. The systemic level is like paying for the utilities: gas, electric, water. Systemic agents are vitamins, mineral, macronutrients and micronutrients. This can be achieved with a combination of food and supplementation. These agents provide some of the raw material to keep your biological doors open for business. This doesn’t mean that if you don’t get certain ingredients you’ll operationally collapse it just means that this is probably the most basic base you can cover and is fundamental to all the levels that follow it.
Level 3- Stress axis (HPA) – The Hypothalamic-pituitary axis is the system oversees the general functioning of our body and its response to your environment and lifestyle. We all deal with stressors it’s a part of life, physically, mentally ,emotionally, nutritionally, chemically, and more. To the degree we can manage and offset the biological stressors in life the more optimal we become. Stress axis agents address inflammation, oxidation, the immune system and other non local systems of metabolism such as blood sugar control, lymphatics, vitamin D, mitochondria etc. Agents that are anti-inflammatory, adaptogens, sterol compounds, and the like all assist with the stress axis.
Level 4- Neurotransmitter agents- The neurotransmitter profile that every person has is an important gateway to leveraging the next level down which is the performance specific agents. Your neurotransmitters like dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA and the like are a cross between hormone like action, and mental, emotional mood and balance. Getting your neurotransmitter levels topped off will give you the green light for more outcome actions from training and nutrition.
Level 5- performance specific- Performance specific agents really depend on what the goal is. You may have a goal of putting on muscle size and could possibly use creatine or glutamine as a bedtime agent. You may have fat so you’re agent can be an insulin sensitizer or a cortisol neutralizer. Depending on the goal you may not need a particular agent or may already cover that base in the higher levels killing two birds with one stone.
NOTE: This may seem like a lot when broken down into five steps as if you’re going to be taking down 35 pills from supplements or something like that. It’s important to point out that many of the agents used for sleep and nocturnal metabolism cover 2 or 3 bases. Therefore your supplement build may only have 2 or 3 agents. You may rotate them out when you enter a new phase. The other point that should be made is that your nutrition and lifestyle habits are included as agents as well. Turning the lights down in your living room at night can be just as effective as inducing drowsiness as taking something like valerian root.
If you’d like to get a sleep prep build out take the powerdown protocol now and you can be on your way to not only optimizing sleep but leveraging it for performance. Click the link here.