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Ways in which to improve your health are usually pretty clear.  For instance, to lose weight you need to eat less and exercise more.  Sleep more to increase your energy.  Drink more water to avoid dehydration.  These are all sound health and wellness tips.  Then there are the  wellness tips that don’t seem to make any sense, but work.  Here are some.

Avoid Energy Drinks When You’re Tired

It kind of seems that energy drinks are precisely for when you are tired, but not necessarily so.  They often contain about 5 times as much caffeine as a coffee and their effects can be rather short-lived.  Plus, they can cause irritability, increased nerves and rapid heartbeat.1  Energy drinks usually contain lots of taurine as well, a stimulant for the brain.  And what goes up, must come down, and crashing down is often the end result.  In your post-crash state, you feel sluggish and have a brain fog, so you must need another energy shot!  Maybe a better option would be getting more sleep.

Don’t Brush After You Eat for Healthier Teeth

Food and drink, especially acidic ones, can soften your enamel.2  The worst culprits are citrus, tomatoes and sodas.  As enamel becomes softer, it can be eroded by brushing and that means damaged teeth.  That doesn’t mean you should avoid brushing at all after you eat.  Just wait at least 30 minutes for your saliva to remove the acids and allow your enamel to return to normal.

Improve Your Nap With Coffee

A study in Japan looked at the best way to get a nap.  The ones who reported being the most alert and also performed best on a computer test actually had caffeine flowing through their veins.  While one group just took a 20 minute snooze, the other drank 200mg of caffeine immediately followed by the same 20-minute rest.3

It might seem at first, that caffeine should interfere with napping.  However, it takes about 20 minutes for it to ‘kick in.’  Thus, the nap ends about the time the caffeine starts working.  A molecule called adenosine, which causes fatigue, builds up in the brain during wakefulness and clears out during rest.  Thus, as the napping ends, adenosine has been reduced and the caffeine, a natural adenosine blocker, reduces its effects even further.  Thus, the nap is essentially improved.

Gain Some Weight to Fit a Smaller Size

I admit I’m deceiving you a little with the titles of some of these wellness tips.  Yes, you want to gain weight, but not fat, muscle.  If you compared two women, both of the same weight, but one a weightlifter, she would likely have a thinner waist than the other.  Muscle is more dense than fat and so a pound of muscle fits in a smaller space than a pound of fat.  Thus, by increasing muscle while also decreasing fat, means you take up less space.  Women often fear getting bulky, but that only happens when you add muscle without losing fat.

Eat More to Eat Less

A low-calorie snack on the go is a good choice, right?  Maybe in theory, but it will likely just make you hungry for more.  Eating a more substantial meal instead, although more calories, will last you longer.4  The problem with eating a little bit of carbs in a low-calorie snack, is that it spikes your blood sugar and increases your desire for more.  While you may get more calories per sitting, you won’t have as many sittings, and thus fewer calories, but with less hunger.

Bloated?  Drink More Water

It would seem that when you are bloated, following wellness tips like this is insane.  But it can actually help. There are really two reasons this may be the case.  First, the more fiber is in your diet, the more water you need to help it work more efficiently.  When you have enough water, fiber creates a gel-like substance in your gut.  This improves movement of food through your digestive tract, which reduces bloating.  Second, dehydration causes water retention.  When you don’t have enough water, your body holds on to what it does have, which may cause some bloating.  By drinking enough, this won’t happen.

Instead of Typing, Write to Remember

One of the best reasons to take handwritten notes, is partly to have a record of them, but also because you remember them better when you do.  A study from Indiana University has shown, writing means better retention.5  Writing does 2 things that typing does not.  First, you learn something only when you process it, which is automatically what happens when you write.  Second, you look at the paper on which you are writing.  This reinforces the information you just processed, further cementing it in your mind.

Drink Something Hot to Make You Cooler

On a hot summer day, studies show that hot coffee cools you more.  In fact, in some cultures that is the way to go.  India is a pretty significant example of this.  Your body constantly monitors your temperature and when you drink something hot, it heats you up internally.  Your body’s response to maintain a proper temperature is to eliminate the extra heat through sweat.  The sweat is able to evaporate from your skin and it takes the extra heat with it.  Thus, you cool down.

Have a Diet Soda To Get Fatter

Now this may be one of the most unexpected welllness tips.  Understand I am not suggesting that diet soda, of itself will make you fat.  Having no calories, it can’t.  However, it can affect you in ways that lead to eating more calories, which can make you fat.  A study at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that people that drank diet soda actually ate more calories than people who drank regular, sugar-filled soda.6  That sounds quite backwards, but those are their results.

Another study from the University of Texas also found that diet soda drinkers had a 70% larger waist that non-drinkers over a 10-years span.7 Most people drink diet soda thinking it is reducing their calories.  What they fail to realize is that it makes them hungrier and they eat more.  Even more than those who drink regular soda.  So, while it doesn’t make you fat itself, you will get fatter by drinking it.

Tired of Exercising?  You SHOULD Exercise When You’re Tired

Being active after a long day is probably not the most appealing of wellness tips.  But it actually energizes your body and mind.  In a study from Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, researchers found an improvement in mood, depression and yes, fatigue, with just a 30-minute workout.8  When you exercise, you increase the movement and efficiency of oxygen use in your cells.  This maximizes their ability to function properly, leaving you energized.  Since your brain needs so much oxygen, it benefits as well.