In this era, we seem to pack more things in a day than ever before, keeping us constantly busy. This means that we have constant stressors on our mind and body, deteriorating our cells, organs and general physiological make up. Luckily, science has been keeping up with the demands of our busy lifestyle and constant research and studies offer simple hacks to negate the detrimental effects of our busy minds and bodies and fit more in your day. Although these don’t replace the benefits of proper sleep, exercise, nutrition and mental exercise, they are a few hacks you can easily implement and benefit from immediately.
You either hate them or love them, but you cannot overlook the scientifically proven benefits of naps. Cultures all over the world have practiced biphasic (sleeping twice a day) or polyphasic (sleeping multiple times a day) for years. Think ‘siestas’ in Mexico, ‘riposo’ in Italy and napping as a constitutional right in China.
Sleeping has become an increasingly important topic of study as longer work hours and technology disrupt the normally recommended 7-9 hours. Most people don’t get as much sleep as they need on weekdays. There is increasing evidence of the advantages of increased cognitive performance and alertness when people adopt napping as a part of their routine. Although it may be inconvenient for some, tech firms around the world are implementing ‘nap pods’ to encourage increased performance. Napping also replaces the sugar or caffeine-fix you reach for at 3pm.
Many tech companies are working on products to help mend our sleeping ways and we recently came across the ‘Oura Ring’ (https://ouraring.com/) which tracks your body temperature and pulse while you sleep. This provides a clear picture of your REM (rapid eye movement) sleeping pattern rather than guessing how you sleep at night.
2. Short Meditation Sessions
Mindfulness and meditation seem to be all the rage at the moment. Results of studies and research seems quite one dimensional on this hack; pointing towards countless benefits.
The release of cortisol is the most basic response of our body to physical, mental, nutritional and environmental stress. Although cortisol is required and beneficial is some quantity, the levels of cortisol production per person in today’s environment is through the roof. Excessive cortisol production is linked to a host of diseases such as heart conditions, endocrine diseases such as diabetes and thyroid malfunction, weight gain and many more. Meditation works to immediately lower cortisol levels in the human body by reducing stress. Short meditation sessions, a couple of times a day are a great bio hack to remove your body from constant stress and subsequently, become more productive and efficient.
3. Green Tea
Hydration is such a basic yet such a vital aspect of the human body performing at optimal levels. Everyone knows they need to be drinking a couple of liters daily, yet dehydration is the most common reason for headaches and lower immunity.
A green tea bag which is constantly refilled with water is such a useful hack as it gets a couple of birds with one stone. Not only are you keeping your body hydrated, your are fueling it with a concentrated form of flavonoids and antioxidants which helps cognitive performance at its peak. Along with this the green tea combats the environmental stressors like the oxidants we face from pollution on a daily basis. Green tea has also been proven to promote fat loss through regulating appetite.
4. Kettle-Bell Swings
Our busy days and conflicting priorities have pushed exercise and physical movement to the bottom of our to-do lists. We would rather drive down the road to pick up bread and get off at the nearest bus stop to save time. This lack of movement can cause many ailments which ultimately means unproductive days.
Many people have read ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferris where he provides hacks for working less. Tim Ferris has also engaged in deep research about hacking exercise and has concluded that kettle-bell swings may be the single most effective workout that promotes fat loss, muscle gain and posture. Kettle-bell swings require just one piece of equipment and approximately four minutes a day to benefit from them. A number of videos online show correct posture and technique.
5. Morning Gratitude
The number one cause for unproductivity and inefficiency is constantly being distracted by thoughts of the future. People want more money, a better job, a bigger house and often forget that by constantly thinking of the future and being unsatisfied by what they have, they are causing stress to their mind, detracting from their current day efficiency.
Although it’s great to have goals and dreams, it can be hard to separate them from being unhappy today. An easy way to remind yourself to think about today and be present, is reminding yourself every morning how grateful you are for what you have. While brushing your teeth, recount 5 things you are grateful for and this will automatically send a hit of dopamine to your mind and will get you excited about the day to come. Not only will you face the day in a better mood, you will have optimized your mind set.
Although it is difficult to completely redo your lifestyle, small hacks like these which don’t require a huge commitment or change are easy to implement. If you are a busy person and want to fit as much as you can in a day without derailing your health and wellbeing, implement these bio-hacks now.