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12 Counterintuitive Health Tips That Really Work


Oct. 12, 2014 Huffington Post

Many methods to improve your health are pretty straightforward: To lose weight, eat less and exercise more; to boost your energy, get more sleep; to prevent dehydration, drink more water. Others, however, are totally counterintuitive. The following 12 tips really do work — but they may leave you scratching your head.

1. Drink Coffee to have a Better Nap.

In a Japanese study that examined how to make the most of a nap, people who took a “coffee nap” — consuming about 200 milligrams of caffeine (the amount in one to two cups of coffee) and then immediately taking a 20-minute rest — felt more alert and performed better on computer tests than those who only took a nap.

Why does this work? A 20-minute nap ends just as the caffeine kicks in and clears the brain of a molecule called adenosine, maximizing alertness. “Adenosine is a byproduct of wakefulness and activity,” says Allen Towfigh, M.D., medical director of New York Neurology & Sleep Medicine. “As adenosine levels increase, we become more fatigued. Napping clears out the adenosine and, when combined with caffeine, an adenosine-blocker, further reduces its effects and amplifies the effects of the nap.”

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