Brain biohacking expert Kayla Barnes | Photo credit Brian Kraiser

Becoming Superhuman

Brain Biohacks to Boost Your Well-Being

By Hailey Bethke

Health is the ultimate wealth. In an age where high performance is at the forefront of our minds, longevity, immunity, and increased functionality are more crucial than ever. With technological innovations streamlining groundbreaking discoveries in human health, we’ve interviewed industry expert Kayla Barnes to learn how to enhance our well-being.

Kayla Barnes is a certified brain-health coach and CEO of her precision medicine and biohacking clinic, LYV Wellness Space. She helps each client achieve his or her best state of being through scientifically proven approaches for longevity and optimal functionality, which are called “biohacks.” “The term biohacking,” she explains, “is simply upgrading your environment internally and externally to benefit your health. The core of biohacking is understanding your biology and working to improve it.”

Barnes’s passion for biohacking and health emerged in her late teen years when she began studying nutrition and came to understand that daily habits directly impact performance, energy, mood, and overall health. As the brain is the “control center” for all bodily functions and emotional regulation, Barnes shares that she naturally felt a pull of curiosity to study it. From this point of interest, she extended her passion to understanding her health data by utilizing technology and proven practices to optimize her quality of life.


While there are many biohacks we can implement into our lives, we first have to focus on what to take out—namely, reducing our exposure to toxins. “This is one of my favorite topics, especially as we are now exposed to more environmental toxins than ever,” Barnes states. Below are her top three tips for getting back to the basics and living toxin-free.

Barnes encourages wellness testing and planning for patients through her clinic, LYV Wellness Space, in Cleveland, Ohio. | Photo credit Brian Kraiser

1. Purchase a Water Purifier:

“Tap water contains unsafe levels of toxins such as lead, arsenic, and chlorine. I recommend buying a reverse osmosis water filter or, if that’s not feasible, seeking out natural spring water and storing it in glass containers. If you use an RO water filter, it is important to note that it removes virtually everything—including necessary minerals. Therefore, I recommend remineralizing your water with trace minerals. Also, never store your water in plastic, and avoid buying plastic water bottles containing microplastics. It is now estimated that we could be consuming a credit card’s worth of plastic each week from so many consumables being packaged in plastic!”

2. Swap Conventional Personal Care Products:

“Women leave the house with an estimated 168 chemicals on their bodies daily. Men leave the house with about half of that figure. Women also have higher rates of autoimmune conditions and Alzheimer’s. From our fragrances to shampoos, deodorants, body lotions, makeup, and skincare, we are exposed to various endocrine-disrupting chemicals. To keep things simple, I use an app called Think Dirty. You can scan as you shop, and the app will give you a score and color coding to help you make the swap to less toxic products. You can also learn about some of the biggest offenders in products from this app, so you know what to keep an eye out for.”

3. Limit EMFs:

“Electromagnetic Frequencies (known as EMFs) are emitted from smart devices, microwaves, Wi-Fi routers, cell phones, and, yes, AirPods. With 5G and the increase in smart tech and smartphones, we are being exposed to new levels of EMFs. You can consider an EMF-blocking device like the Somavedic or EMF-blocking coils, but you can also keep smart devices off when not in use and put your cell phone on airplane mode (especially at night). I also unplug my Wi-Fi router every night before bed.”

Barnes also shares that AirPods emit more than seventy times the amount of EMFs that wired headphones do. “If you look up whether AirPods are safe, of course, they say the radiation is ‘non-ionizing’ and not harmful. But like many things, the research is being funded by the same companies selling the products,” she notes. In short, consider turning your phone on airplane mode at night, ditching your AirPods, and investing in an EMF blocker to limit the strain of EMFs on the body.

Viome is recommended by Barnes for tracking gut and oral health. | Photo courtesy of Viome

How to Stress Less

Much of our country is suffering from high levels of chronic stress. To make the shift from sympathetic overdrive (a “fight or flight” response caused by constant strain on your nervous system) and increase parasympathetic responses (conserving energy for vital functions), Barnes recommends incorporating the following activities into your day.


Take deep breaths with longer exhales than inhales to signal your nervous system to relax. You can always rely on your breath for stability, and consciously taking a deep, calming breath is a tool you can utilize at any given moment.

Setting Boundaries on Social Media:

Set limits to manage your screen time and unfollow accounts that give you anxiety or make you compare yourself to others. Barnes also suggests managing your inputs, like how much of the news you are watching, to take back control over your happiness.


This is a great brain anti-aging practice that helps change how you respond to stress. Meditation can increase the thickness of your hippocampus while decreasing the size of your amygdala, which is the epicenter of fear and stress.

Wire and Fire: Retraining Our Brains

Once we’ve detoxed from stress and environmental toxins, how can we rewire our brains to release trauma stored in our tissues and biohack a strong foundation for our health?

“Our brains have the amazing ability to rewire based on what our inputs are,” Barnes explains. “Our brains wire around inputs. If we constantly watch fear-based news, have negative people in our lives, and feel unhappy and stressed, our brains will be wired for negativity and stress. The neural networks for those emotions will become stronger, while neural connections for happiness and fulfillment will weaken. We are what we repeatedly do. By the time we are around twenty-five, our brains can become rigid in our thinking and emotional responses or even in how we respond to experiences. If we want to change the way we think and react, it must be intentional.

“If you want to be happier or more motivated, fill your life with practices that promote happiness like gratitude, stick reminders or affirmations around you, and meditate on happy situations—you have to truly feel these emotions. Fill your life with motivation, from videos of people you follow to the people you choose to speak with. These interactions and inputs will change the way your brain is wired over time.”

Barnes’s Tech Recommendations

Technological advancements are recent game changers in the functional health space. Barnes believes these innovations are beneficial for diagnostics, expedited healing, and supercharging our cells for ultimate well-being. Below are her recommendations for at-home tech purchases (all of which she uses herself), which can help us understand and level up our health.


Oura Ring

“The Oura ring is an at-home sleep and health tracker that monitors vitals such as heart rate and oxygen saturation while we sleep,” Barnes explains. “It also offers you data on the quality of your sleep, such as your amount of REM sleep, which is crucial for learning and memory, and deep sleep, where cellular repair and healing takes place. The Oura ring also measures HRV (heart rate variability), a measure of stress on your body. This device is useful for understanding your sleep—a fundamental pillar of health—so you can then biohack your sleep to get more restorative Zzzs.” Barnes also recommends Oura for its ability to detect an oncoming illness using data such as increased body temperature, heart rate, or respiration rate.


“The core of biohacking is understanding your biomarkers, or health data, to optimize them. Traditional medicine looks at ‘standard ranges’—yet consider that the average patient going to a lab for a test is usually a sick patient. So, in traditional medicine, we are comparing our normal ranges to those who are ill. This is why in functional and precision medicine, we look for optimal ranges, not just normal ones. Who wants to be normal when you can be optimal? InsideTracker is a great tool you can use from the comfort of your home. You can either visit a lab for a blood draw or book a phlebotomist to come to you. Your blood is then analyzed, and you are shown your results; we always aim for optimal ranges so you can perform your best. InsideTracker also gives you a personalized plan to improve biomarkers that need work.” Barnes offers precision medicine testing and a wide variety of similar procedures at her clinic, LYV Wellness Space, in Cleveland, Ohio.


Viome is an easy at-home test kit Barnes recommends for gut and oral health. “Gut testing is critical for better health,” she emphasizes. “Your gut and brain are directly connected, so your gut health impacts your brain health. With Viome, you can submit a simple stool test and a few drops of blood to understand your gut health and food sensitivities better. They also offer custom supplements tailored to exactly what your body needs.”

Biology Upgrading

Red Light Therapy

“I love red light therapy, and it is part of my daily practice. Red light is known for its topical benefits, like reducing inflammation in the skin, increasing elasticity, and helping to prevent fine lines and wrinkles. Infrared light is great for deeper healing and can boost mitochondrial function. Our mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells, so better mitochondrial function equals more energy.”

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF)

“This can be a helpful therapy for reducing inflammation, improving heart rate variability, and helping with athletic recovery. PEMF mimics natural healing frequencies from the earth. We know the benefits of grounding are backed by science, and PEMF offers incredible healing advantages.”

To biohack your life and regain control over your health narrative, Barnes empowers you to master the basics: deep sleep, balanced nutrition, soaking up sunlight each morning, prioritizing movement, and testing your biomarkers regularly (approximately every six months).

Kayla’s Daily Rituals

Our health is built on the foundation of our daily habits, so there are many things we can do to increase our longevity. Barnes shares that nutrition, sleep, movement, and mindfulness are her primary focuses for vitality, along with her favorite micro biohacks, which she shares in her daily routine below.

6:15 a.m.

  • Wake up
  • Coconut oil pulling and tongue scraping followed by teeth brushing
  • Walking to the gym and soaking up natural sunlight. 10-30 minutes of this every day; 10 minutes if it is sunny, 30 if it is overcast. Getting sun into the eyes is great for your circadian rhythm and will naturally boost your energy and help you sleep better at night.

7:00 a.m.

  • Workout: Barnes loves walking and strength training, especially since maintaining muscle mass as we age has been scientifically proven to benefit our health.
  • 8:30 a.m.
  • Walking home (more natural sunlight intake!)
  • Red light panel therapy (10 minutes)
  • Morning meditation (20 minutes)
  • Gratitude practice
  • Cold shower (increases adrenaline for natural energy, boosts dopamine, strengthens blood-brain barrier)


  • Throughout working hours, Barnes recommends incorporating movement wherever possible, such as walking outside while on phone calls.
  • Wearing blue-light blockers during screen time
  • Evening
  • Deep breathing to activate the parasympathetic nervous system
  • Reading before bed
  • Ensuring the room is dark and cool for optimal sleep

— V —

To learn more about biohacking and to upgrade your health, follow Kayla Barnes on Instagram @kaylabarnes, listen to her podcast, Brain Biohacking, and connect with her at

Share This Story!