1. Drinking Caffeinated Beverages Right Before a Nap
Drinking coffee before a nap may seem very counterintuitive, but it turns out that it can be very beneficial. For one, many people drink tea right before bed, and that contains a lot of caffeine, too, so don't be intimidated by caffeine and just try it. In fact, there are actual studies done on the topic showing that people who drank coffee right before napping actually woke up more refreshed and energized.
This has to do with our brain neurochemistry and the fact that caffeine and a neurotransmitter called adenosine attach to the same brain receptors. Adenosine is the brain hormone that makes us sleepy, the levels of which increase right before sleep, but then rapidly decrease during sleep. If you drink coffee right before sleep, the caffeine gets attached to the brain receptors, blocking them for adenosine and making you feel a lot less sleepy than you would without the caffeinated beverage. This way, coffee actually makes you feel more energized after the nap.
2. Sleeping With Your Pets
About half of all pet owners are sleeping in one bed or in one room with their pets, but is that a good idea? Well, it turns out that, if you're not allergic to your pet, there are more health benefits to that than there are dangers, just make sure to keep your pet clean and vaccinated regularly.
Among the benefits are a greater sense of calmness and security, as well as better sleep, as shown in a study researching the effect of dogs on human sleep. Apart from that, both cats and dogs have a higher body temperature than humans, which makes them the perfect companion on cold winter nights.
3. Talking to Yourself
Just making things clear here, talking to yourself in public is not the best idea, as society at large does consider it a possible symptom of mental illness. But in the privacy of your own home, talking to yourself may actually turn out to be beneficial. This is because we process the words we hear differently than our thoughts, so if you need to think things through more thoroughly and logically, try saying it out loud and reflecting on your statement.
4. Jumping on a Trampoline
Jumping on a trampoline may seem like a very childish thing to do, but in reality, it's just very good for you. Like any other cardio exercise, it will strengthen your heart and improve blood circulation and endurance. In fact, a NASA study established long ago that jumping on a trampoline can be more than twice as efficient as running.
Apart from that, it's also a great way to train balance and coordination, and recent research even showed that it may improve bone density in the long run.
5. Barefoot Walking and Running
During the day, our feet accumulate so much tension, especially if the shoes we're wearing don't fit us perfectly, or just because your shoes have slightly higher heels or you're walking too much. The bottom line is, tension in the feet is nearly unavoidable. Luckily, it's also easily reversible, and all you have to do to release the tension is practice walking or even running barefoot.
Naturally, you have to be careful and avoid sharp objects, especially when you decide to walk barefoot outdoors, but the benefits of this exercise are pretty amazing: better mobility in the feet, less tension and water retention, and most importantly, an improved balance and stronger leg muscles, all essentials for a long, active and enjoyable life.
6. Writing by Hand
Making handwritten notes and messages is pretty special, and not only because it has sentimental value. If you want to remember something better or focus more on the subject you're writing about, it's best to use your pen and not your keyboard to record it.
This finding was established by a psychological study based at the State University of Indiana, which pointed out that writing engages more brain areas compared to typing, and so it makes for better memorizing and more engagement with the material. In the study, subjects who took notes on laptops were much worse at recalling and understanding the material than those who wrote down the notes, which only proves the obvious - writing isn't going out of fashion any time soon.
7. Doing Nothing At All
In a society that values hard work more than anything, it's difficult to conceptualize the idea that doing nothing can be more beneficial to our wellbeing than investing all the time we have on 'productive' tasks. Well, that's a real shame, since an increased number of scientific articles suggest that unwinding is just as important for our physical and mental health as anything else.
Most of these papers focus on the effect of meditation on the human body and soul, as it is the ultimate, most intentional act of doing nothing, but by far not everyone is cut out for meditation, so any way you like to take your mind off of the daily struggles will benefit you. So, the next time you 'waste' your day doing nothing, don't feel guilty, as everyone needs a bit of laziness in their life, too.
8. Sleeping in Socks
Have trouble falling asleep? Try sleeping in socks. Yes, we're absolutely serious, sleeping in socks can help you feel warmer in cozy in bed and will make you fall asleep faster. This is because our sleep cycles are dependent on skin temperatures.
In fact, sleep study showed that sleeping is socks or taking a warm foot bath before sleep helped the subjects that don't suffer from insomnia fall asleep faster by increasing their body temperature, so don't hesitate to wear a pair of cozy socks to bed. Just make sure to have a separate clean pair of sleeping socks, of course.
Do you want to boost your creativity and make your brain more efficient overall? Then you better start daydreaming right away, as it has been shown time and time again that daydreaming helps increase neuro-connectivity in the brain. Neuro-connectivity, or the ability of our neurons to form connections with each other, is crucial for healthy and improved brain functioning.
On top of that, letting your mind wander is a great exercise for your working memory, which is crucial for reasonable thinking, decision-making, and many other important behaviors.
10. Smelling More Cucumbers and Apples
How could the mere smell of green apples and cucumbers benefit me, you might ask, and rightfully so, as most of us would say that you actually have to eat fruit and vegetables to derive any real benefit from them. And yes, smelly a tasty food may help you develop an appetite, which can help you digest foods better, but that's not the benefit we had in mind.
The benefit we wanted to tell you is much, much weirder. It goes back to a 1995 study researching the effect of different smells on symptoms of claustrophobia. It turns out that the smell of cucumbers and green apples actually helped patients cope with the symptoms, as the smell of these two foods made them believe the room they were in was actually larger. Interestingly enough, the smell of barbecue had a reverse effect.
11. Using a Tongue Scraper
Have you ever wondered what this tool is for? You will typically see it hanging on the distant outskirts of the shelf in the toothbrush section, the humble tongue scraper. This tool may sound terrifying, and truth be told, there are activities more pleasant than scraping your tongue, but if you do, it definitely pays off.
In fact, scraping your tongue is one of the most effective ways of getting rid of bad breath. Apart from that, it's an excellent and effective way to prevent cavities, gum infections, and even colds.
Here's another "childish" activity that is both quite fun and quite good for you, hula-hooping. First of all, it's exercise, and only 30 minutes of the activity can burn you around 200 calories, according to Mayo Clinic's research. And the best thing is, you can totally do it in front of the television, just saying.
13. Sleeping Naked
Remember us mentioning the importance of temperature regulations for healthy sleep? Well, the reason you might have sleep problems may be the abundance of fabric layers you're covering yourself in. Believe it or not, the best way to regulate your body temperature is to wear nothing, especially in hot weather.
Additionally, sleeping naked has many other health benefits, which we discussed in the article 10 Reasons to Sleep Naked, so don't be shy and just try it.
Many people were waiting for this one, we're sure of it. Yes, we're happy to announce that letting your inner sailor loose from time to time has its benefits, too. For one, swearing in response to pain was shown experimentally to decrease the perception of pain and therefore increased pain tolerance in subjects.
The study was conducted by measuring participants' pain tolerance to being immersed in ice-cold water, and it showed that those who were allowed to curse were more tolerant to pain, likely because swearing induces the fight-or-flight response. So, the next time you're stuck in traffic, don't forget to 'induce your fight-or-flight response'.