Health and Wellness

These 2 habits can help you live longer, says Bulletproof coffee creator (who plans to live to 180)

SANTA MONICA, CA - OCTOBER 11: Dave Asprey attends the Bulletproof Labs launch on October 11, 2017 in Santa Monica, California.
(Photo by JB Lacroix/ Getty Images)

Jeanne Louise Calment of France proved living to 122 years is possible. When she died in 1997, she made the Guinness World Records as the oldest person ever.

But the entrepreneur who started the Bulletproof coffee craze (that's coffee with grass-fed butter and coconut oil), Dave Asprey, has set his sights on living to 180.

Asprey, 46, founder of food and supplement company Bulletproof 360 and a former Silicon Valley technology executive, does not have a science or clinical background, but he says he has spent more than $1 million and two decades "biohacking" himself with supplements, devices and neurology equipment.

He has a long list of daily rituals (including taking up to 150 supplements a day and using transcranial direct-current stimulation, or tDSC) that he believes will help him perform better and live longer, despite some health-care professionals disputing his methods as not based on science and saying some could potentially be unhealthy. (Asprey says he has combed through thousands of studies, medical literature and spoke to countless researchers to back up his claims.)

Still, Asprey says his two most important life-extending hacks are simple things anyone can do, no supplements or devices required.

Get deeper REM sleep

Asprey says he doesn't get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night, he sleeps only six hours and 10 minutes. But "it's not about how long did I sleep, but about how good of a job did I [sleep] last night," Asprey tells CNBC Make It.

According to Asprey, how well he slept is about how much rapid eye movement (REM) stage sleep he had, because he believes loss of REM sleep leads to aging. While research has not pegged lack of REM sleep as a cause of aging, as you age you spend less of your sleep in REM. And some research has connected lack of REM sleep to a higher risk of certain health issues: In insomniacs it could raise their risk of anxiety or depression, and those with a lack of REM sleep could be at higher risk for dementia. Research has also linked higher REM sleep to improved energy, performance and memory.

To boost REM, Asprey says he creates a dark environment in which to sleep — he unplugs or covers all electrical devices that emit light and uses blackout curtains, which anyone can do. A study from 2017 found that sleeping in total darkness can improve your quality of sleep but did not specifically measure REM sleep.

He also puts his phone on airplane mode to reduce the electromagnetic radiation phones give off, which he believes can interfere with sleep. Science is mixed on whether phone exposure can impact sleep quality: A small study in 2008 funded by mobile phone companies suggested that radiation from using cellphones could disturb one's sleep while a National Institutes of Health study in 2012 found no connection.

However, Asprey also uses a slew of devices from companies that he invests in.

Asprey uses blue-blocker glasses (he owns a company that sells them) a few hours before his 10 p.m. bedtime to block out blue wavelengths of light — the kind of man-made light found in LEDs and electronics, for example. Though all light disrupts sleep, blue light can disrupt sleep more, and some research has shown people who read on a blue-light emitting device before bed tend to have less REM sleep, according to Scientific American. However, some doctors say blue-blocking glasses are hype, not science.

Asprey also uses an Oura Ring device (in which he's an investor) to track his sleep (as does Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey). Asprey is also an investor in the Sonic Sleep Coach app, which he says uses your smartphone's microphone to sense your breathing to determine whether you're in REM sleep. The app then plays specific sounds to help increase someone's deep sleep, he says.

"If it picks up a noise, it even plays audio tones to block out city sounds so your sleep isn't disturbed," Asprey writes in his book, "Super Human."

Some experts, however, dispute the ability of apps to do anything helpful when it comes to tracking what's happening while you sleep.

Skip meals

Intermittent fasting — where you eat normally for eight hours a day, from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. for example, and then eat nothing except to drink water, coffee or plain tea for the other 16 hours — has become trendy among Silicon Valley types and celebrities, and Asprey says it can help you live longer.

Asprey says intermittent fasting can extend your life because it has all kinds of health benefits. While research shows intermittent fasting can cause fat loss (which is beneficial when it comes to things like heart health and cancer risk), other health and longevity benefits have largely been studied in rodents rather than humans. For example, the National Institute on Aging found that intermittent fasting improved heart health and cognition and prevented symptoms of Alzheimer's in mice while protecting nerve cells from dysfunction and degeneration.

Some research has shown that fasting can help to boost brain functioning.

Asprey also says short periods of fasting can stimulate autophagy, the body's way of cleaning out damaged cells in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells, which can help prevent things like cancer and dementia (though again, most of the research on fasting and autophagy has been done on animals).

Asprey says he tends to skip breakfast and only eat lunch and dinner. And when he does eat, he sticks to healthy fats such as avocados, vegetables and grass-fed meats. Asprey also avoids grains, legumes and sugar to stabilize his blood sugar and reduce inflammation.

Experts advise against some people, including the elderly, pregnant women and children, doing any type of fasting. And they caution there are risks with extreme fasts and fasting that lasts longer than 24 hours.

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