Biohacking Blog Series: How Exercise, Coffee & Alcohol Impact Your Sleep + Deep Relaxation Exercises For Better Sleep

Biohacking Blog Series: How Exercise, Coffee & Alcohol Impact Your Sleep + Deep Relaxation Exercises For Better Sleep

If you’ve been keeping up with our biohacking blog series, you’ll have already learned about using cold exposure, heat therapy to biohack your body, and how to biohack your cortisol for less stress and more energy. Over the last couple of weeks, we introduced you to the power of biohacking your sleep. Read the benefits of sleep and why good sleep is essential HERE, and read the top three ways to improve your sleep for greater overall health HERE.

In the first two parts of our biohacking sleep series, we explored the many benefits of sleep, what impacts your sleep, what could be wrecking your slumber, and a few ways to optimise your sleep. Here’s a recap:

  • Sleep is vital for survival, but it also impacts blood sugar, mood, weight gain or weight loss, athletic performance, cognitive health and longevity.
  • Sleep happens in four stages – some of the biggest benefits happen in stage 3 or ‘deep sleep’, and stage 4, known as REM sleep
  • When we’re sleeping, the body releases a pulse of growth hormone, vital for repairing and building muscles and bodily tissue, enhancing brain health and protecting the immune system
  • Whilst we’re asleep, the glymphatic system also ‘sweeps’ through the brain to clear away proteins linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s.
  • Too much stress, too much bright or ‘blue’ light in the evening, eating too late at night, sleeping in a room that is too hot, and overly restricting carbohydrates can all cause poor sleep.
  • Some of the best ways to improve your sleep include; getting plenty of bright light in the morning and turning down lights at night or wearing blue light blocking glasses; setting your bedroom temperature to an optimal 18.3C, taking a warm bath roughly 2 hours to 90 minutes before bed; finishing your last meal 3 hours before bed; and maintaining a routine.
  • Some of the best supplements for sleep include magnesium bisglycinate, Ashwagandha, the LLS calm capsules, glycine, and Reishi mushroom.

Now you’ve caught up on the top ways to improve your sleep, let’s dive straight into our final instalment on sleep, where we’ll cover how to biohack your sleep with exercise and stress-reduction techniques, as well as how sex, caffeine and alcohol impact your sleep.

How Exercise Affects Your Sleep

Statistics from the Sleep Foundation show that between 10% to 30% of people experience chronic insomnia, and that this issue is particularly problematic in older adults, of whom 30-48% experience insomnia. When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, there are many factors that can either wreck your shut-eye or improve your sleep, but no matter your age, exercise is a powerful tool to optimise it. [1]

Research shows that exercising regularly improves sleep quality, sleep quantity and sleep efficiency, and that those who exercise regularly (at least three times per week) tend to report feeling more refreshed and restored upon waking, and less sleepy throughout the day. [2] Many other sleep surveys reveal that those who report exercising three or more times per week report a ‘very good’ or ‘fairly good’ sleep quality, whilst those who exercise less than once per week are more likely to sleep less than six hours per night, experience poor quality sleep, struggle with falling and staying asleep, and are more likely to receive a sleep disorder diagnosis such as insomnia, sleep apnoea, or restless legs syndrome. [3] When looking at insomnia specifically, it seems that regular exercise can even reduce the likelihood of diagnosis by up to 30%, compared to not exercising.

Moderate Vs Vigorous Exercise For Sleep

Exercising to improve sleep doesn’t necessarily require spending hours sweating away in the gym however. Much of the research on how exercise improves sleep involves moderate exercise like walking or simple upper and lower body exercises. Research conducted at the Harvard University School of Medicine found that 20 to 30 minutes of moderate activity every other day helped participants to fall asleep faster and stay asleep for up to 1 hour longer. [4] When we mention ‘sleeping longer’, it’s important to note that exercising doesn’t mean you have to spend more time lying in bed; it means that whilst you’re in bed, you’re sleeping for longer and waking up a lot less, which makes your sleep a lot more efficient and beneficial.

Similar studies conducted on middle aged to older adults found that those who walked for around 20 minutes per day were 30-50% less likely to wake up in the middle of the night, compared to those who were more sedentary; the more active group also felt less sleepy throughout the day, and reported less sleep issues. Since older adults are more likely to experience sleep issues, it’s useful to know that even moderate exercise such as walking can impart huge benefits to sleep.


It isn’t just adults who benefit from exercising to improve their sleep however; children and teens who exercise less than once per week are 160% more likely to experience insomnia, and that children who find it difficult to sleep are more likely to carry those patterns of insomnia into adulthood. [5] Adolescents require a significantly greater amount of sleep than older adults, and when their sleep suffers, it negatively impacts their cardiovascular health, flexibility and muscular endurance. When teens and children are sedentary, this also seems to result in poor sleep quality. [6]

Which Type of Exercise Is Best For Sleep?

Now you know exactly how and why exercise is beneficial for sleep, let’s look at the best type of exercise to improve sleep. Research shows that any type of moderate activity performed for at least 20 minutes once per day can have significant benefits for sleep. This could include walking, swimming, or gentle body weight exercises. Remember that in older adults, even a short walk every other day can have powerful benefits for sleep.

If you want to optimise your sleep however, research shows the best type of exercise to improve sleep is aerobic or ‘cardio’ exercise. Exercise such as running, jogging, swimming, brisk walking, cycling and dancing can all improve sleep quality, and they can also help reduce symptoms of sleep apnoea. Some studies also suggest that moderate cardio workouts are even more beneficial than intense aerobic workouts for improving sleep, perhaps due to the rise in cortisol that intense workouts can sometimes cause. [7] Moderate cardiovascular activity is also known as ‘Zone 2 Cardio’, in which your heartrate is raised and you may perspire, but you can talk at a normal rate – although you shouldn’t be able to sing, according to the ‘talk test’ guidelines’. When engaging in vigorous activity, most people will only be able to utter a few words before needing to catch their breath. [8]

Cardio Vs Resistance Training For Sleep

If your main form of exercise is resistance training or ‘strength training’ (lifting weights, performing body weight exercises, or using resistance bands), then you can also rejoice in the fact that strength training is beneficial for sleep too. For many years, scientists thought cardiovascular exercise was the best way to improve sleep, yet research conducted in 2022 found that resistance training may improve sleep just as much as cardio, and it may even be more beneficial. In one of the largest and longest studies on how different types of exercise impact sleep, researchers found that those who regularly engaged in resistance training actually slept better and for longer than those who completed cardio exercise. Those in the strength training group experienced better sleep efficiency, quantity and quality.

The Best Time To Exercise To Improve Sleep

Although moderate exercise in the evening doesn’t seem to have a significant impact on sleep, vigorous exercise or intense strength training can make it difficult to fall asleep quickly, and intense cardiovascular exercise shortly before bed can make it difficult to stay asleep too. In our last blog, we covered how balancing your circadian rhythms and your cortisol rhythms can hugely improve sleep, so in this sense, it’s best to focus on more restorative and relaxing activities in the evening if you can. If the only time you’re able to exercise is in the evening, stick to it, rather than giving up! If you are able to shift your workouts to the morning however, the release of adrenaline, dopamine, endorphins and even cortisol that can occur with exercise is all supportive of feeling more energised, motivated and awake throughout the day, and more sleepy and relaxed at night.

Key takeaways:

  • Engage in moderate exercise at least 3 times per week
  • Ideally, walk or perform moderate exercise for 20 minutes per day
  • Whether you enjoy cardio or strength training, maintain a regular routine of moderate intensity, and try to shift your workouts to the morning.

How Caffeine Affects Your Sleep


Coffee doesn’t just provide a boost of energy; it directly works to prevent the build-up of a compound within our bodies called adenosine. Throughout the day, the brain naturally produces more and more adenosine, and the higher our levels of adenosine, the more we’ll feel like sleeping. Coffee and other caffeinated drinks block adenosine A2 receptors in the brain, which is why you may feel less sleepy after drinking a cup of tea or coffee throughout the day.

Whilst a cup or two of coffee can be beneficial for improving cognitive function, athletic performance, or even metabolism – when combined with the other ingredients in our upgraded bulletproof coffee – the time of day you choose to drink it could be disturbing your sleep, depending upon how you metabolise caffeine. Some people can seem to drink a cup of coffee at night and sleep soundly, whilst others experience sleep disturbances if they consume caffeine any time after around 12 noon or 1pm. This is all related to how each person metabolises caffeine. Slow caffeine metabolisers tend to get jittery and stay wired for up to nine hours after drinking caffeine, whilst fast caffeine metabolisers simply feel more energetic and alert for a couple of hours. You can usually tell how you metabolise caffeine by observing how you feel after drinking it; if you feel wired and jittery for a long time after drinking coffee, you’re probably a slow caffeine metaboliser, but if you can enjoy an espresso after dinner and fall soundly asleep, you’re more likely to metabolise caffeine quickly.

What Time Should I Stop Drinking Coffee To Improve Sleep?

Research shows caffeine taken 6 hours or less before bed can disrupt sleep; [9] increasing the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep, and causing poor sleep quality. Specifically, drinking caffeine too close to bed time can disturb slow-wave deep sleep, which is the part of sleep we receive the benefits of memory consolidation and learning, improved tissue repair and healing, the maintenance of a healthy immune system, and the ability to wake up feeling refreshed the next day. [10]

Key takeaways:

  • Whilst you don’t have to cut out caffeine completely, it’s wise to restrict your coffee intake to just a couple of cups in the morning, ideally taken more than 9 hours before your bed time, if you really want to optimise your sleep.
  • If you know you’re a fast caffeine metaboliser, you may be able to drink coffee up to 6 hours before going to bed without any sleep disturbance

How Alcohol Affects Your Sleep

How do you feel the night after a few drinks? For most of us, alcohol makes us feel groggy and tired the next morning at best, and at worst it can cause the dreaded hangover symptoms of nausea, fatigue, cravings, headaches, anxiety, and even increased blood pressure. Even without a big night out, regular alcohol drinking can make you feel tired and sluggish, because it affects the sleep cycle, and disrupts the four stages of sleep. [11]

Whilst alcohol can enhance relaxation and sleepiness, and even make us fall asleep faster, alcohol consumption is directly linked to poor quality sleep, poor sleep duration, and can exacerbate symptoms of sleep apnoea. [12] Although many of us respond differently to alcohol, studies generally show low levels of alcohol decrease sleep quality by 9.3%, moderate alcohol consumption (2 drinks for men and 1 drink for women) decreases sleep quality by 24%, and high amounts of alcohol can decrease sleep quality by at least 39.2%. Factor in the dehydration, blood sugar disruption and often poorer food choices we make after drinking alcohol, and it becomes obvious that alcohol is a cocktail for poor sleep.

We know that each sleep cycle has four stages to it, and REM sleep is when dreaming and memory consolidation largely take place. Drinking alcohol before bed is shown to suppress REM sleep in the two cycles of sleep (which equates to at least the first 2 and a half hours of sleep). As the sleep cycle becomes imbalanced and disrupted throughout the night, this can cause frequent waking, shorter sleep duration, and tiredness the next day. Drinking alcohol before sleep also increases the risk of sleep apnoea by 25%. [13]

When Should I Stop Drinking Before Bed To Avoid Sleep Disruption?

Just like caffeine, we all metabolise alcohol at different rates, depending upon age, gender, body mass, medical conditions, as well as the types of foods or supplements we may have consumed prior to drinking. In general however, you can manage the negative effects of alcohol by stopping drinking at least 4 hours before you plan on going to sleep, which should give your body enough time to metabolise the alcohol before bed and reduce sleep disruption. [14]

Key takeaways:

  • If you enjoy drinking alcohol, try to stick to low levels (less than 2 drinks for men, and 1 drink for women)
  • Stay hydrated and keep your blood sugar balanced when drinking to prevent further sleep disruption
  • Stop drinking at least 4 hours before bed to reduce the sleep disruption alcohol can cause

Deep Relaxation Exercises For Sleep


After reading our sleep series, you now have a much deeper understanding of how to biohack your sleep using, light and darkness, temperature, nutrition supplementation, exercise, alcohol and caffeine. The thing is, sometimes getting to sleep is still difficult due to the inevitable stresses of everyday life. For those nights you’re struggling to drift off, here are three deep relaxation exercises to help you sleep. These practices all help reduce stress, calm the nervous system and promote restful sleep:

  1. 4-7-8 breathing (best for anxiety): Inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, and exhale for a count of 8
  2. Progressive Relaxation (best for those who hold lots of muscular tension): Close your eyes and breathe calmly and slowly. Become aware of your toes; scrunch them as tight as you can to tense all the muscles, then let them go and relax. Become aware of your calves; tense the muscles, then release and relax them. Continue upwards and then downwards, tensing and releasing your muscles, finishing by relaxing your toes again.
  3. Binaural beats (best for stress): Listening to Binaural Beats frequencies in the delta range of 1 to 4hz is associated with deep sleep and relaxation, whilst the theta range of 4 to 8hz is linked to REM sleep, relaxation, meditation, reduced anxiety and creativity. Use high quality headphones and choose the type of sound that works best for you. Whilst listening, breathe calmly and slowly, visualising your body relaxing deeper and deeper each time you exhale.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our Biohacking Blog Series so far! Try our sleep-optimising tips to help improve your sleep quality and quantity, and remember to stock up on the supplements that can help improve your sleep too, such as magnesium bisglycinate, ashwagandha, and the LLS Calm capsules.


  • [1] Sleep Foundation. Sleep Statistics. [Online]. Sleep Foundation. Last Updated: .. Available at: Sleep Foundation. Alcohol & Sleep. [Online]. Sleep Foundation. Available at: https://www.sleepfounda [Accessed 20 February 2023].
  • [2] Banno M, Harada Y, Taniguchi M, Tobita R, Tsujimoto H, Tsujimoto Y, Kataoka Y, Noda A. Exercise can improve sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PeerJ. 2018 Jul 11;6:e5172. doi: 10.7717/peerj.5172. PMID: 30018855; PMCID: PMC6045928.
  • [3] Sleep Foundation. Exercise and Sleep. [Online]. Sleep Foundation. Available at: [Accessed 20 February 2023].
  • [4] (2021).Think Health. [Online]. 5 Health Benefits Of Walking: 20 Minutes A Day Makes A Difference. Last Updated: 2021. Available at: [Accessed 20 February 2023].
  • [5] (2022).Children with insomnia symptoms likely to continue to suffer as adults – study. [Online]. Independent. Last Updated: 2022. Available at: [Accessed 20 February 2023].
  • [6] (2021).Sleep and health-related physical fitness in children and adolescents: a systematic review. [Online]. NIH. Last Updated: 2021. Available at: [Accessed 20 February 2023].
  • [7] (2022).Exercises To Promote Sleep. [Online]. WebMD. Last Updated: 2022. Available at: [Accessed 20 February 2023].
  • [8] Sleep Foundation.The Best Exercises To Get Better Sleep. [Online]. Sleep Foundation. Available at: [Accessed 20 February 2023].
  • [9] Caffeine Effects on Sleep Taken 0, 3, or 6 Hours before Going to Bed
  • Christopher Drake,D., F.A.A.S.M., Timothy Roehrs, Ph.D., F.A.A.S.M., John Shambroom, B.S., and Thomas Roth, Ph.D.
  • [10] Sleep Foundation. Caffeine And Sleep. [Online]. Sleep Foundation. Available at: [Accessed 20 February 2023].
  • [11] Alcohol and Sleep. [Online]. Drinkaware. Available at: [Accessed 20 February 2023].
  • [13] Sleep Foundation. Alcohol & Sleep. [Online]. Sleep Foundation. Available at: [Accessed 20 February 2023].
  • [14] Sleep Foundation. Alcohol & Sleep. [Online]. Sleep Foundation. Available at: [Accessed 20 February 2023].

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