The concept of merely existing is about as out of fashion as the mullet or a pair of crocs. To live your best life now, it’s all about becoming a harder, better, faster, stronger, 2.0 version of yourself. The term ‘biohacking’ embodies an entire spectrum of ways in which people modify, upgrade or enhance their bodies, from mood improvement and memory to physical appearance and optimum health. While it may sound a little scary (and sometimes it is) realistically, if you’ve ever exercised, popped a supplement pill, downed a coffee or partaken in a spot of meditation, you’ve biohacked. So if you’re looking for a complete system overhaul or just a decent night’s sleep, here is our beginner’s guide to biohacking for a step in the right direction.
The attainable: When obtaining eight hours of shut-eye feels like nothing more than a cruel, elusive myth, invest in some blackout curtains, switch all mobile devices off at least an hour before boarding the slumber train and try to retire before 11pm. (Anytime after this the body creates a cortisol surge which keeps you awake.) Alternatively, try the SleepCycle app to help track your sleep patterns. The app wakes you up during your lightest phase of sleep so that you feel ready to take on the world, as opposed to hurling your alarm out of the nearest window.
The extreme: Employ the help of Circadia, the ‘comfortable’ portable medical device that stimulates the brain region responsible for healthy sleep. Simply place Circadia’s two electrodes onto either side of your head, pop on your futuristic light blocking glasses and project some sleeping frequency binaural beats into your eardrums via the sound-blocking headphones. Simultaneously, wave goodbye to any form of after-dark coitus.
The attainable: We’re all aware that exercise is one of the best ways to improve our health. Today, a multitude of apps (here are some of our favourites) and wearable tech devices allow you to track your fitness to a T, meaning you can keep on top of your progress and decipher which regime works best for you. High-intensity interval training once a week improves brain function and keeps muscles toned. Those who prefer a more sedentary approach should opt for a sauna which helps with muscle gain, cardiovascular improvement and fat loss.
The extreme: Apparently there’s more to just breathing than inhaling and exhaling. Crocodile breathing is a hack that requires you to lie on the floor face down, resting your head on your fists. Inhale for 4-6 seconds, hold for 2-4 seconds and exhale for 4-6 seconds, focusing on the expansion of your stomach. Once the skill of ‘properly breathing’ is learnt, you can then continue to use it throughout your training. Additionally, dipping yourself into a freezing ice bath after training helps muscles grow stronger and repair faster while fighting inflammation, a popular trick for athletes. Remember us when you’re on the road to Olympic stardom.
The attainable: Remember to eat the good stuff, and lay off the bad stuff. (Read: Broccoli? Yes. Body weight in doughnuts? No.) Alternatively, intermittent fasting — where you fast for 14-16 hours within a 24 hour period — has gained a substantial following as the biohack du jour, touted as the answer to weight loss, improved muscle density and increased focus and resilience. Fuelling yourself in the morning exclusively on Bulletproof coffee — black coffee bolstered with a teaspoon of purified coconut oil and a tablespoon of grass-fed unsalted butter — is also a tried and tested breakfast favourite of the intermittent faster.
The extreme: Make like Silicon Valley execs and shun eating altogether for up to three consecutive days. Because really, who needs food?
The attainable: Spend ten minutes foam rolling each day, invest in a stand-up desk and practice neutral spine sequences. (Do it with us now: squeeze your backside, breath out and pull your ribcage down, engage your abs 20 percent and set your head in a neutral position — ears in line with your shoulders). Otherwise, embody Julie Andrews’ character in The Princess Diaries to accomplish perfect posture in no time.
The extreme: Another way to enhance your life while making yourself inherently uncomfortable in the process is to consider ditching the mattress and sleeping on the floor. Apparently, when sleeping on hard surfaces you intuitively fall into positions that can correct musculoskeletal imbalances meaning muscle and body pain is nothing but a distant dream. Though we think a nightcap may be a necessary precursor.
The attainable: A healthy mind is a healthy body, right? Choose natural nutrients like magnesium, turmeric and vitamin D to reap a multitude of brain health benefits, invest in some nootropics (smart drugs) to enhance IQ and be sure to meditate.
The extreme: If you want to take it up a notch, a tiny dose of LSD or ‘shrooms with your tea and toast in the morning is said to help with everything from mental health to creativity, memory, focus and productivity. Tweaking your brain has never been easier. Or more illegal.