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It’s amazing how much your environment and habits can affect how you feel. Our bodies are amazing contrivances, with some of the most interesting elements influencing our health and performance every day. Here are some quirky connections that might surprise you, and how you can make changes to optimize your quality of life through fascinating and natural means.
Getting Sleep Matters
There is more to slumber than meets the eye. It appears not much is going while you sleep, but your mind and body perform vital processes to restore you from the day and keep you healthy. In fact, Business Insider explains there are a number of benefits you miss out on when your sleep is of poor quality, or if you just don’t sleep enough. Your ability to retain information, think clearly, and your mood all go downhill when your shut-eye is insufficient. Poor sleep can also mean inhibited coordination and increased pain. Aim for seven to nine hours of slumber every night. Also, examine your sleep habits to see if you need to make some changes, and take a hard look at your mattress. If you awaken stiff, sore, or with brain fog every morning, it might be time for an update, since mattresses have a useful lifespan of just seven to 10 years.
Brush Up for Heart Health
Science is revealing an interesting connection between the health of your gums and the health of your heart. It seems those with gum disease are more apt to have heart problems, and vice versa. While keeping your mouth in good order might not prevent heart troubles, there is increasing evidence that the issues could go hand in hand. Be alert to signs of gum disease, such as gums that bleed easily or have inflammation, and make oral hygiene a priority. Brush properly at least a couple times each day, replace toothbrushes regularly, and floss daily. Use a good mouthwash to follow up, and avoid snacking before bed, especially without brushing afterward. If your gums are inflamed, use a salt water rinse to help them heal.
Gut Health and Brain Health
Did you know the health of your digestive tract is directly linked with your mental health? When one is upset, the other reflects there’s trouble afoot. As Healthline explains, your brain and gut are connected in many ways, and when you are stressed or have inflammation in either area, the other responds directly. You can keep your mind healthier, both now and in the long run, by balancing your digestive tract through a healthier diet. Look for foods with fiber, probiotics, and prebiotics. Fiber can be found in foods like beans, chickpeas, bran, and berries. Also, look to fermented foods for probiotics, such as pickles, yogurt, miso, and sauerkraut. Prebiotics are in fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, garlic, asparagus, and onions.
Giggles, Guffaws, and Grins
We all enjoy laughing, and we’ll even go out of our way to pay people to make us laugh or to tune into our favorite sitcom. Could we be seeking healing through entertainment? Some scientists seem to think so since there could be a connection between laughter and improved immune function. It seems we can lower our levels of stress hormones when we spend time cutting up, and at the same time, we appear to have a more positive outlook on life and be less inclined toward depression and anxiety. Even if you don’t find anything humorous, you can slap on a smile and still get some health benefits. A simple grin appears to lower stress levels, lift your mood, and boost immune function — even if you have to force it.
Some of the strangest things can make a big difference in how well you feel and function on a daily basis. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep, keep up with your teeth and gums, balance your digestion, and enjoy a good belly laugh. You’ll live a richer, healthier life through these interestingly simple and natural remedies.
Julia Merrill is the editor of BefriendYourDoc.org dedicated to bridging the gap between medical providers and their patients offering information and tips on finding the right medical care.