Eat your greens, sleep at least seven hours a day and get enough exercise every week. This is the advice you’re used to hearing. Now, familiarise yourself with these strange but useful health tips that will surprise you.  

1. Caffeine improves your naps

You probably associate coffee with keeping awake, but taking a nap immediately after drinking a cup of coffee can actually give you more restful sleep. The thing is, the effects of caffeine don’t kick in immediately. Take a 15-20 minute nap immediately after downing your cuppa and you’ll feel more refreshed compared to doing either on its own, say UK researchers

2. Floss before brushing

Flossing helps to dislodge plague and dirt trapped between your teeth. For the best clean, do so before brushing so that your toothpaste can effectively reach the spaces between your teeth.

3. Don’t brush immediately after meals

On the same note, don’t be too quick to brush your teeth after eating. Certain foods – especially acidic ones – can wear down tooth enamel, and brushing accelerates this process. Think about it, you really don’t want to be rubbing acid all over your pearly whites as you clean them. Wait 30 minutes to an hour before brushing.

4. Minimise use of antibacterial soap 

You may feel a false sense of security when you see your soap bottle claiming to kill 99.99 per cent of germs, but antibacterial soap may not necessarily be better for you than regular soap. According to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), antibacterial soaps often contain harsh chemicals like triclosan which may cause hormonal imbalances when used in the long run. Instead, just wash your hands the proper way with plain soap and water – this is still one of the most effective ways of minimising the spread of infectious diseases.

5. Be more honest to fall sick less

Turns out telling lies are bad for your health. True story! Research from the University of Notre Dame found that when participants lied less over a 10-week period, they reported significant improvements in their physical and mental health. Honest volunteers had fewer headaches and sore throats, and felt less tense or melancholy – probably because of reduced guilt and stress. 

6. Close the toilet lid when you flush 

Unless you like basking in airborne particles of germs and faeces, please put the toilet lid down when you flush. The force of gushing water shoots up pee and poop particles into the air, and these tiny droplets can settle on your bathroom floor, sink, and uh… your toothbrush. This phenomenon was first discovered by a microbiologist in 1975, and we can only hope more people will heed these wise words of wisdom.

7. Get a pet

Furry friends may be the key to a healthier heart. Having a dog is linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, possibly since dog owners tend to get more exercise. Cat owners were also found to have lower risks of fatal heart attacks than non-cat owners. It could be that stroking Pup or Kitty’s fur helped reduce stress levels and increase happiness.


The original version of this story was published in SHAPE on 16 Jan, 2017.

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