Our habits define us and particularly the quality of our lives in so many surprising ways. And while harmful habits can really affect our physical and mental wellbeing, there are also those patterns that can make a positive change to our lives, with the most obvious ones being habits like a healthy diet and exercise. But things are not always so clear cut, and habits that you might not think are good, or those that just seem plain weird may actually turn out to be very beneficial. In this article, we’ve listed 14 such surprising habits that are actually quite good for you.
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.