June 22, 2020
Alright, brace yourself.
What you're about to read is one of these articles in which I detail a couple of the more advanced biohacks and supplement stacks (particularly for meditation and sleep) that I've recently adopted and found to be incredibly potent.
These are tactics that I consider to be more advanced and more fringe than simple tactics such as box breathing, changing out the lights in your bedroom, sleeping in a cold environment, taking melatonin, etc. So if you like the simple stuff, or have yet to nail the basic foundations of meditation and sleep, you should probably stop reading now.
But I'd be remiss not to describe to you two strategies in particular that have been absolute game-changers for me in the deep meditation and sleep department. I'm constantly toying around with and quantifying new discoveries, and these are two that I've researched, developed, and found quite useful over the past 30 days.
Again, simple is good, but if you like to biohack and try new things, these two meditation and sleep strategies will be right up your alley.
Let's jump in (and because these hacks tend to be a bit more on the spendy side, in the summary section, you'll find a list of everything I mention with a few handy discount codes to help bring the cost down a bit).
The Ultimate Stack for Biohacking Meditation
For those of you unfamiliar with the term “stack,” it simply refers to stacking multiple compounds or strategies together to achieve a result greater than that which could be achieved by the singular use of any of the stacked components. Basic stacks you may be familiar are theanine with coffee for taking the edge of caffeine and increasing alpha brain wave production; blood flow restriction with super slow training for muscle gain with a minimal effective dose of exercise; or a cold pad with a PEMF mat for a one-two combo of sleep enhancement and neuromuscular recovery during a night in bed. These are all the types of stacking concepts I explore in my new book Boundless.
But one stacking strategy I haven't talked about much involves the use of specific technologies or compounds to enhance one's meditation practice, or give one a potent and fast shift into deep relaxation in the middle of an otherwise busy or stressful day.
My friend Luke Storey and I, when I visited his home for a “biohacking tour,” hinted at this type of “stacking” approach for meditation and deep relaxation, and since that visit, I've honed in on and perfected two particularly effective ways to stack biohacking technologies for meditation and relaxation enhancement.
The two stack options below combine specific audio tracks and guided meditations along with the use of technologies such as hyperoxygenation, PEMF, sound frequencies, Amazonian plant medicines, and vagal nerve stimulation.
Biohacking Meditation / Relaxation Option 1
- The Apollo wearable on left or right ankle, set in “Relaxation & Unwind” mode. The Apollo, which I have recorded an entire podcast on here, improves resilience to stress by sending gentle waves of vibration that activate your “rest and digest” parasympathetic nervous response extremely quickly.
- Mindfold light-blocking mask. This is the best mask I've found for blocking ALL light stimulation.
- NuCalm Deep Recovery (50 minutes) or Power Nap (20 minutes) track with noise-blocking headphones, combined with NuCalm disc on my wrist. The Deep Recovery track was designed for maximum recovery and restoration, and when using it, you will feel yourself go deep into a state of bliss and recovery, even if transitioning from a very stressed state. The “NuCalm Power Nap I” track guides you to your “recovery zone” faster than the other tracks and guides you back up, all in 20 minutes. If you have a limited amount of time for a session, this software track will provide the greatest benefits. The “NuCalm Power Nap II” track is deeper and more restorative than the Power Nap I and works better if you're not already stressed when you start using it. The vibrational harmonic tones throughout the track give you an experience like a “sound bath” and the ultimate mind massage. With Power Nap II, your nap will feel WAY longer than 20 minutes, and the outcome will leave you feeling deeply restored and grounded, yet focused and ready. Finally, the NuCalm Biosignal Processing Discs simplify the process of activating the parasympathetic nervous system, by tapping into your body’s pericardium meridian with electromagnetic (EM) frequencies. I have one podcast about the NuCalm here, and a second one here.
- Circadia Fisher Wallace on forehead. The Circadia, which I podcasted on here and have an article about here, provides clinical-grade sleep and stress management. It is manufactured by Fisher Wallace Laboratories, and the device is technologically identical to the FDA-cleared Fisher Wallace Stimulator, but can be purchased without a prescription. Proven in multiple published studies, the Circadia manages sleep and stress by stimulating the brain to produce neurochemicals such as serotonin while simultaneously lowering cortisol, modulating the brain's default mode network, and shifting you into a calm brainwave state.
Basically I flip “on” or perform all of the above, then either:
- A) Sit or lie in front of the BioCharger (full podcast on this technology here) set in “Pineal” or “Serenity” mode—the two best “recipes” on the BioCharger for eliciting a state of deep relaxation or enhancement of meditation.
- B) Lie on the Pulse Centers PEMF mat (full podcast on this technology here) set at 7.8Hz frequency.
- C) Crawl into my soft-shell hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) chamber (the latter is my favorite and by far, in my experience, the most impressive option), which I have a podcast on here. Incidentally, before-and-after brain SPECT imaging studies of people who have undergone HBOT show remarkable improvement in blood flow to the brain, which is probably why this one works so well when combined with the tactics above.
I then do two sprays of “ZEN” into each nostril. ZEN nasal spray is made from different medicinal plants from the Amazon for the purposes of calming and quieting the mind to reduce anxiety and stress. It also stimulates the vagal nerve to balance the autonomic nervous system and has an effect that mimics meditation, breathwork, and sauna/cold exposure. It increases the brain-blood flow and affects the release of several stimulatory neurotransmitters, leading to antidepressive and stimulatory effects while simultaneously heightening focus, concentration, and memory. It can be ordered with and without oxytocin (I recommend the oxytocin version for an even more relaxing sensation).
At this point, I lie back, and go into an absolute “other world” (without the use of any psychoactive and hallucinogenic compounds) for 20-50 minutes, depending on the NuCalm setting I use. I would consider this stack to be one of the most intense forms of relaxation I've ever experienced (funny what a bit of better living through science can do!).
Biohacking Meditation / Relaxation Option 2
I do exactly as described above, but instead of using the NuCalm tracks, I do one of Joe Dispenza's meditation tracks (I'll usually do this if I want to meditate instead of nap). The best two to use are Dispenza's “Blessings of The Energy Centers” or “Pineal Gland: Tuning Into Higher Dimensions Of Time & Space“.
When implementing either of the options above, I can literally hit the reboot button in about 20 minutes flat, and either works very well if I need to truly supercharge my body for a hard-charging day or to “mentally re-fuel” after an intense day of work that begins with a very early morning (e.g. when I get up at 4 am and work my ass off until 4 pm).
New Sleep Stack I’ve Been Experimenting With
This second stack originated from a discussion I had with one of the whiz-kids at Thorne Nutrition when we were chatting about all things sleep, and in particular, fully “legal,” but potent sleep remedies that anyone could use…
…including athletes who might be tested for sport and need to avoid some forms of CBD that may have trace levels of THC, but who also need to shift themselves into a restorative sleep state post-hard-training and be able to operate with precision and efficiency for the next day's workout or competition.
We came up with a sleep stack that targets multiple mechanisms for relaxation and sleep enhancement. Although dosages will vary, here's exactly what I began experimenting with based on that discussion. As a result, my sleep latency (how long it takes to fall asleep) REM sleep, and deep sleep have all absolutely improved, without any post-sleep drowsiness. This stack is definitely worth trying if you struggle with sleep but haven't found a supplementation solution that works yet.
- Phosphatidylserine: Phosphatidylserine is an amino acid derivative compound that is fat-soluble and found in high amounts in the brain, where it contributes to cognitive functioning. Found in high amounts in fish, it may improve memory, and for the purposes of sleep, has an impressive cortisol lowering effect. For this, I am using Thorne Iso-Phos at a dosage of 200 mg.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is well-known for its relaxation properties in hundreds of impressive studies. I am using 500 mg of sustained-release magnesium malate (malate form of magnesium is 85% absorbable) in the form of Jigsaw Health MagSRT.
- Relora: Relora is a blend of Magnolia and Phellodendron extracts. Both have been shown to down-regulate evening cortisol levels that can cause anxious feelings and to curb late-night cravings. For this, I am using 2 capsules of Thorne's Multivitamin Elite, which contains a host of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including Relora (and also contains a bit of extra magnesium).
- PharmaGABA: GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that supports restful sleep, acts somewhat like a “brake” on stress, can decrease the brain's stress-related beta waves while increasing the production of alpha-waves, creating a profound sense of physical relaxation. For this, I'm using Thorne PharmaGABA at 250mg.
- 5-HTP: 5-HTP is a serotonin precursor, and also pairs particularly well with GABA for sleep enhancement. It can also decrease nighttime carbohydrate cravings. For this, I am using 200mg of Thorne 5-Hydroxytryptophan, which also contains pyridoxal 5′-phosphate, the active form of vitamin B6 and a necessary cofactor for the conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin.
- Glycine: Glycine is an amino acid that helps the body make serotonin, a hormone and neurotransmitter that has significant effects on sleep and mood. Interestingly, a decline in the core body temperature might also be a mechanism underlying glycine's effect on sleep, as the onset of sleep is known to involve a decrease in the core body temperature. For this, I am using Thorne Glycine at 4g.
- Thorne Hemp: You're no doubt already familiar with the benefits of targeting the endocannabinoid system with compounds such as CBD for relaxation and sleep enhancement. Phytocannabinoids can exert similar activity in the body as endocannabinoids, especially when combined with specific plant nutrients like beta-caryophyllene, which magnify their effects. For this, I am using two Thorne Hemp softgels, which contain hemp extract with beta-caryophyllene sources from clove, black pepper, hops, and rosemary. Thorne Hemp uses hemp stalk oil (certified organic and legal in all 50 states), which has been shown to help modulate the body’s response to stress and fear, physical discomfort, GI distress, and more.
Once a week, I've simply been putting all the capsules listed above into my “old man pill container” and throwing them all back about 30 minutes prior to bed. The results for sleep enhancement have been nothing short of amazing.
As I already warned you, both strategies above will make a dent in your pocketbook.
But if you enjoy a bit of better living through science, and you're open to the idea of enhancing your current meditation or sleep supplement protocol with some more advanced tactics, I guarantee that you'll be quite pleased with the results of either strategy I've described above.
As promised in the intro, here is a list of every resource mentioned that I use for biohacking sleep and meditation, along with promo codes for as many as I was able to snag a discount for:
- chiliPAD (use code BEN25 for a 25% discount)
- Apollo (use my link for a 15% discount)
- Mindfold light-blocking mask.
- NuCalm (discount applied at checkout, 65% off your first month of any new monthly subscription)
- Circadia Fisher Wallace (use code GREENFIELD for free FedEx shipping)
- BioCharger (use code BENG500 for a $500 discount)
- Pulse Centers PEMF (use referral code BEN2018 for a 15% discount through June 30th)
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) chamber (use code BEN for a $500 discount on the Vitaeris320)
- ZEN nasal spray (use code BEN for a 5% discount)
- Joe Dispenza's meditation tracks: Blessings of The Energy Centers & Pineal Gland: Tuning Into Higher Dimensions Of Time & Space
- Jigsaw Health MagSRT (use code GREENFIELD10 for a 10% discount)
- Thorne Hemp
Comment below with your questions, and definitely leave your thoughts, feedback, and results if you try either of the tips from this article, or want to leave your own meditation and sleep tips below.