Hormesis And Sleep Hacking

What Is Hormesis?

Hormesis is a biological phenomenon whereby a beneficial effect results from exposure to low doses of an agent that is otherwise toxic or lethal when given at higher doses.

You certainly did not have a moment of epiphany from reading that small definition up there but I can guarantee you that the next 5-10 minutes that you spend on understanding what hormesis is and how it applies to your life will pay back positive results 10 times or even 100 times to the amount of little energy and time you spend on reading these two articles below.

To get a thorough understanding of what hormesis is and why I hold it in such high regards, I urge you to read these two posts on hormesis first: This and this.

If you could really comprehend, what hormesis is from those articles and how amazing it is as a concept for life, your mind should be full of questions like ‘does hormesis apply to every single thing in life? Why is hormesis not more famous and mainstream? Is XYZ caused/possible by hormesis? Are there any exceptions to hormesis?’ and so on…

If the articles didn’t captivate you enough to make you ask such questions to yourself, I assume you either already knew what hormesis is or really haven’t understood how deep it’s application is, and in the latter case, trust me, you will have your moment of epiphany someday soon.

Hormesis and Sleep Hacking

If you are wondering about what the connection is between hormesis and sleep hacking, let’s take a look at few of the examples of hormesis discussed in the above articles and you will notice how a similar pattern applies to sleep hacking too.

1. Exercise/ Physical stress

2. Sunlight

I am going to restrain myself to only two simple illustrations, which also happen to be fairly relatable to everyday life, up there because hormesis has been verified to be true for around 5600 dose-response relationships till date and I believe you have a fair idea of what hormesis is by now.

So does the concept of hormesis apply to sleep hacking too and how? Yes! It surely does and here’s how.

3. Sleep Hacking/Polyphasic sleeping

A sudden transition from the usual 9 hour sleep schedule to the Uberman or the Everyman sleep schedule or a total deprivation from sleep completely for a period of over a few days results in a high dose of stress which your body cannot adapt to and has harmful effects such as adverse effects on mental health or even death in some cases.

However, just like other stress agents, sleep deprivation is highly beneficial when applied in lower doses and will actually make your mind and body stronger and more efficient.

The Easy Sleep Hacking guide uses the same principle of hormesis and talks about the benefits of sleep hacking in depth when applied in a small dose using a progressively decreasing transition, while at the same time giving the body enough time to adapt to the changes in sleep schedules.

Your body is Better than you think it is

Most people are extremely worried about placing even the tiniest discomforts and stresses on their mind and body thinking that if they happen to do so, their minds and bodies would just breakdown.

They forget that the body has a progressively adaptative mechanism for literally every sort of stress as long as the stress is not extremely heavy in nature. Way too much emphasis is placed on eliminating the tiniest discomforts while forgetting the fact that the human body has adapted itself to survive different kind of stresses which even the dinosaurs and other fierce beasts couldn’t survive. We as a human race would have never made it this far had we not been able to adapt to the stress our surrounding presents us with.

Maybe Friedrich Nietzsche’s adage “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” is too general as a statement. But at the moment, I can hardly come up with even one single agent (sunlight, physical stress, etc) that is lethal in higher doses but NOT beneficial in lower doses. Can you? 

About the Author

Pulsify / Creator & Editor

I sleep less and live more. Read more about me here