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Current Breakfast Shake / Stack

Its been a while since my last post. Which has given me time to test out my various supplements and come up with a stack that I both like and can feel the effects of on a daily basis. This is still a work in progress and I’m still working on adapting it into a night and day formula.

The Breakfast shake (Taken within 30 min of waking up) based on the recipe for Occam’s protocol in the 4 Hour Body:

Optional:

  • AlphaBrain — Individual results may vary I find that it works well for me (I do get a strong reaction from Huperzine A), I tend to only take it on days where I know I’m going to be engaging in mentally strenuous activities at work and need the additional focus

  • StronBone — I add this on workout days, personally not sure how well it works but at worst it’s a calcium supplement taken with a ton of vitamin D. I’ll probably switch back to a more generic cheaper option when this bottle runs out.

  • Krill Oil — Theoretically stronger than your average fish oil. One of the things I like about the Onnit brand is that they include manufacture dates and in the case of fish oils this is exactly something you want (to avoid ingesting something that has gone rancid).

Still experimenting:

  • Creatine — I add this on workout days, I need to research loading and cycling of it though. so It may be better to add it to the main mix

  • L-Glutamine — According to Tim Ferriss in the 4 hour Body adding this will decrease recovery times from workouts.

So far I’m pleased with the results I get from the shake. On days that I take it I feel great (and will usually feel pretty good the next day as well if not taken again). Anecdotally I have also found that I’m able to stay mentally sharp well into the afternoon regardless of how much physical work I’ve done that morning. I’m not sure if it’s related but I have found that I’m sleeping better. I may have to break out the Zeo and see if I can quantify this.

Anyway, I hope you all find this interesting. I probably won’t get around to posting again until after the holidays but I should be done with the current round of experiments by then.

—Jeremy

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SOON…

SOON…

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Follow up on my hypnagogia post

Unfortunately my frequency of hypnagogia has decreased sharply since my last post. I attribute this partially to a change in supplements as well as a slight change in sleeping patterns. However, I did manage to capture hypnagogic experiences while wearing my zeo twice. The biggest thing that stood out to me was that these events were happening in light sleep. This would explain a lack of ability in conjuring vivid imagery as I am not in REM when it happens. In one of the two nights I did pass through REM sleep on my way into hypnagogia which I find interesting, but right now the sample set is way too small to hypothesize about that. I feel as though I need to refocus on getting into the state more often before I seriously consider deeper data collection.

I would love to go back and set up one of my arduinos to record the raw eeg waveform to see what is going on in my head from a brainwave level perspective. Perhaps I could identify a fingerprint for the experience to identify other nights that this happens where I simply fall asleep and don’t remember the episode. Anyway, just a thought.

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wanderingvulpes asked: you should look into the book lucid dreaming: gateway to the inner self written by robert waggoner

I’ve heard good things about that book but never got around to reading it. My reading list is actually longer than my todo list at the moment. Though, if I keep having hypnogogia I will definitely look into it sooner rather than later.

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An introduction to Biohacking and Brain Hacking Part 2 of 6 — Hypnagogia and Lucid Dreaming

Originally I wanted to post about more advanced nootropics, but as part of doing that I felt I needed more direct experience with them. During this time I discovered that my Adrafinil was not actually Adrafinil. So as a quick warning before moving on: “Buyer beware” especially when buying from untrusted sources online.

Over the last 3 weeks I have had a massive increase in the amount of hypnagogia that I’m experiencing (up from once per 3 months to 8 times in 3 weeks). Hypnagogia, for those who don’t week like using wikipedia, is the transition state between awake and asleep where the body has fallen asleep but you are still conscious. I tend to no remain 100% conscious into the transition. I will instead reawaken into the state about 5 minutes into sleep.

Now, I’ve had a lot of problems with trying to lucid dream. Usually when I become aware that I’m dreaming I either forget or I will wake up. On the off chance that I manage to stay asleep I will usually lose the dream and seldom be able to change anything. The hypnagogic state is the exception to the rule. When I have had them in the past I have tried to wake up but something about the state will not allow me to. Now, in this state I am already aware that I’m asleep and unable to wake up so for the last week I have been experimenting with creating lucid dreams. Note, you have to create them from scratch since you are not really dreaming and at most are experiencing some form of dream version of your bed room.

I’ve had mixed success with creating dreams. My problem is that the dream imagery I create is not as detailed as what I experience in ‘normal’ dreams. Perhaps with practice I can improve this, but for the time being I’m excited that I can reliably create a lucid state to experiment with.

Two things that I have experimented with involve creating other characters and talking with my subconscious. Creating characters was easy, giving them life was another deal entirely and I have yet to successfully create more than an object of a person. Last night I though I would try communicating with my subconscious. A number of years ago I read an intro to HUNA. I’m not a fan of New Age type stuff but I liked the idea of having an avatar of your subconscious and giving them a name. Anyway, I told him that we needed to talk and in a very abstract way he responded. I would describe the response as feeling like I put my head in the path of a fire hose on full blast. There were a lot of auditory hallucinations that were completely unintelligible as well as some mild discomfort. I did this twice before giving up for the night.

Going forward, I really want to do some more of these experiments with my Zeo set up for full EEG recording. I’m sure the graph looks very interesting. I also have a theory that I do this a lot more often than I realize but that more often than not I simply don’t wake up and forget that it even happened.

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soylentme:

As our formula nears completion we have lately made several changes that we believe are worth sharing with the community. These changes were deemed important enough to bump the version number to v0.8. It is worth noting that we are currently testing v0.9 on ourselves and beta users and will be…

I’m really looking forward to getting my batch of Soylent at the end of September. My plan is to replace all 3 week day meals and have my slow-carb cheat day on Saturday followed by a normal slow-carb day on Sunday. I will definitely post results.

In the mean time I may try some of the DIY variants as well as try to DIY my own variant as soon as I catch up on my other projects and the summer convention scene is behind us.

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An introduction to Biohacking and Brain Hacking Part 1 of 6 — Introduction to nootropics (Caffeine + L-Theanine)

Disclaimer: This is a continual work in progress. My experiences will probably be different from yours and you should probably do your own research before attempting any supplementation on your own.

I recently acquired a bunch of supplements in raw powder form and have been making my own pills. Generally I’m looking to get over my soda addiction which is incurring close to 250,000 calories a year which needs to change. I gave up soda and caffeine before but I found the afternoon doldrums to be too much and revitalized the habit in the name of productivity. I recently discovered the nootropics subreddit which piqued my interest in taking caffeine supplements.

A few weeks ago I started my first experiments with caffeine. The results were better than I expected as pure caffeine is more potent than caffeine in a soda and it does not have a sugar rush/crash cycle with it either. I could go on about the health benefits of taking it in this form but I must also give a warning. 1/8th of a teaspoon is equivalent to a 1L Mt. Dew and it is very easy to overdose if you get reckless with the stuff. I have a high tolerance for caffeine so take that into account when I share my stack below. Anyway, second disclaimers aside here is what I have discovered works best for me:

8am — 150mg Caffeine + topping off the pill with some protein powder

8am — 8:15am  15min nap before the Caffeine kicks in

8:15am — 200mg L-Theanine, 1x Multivitamin, 2000 IU vitamin D-3, 1x Grean Tea Extract Pill, 300mg St.John’s Wort

1pm — 90mg Caffeine + protein powder

11:30pm — 200mg L-Theanine, 3mg Melatonin (Optional)

I really like taking a nap between taking the caffeine pill and getting out of bed. This is called a caffeine nap and is quite a powerful technique for rebooting the brain and helping one get out of bed in the morning. Then when I get out of bed I take a pill of L-Theanine which acts as a caffeine antagonist which removes most of the negative side effects of the caffeine and leaves you completely focused w/out any of the jitters or anxiety associated with heavy caffeine usage.

At the end of the day I will take 200mg of L-Theanine and Melatonin to insure I get a good nights sleep. This is completely optional and I try to avoid doing it so that I don’t get habituated to the additional Melatonin. Over the last few weeks I have used my Zeo to determine quality of sleep when taking the two and while I have not seen an increase of overall quality I didn’t see a drop in it either which can be a common problem with sedatives.

Tune in next time where I will talk about some of my ongoing research into the Racetam family, Adrafinil, and Huperzine A.image

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So, a few weeks ago I finally got around to building out my my battlestation of mass fabrication. First picture is my 3d printer space. Second picture is my laptop and electronics space complete with component storage. Third picture is of my poster printer (Yes I’ll print stuff out for a modest sum [less than Office Depot/Staples]), in the background is my Electric Cello which I really need to do more work with. Final picture is of my misc bench. Right now I’m using it for biochem hacking vie custom supplementation, however I also use it for drawing and cutting posters. The storage space below hosts posters I’m not displaying at the moment as well as paper supplies for the printer.

I have contributed to a kickstarter campaign to get something called an omni http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1944625487/omni-move-naturally-in-your-favorite-game I plan on building out a space for it to the left of My 3d printer come January and make it into a dedicated VR experimentation area. I also contributed to the Occulus Rift so the immersion is going to be absolutely excellent. I really want to see some people make some basic 3d world exploration games where people can just wander around and sight see. Normally such a game would be boring, but if you are actually getting to walk around in the world then it becomes an entirely different experience.

I plan on posting again tonight on my experiences for the first 2 weeks of bio-hacking.

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3D Printed Arduino MEGA/DUE protector

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This is my first printed object that I have actually designed myself. I made this because I like to work on the Arduino and I thought it would be best to protect it from shorting out on whatever I placed it on. Originally I was thinking about making a full enclosure, but I realized that that would really require more plastic than is necessary. Personally I really like the skeleton look.

Plans for the future:

  • One of the pegs is off by about 0.1mm, I need to fix that
  • Make the 4 shafts a little thicker and add little wire clips/organizers to them.
  • Make it stackable
  • Standardize the 4 shafts into a more rectangular/symmetrical shape
  • Create some add on holders for additional Arduinos and common sensor/expansion boards
  • Make the backbone a little more artistic
  • Add support for the Uno sized Arduinos
  • Parametric python script (I need to learn python first)

After I revise the design a bit had have some of the add-ons above I’ll post it to thingiverse. As always I’m open to suggestions for features/improvements.

—Jeremy J.

Tags: arduino
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Small Update

Ok, so i have been a bit absent from this project page because I have not had much time for projects. I ordered a new Arduino Due to replace my Arduino Mega in my Zeo project. I’m doing a ground up rewrite of the code to accommodate more features while using programming standards that are a little easier to understand. Some of the features I’m implementing:

SD Card Support - store data, summaries, and settings locally. Will als implement a state file in case the zeo looses power temporarily during the night. Also will support mp3 or wav based custom alarms and lucid dream triggers.

Dynamic alarms:

Reimplementation of Zeo’s smart wake

Day/time alarms (get up earlier during the week and later on weekends)

Alarm override - for days you needs to get up later or earlier than usual

Alarm on sleep quantity - trigger alarm after 6 hrs of sleep, or after 2.5 hrs REM, etc…

Artificial sunrise

I have some more features planned, so stay tuned

Tags: zeo arduino
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Overall I am pretty happy with my new printer. I need to get ReplicatorG working properly on my machine, right now it is giving me problems, but the printer prints from the SD card just fine. Looking at my first print I need to do a little bit of calibration work. there are a few areas that are a little off. and of course this printed w/out supports so there are a few problems supports would fix.

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Sleep Data

all charts generated from samples taken 5s apart w/ a 12 sample rolling average.

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Sleep Lab Update

Ok, so I got my motion sensor and temp/humidity sensor in and wired up. I grabbed example arduino sketches and confirmed that the sensors worked. I have wired them up in my room. I just need to add a few lines of code to my arduino/zeo sketch to sample the sensors and output the data w/ the rest of the stream. I will probably need to do some experimentation over the next few nights to calibrate the sensitivity of the motion sensor but other than that expect a post w/ some sleep graphs this time next week.

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Workshop Update

I have have been procrastinating publishing my updated Arduino code until I am able to add the ‘Optional Serial Port’ feature. I have also been diligently collecting nightly sleep data for analysis. I’m trying to find a balance between producing an easier to read graph and a more accurate graph.

Anyway, I got my first of two shipments in from China. This one included a bunch of jumper wire/ribbon cables (FF and MF). These will allow me to do more experimentation with my DE0-Nano FPGA.

I also got four RS-232 to TTL converters. I basically saw them, for only a few dollars, and I realized that I run a lot of computer equipment that is configured through a serial terminal interface (Cisco routers, Power Connect Switches, Disk enclosures, etc…). I think it would be really cool to build out an Arduino Mega to dynamically alter the configuration of my network based on say a series of physical switches and buttons. You could have an internet kill button that admin disables the internet interface, or read state information from the router and play audio alerts such as “We are under attack” when a syn flood is detected. Anyway, I’m pretty excited about them.

My motion sensor also came in. I’m going to wait until the temp/humidity sensor comes in before I connect it and program it.

Finally, I was able to find my good soldering iron. It’s not really an improvement or anything, I was just getting a little frustrated that I couldn’t find it.

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More Sleep Data

I managed to do another data capture last night. Instead of capturing every 10 seconds I set it to capture every second(which is what the Zeo outputs). I did have a bit of sleep onset insomnia (Performance anxiety???) last night so I had to trim the data down to meet Excel’s 30,000 data point limit for charts. Below is a sample of the raw frequency bins, as output by the Zeo, overlaid with my sleep stage.

As you can see it’s not pretty. I decided to take the 300 second average and produce a new chart. I then skewed the sleep stage by 150 samples so that it would properly match the graph.

This graph, link to full, actually gives us something useful and I’ve been staring at it quite a bit. I find it interesting to see which groups of brainwaves group together to form the various stages of sleep.

Some time in the distant future I would like to create some code that can calculate this data in real time and give me real time bio-feedback both for meditation and for sleep engineering experiments.

I currently have some parts on order (from China because I’m being cheap) that will enable me to sample the external environment and plot the data in real time along with the sleep data the device already provides. Sensors that I’m integrating include Digital Temp/Humidity sensor and an infrared motion sensor (detect restlessness).

After those devices are integrated I want to look into measuring body temp through a wireless device. I remember reading on one of the sleep blogs that muscle paralysis in REM sleep causes a drop in body temp [source] which can lead to the individual waking up during REM sleep. It would be incredibly trivial to program the Arduino to kick on an electric blanket whenever it detects that the user has entered REM sleep and is experiencing a temperature drop.

I had a bit of a setback with my LED light string. Basically I overloaded a power supply  crossed some wires, and now it’s broken. This weekend I’m going to try and cut the string in half to see if only the first few were effected, but I doubt that. My plan is to use an LED string to emulate a NightWave. Then have the string flash red when you are in REM sleep to promote lucid dreaming. If you wake up in the middle of the night it can kick on a very low power nightlight. Then in the morning act as an artificial sunrise.

Anyway, that’s it for now. This weekend I hope to upload the updated version of my Arduino code (Now 100% Arduino Uno compatible).

—Jeremy

Tags: Zeo