The famous French writer and philosopher Voltaire once said common sense is not so common. This quote seems perfectly right even today. Even though we are surrounded by high-end technology, not all our problems need therapists or doctors. Some of them could be solved by using just some common sense and some basic science. After all, that’s what life hacks are made of. Here are ten such biological, life hacks that actually work.
1. If you feel you are overheating due to hot weather or during a workout, put cold water on your neck or wrist to cool down faster.
Every year, the middle of summer brings those days when it feels just too hot to step outside. But if your job or other daily activity compels you to get out of your home, then there is a simple trick to keep yourself cool in the extreme heat. If you are feeling overheated, run a tap and bring your wrist under it. The cold water flowing over your wrist will bring down the temperature of blood in your arms. The cold blood will then recirculate throughout the body and bring down the overall body temperature.
Cold water over the wrist is also recommended for pregnant women who suffer from overheating. Cold packs or ice cubes on the pulse points such as wrists and neck can also bring the body temperature down effectively. Or else you can dip a towel in cold water, put it over your neck, and relax as your body cools down. (1, 2)
2. While running, if you need to increase your speed, pump your arms faster than your legs. Your legs will follow suit.
Running at a high speed is the goal of mainly two kinds of people, athletic runners and burglars. Jokes aside, athletes, especially sprinters, know the importance of arms while running. When we are running, the opposite arm moves as we step. This keeps the torso from rotating out of control and helps the body to move in a straight line. Since the arms counter the legs, pumping the arms will cause the legs to move faster, and hence we can run faster. This technique is mainly used by sprinters rather than distance runners. (1, 2, 3)
3. Making a hole by curling the fingers and looking through it will allow short- or long-sighted people to see or read something that they normally couldn’t do without glasses.
Imagine yourself visiting a new place for sightseeing when suddenly you remember your glasses are lying on the nightstand at home. All of us bespectacled people have faced a similar situation in our life at one time or other. In such a situation, a simple trick based on the “pinhole effect” can save the day.
The trick is to make a tiny hole with one of your fingers. For most people, it works best with the index finger. Curl your index finger such that it forms a small hole in the middle, then look through it. The object or text you are viewing will appear considerably clearer. This trick works on the principle of the pinhole effect. The small hole blocks the surrounding light bringing the object we are viewing into focus. The resulting image is darker as only a small amount of light is entering into our eye. (1, 2)
4. Fasting for 12 to 16 hours during a flight can help in avoiding jet lag.
Jet lag is the worst enemy of frequent, long-distance fliers. If you too are its victim, then there is a good news for you. You can manipulate your body’s biological clock by manipulating your feeding clock. This revelation has been made by Dr. Clifford B. Saper and his colleagues at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. According to Dr. Saper, fasting before and during long flights can help the human body in averting jet lag.
If you are going to take a 14-hour flight and want to avoid jet lag, then you should take the following steps:
1. Avoid all food after reaching the airport which is usually about two hours before departure.
2. During the flight, avoid eating any food. Remember to drink plenty of water.
3. Eat soon after landing. For best results, try eating as close to the local meal times as possible. (1, 2)
5. Hangovers occur mainly due to hydration. So, while drinking have a glass of water after every alcoholic drink to prevent a hangover.
Almost all of us at one time or other have gone to a bar promising to have just one drink and woke up the next day with both a headache and a hangover. The situation becomes worse if there is an exam or office presentation the next day. But fret not as there is a very simple hack which can save you from a hangover the next time you go drinking. The trick is to drink a glass of water or fruit juice after every drink.
Hangover is caused due to the diuretic effect of alcohol resulting in dehydration. A headache and the icky feeling of a hangover is a result of this dehydration. According to Anthony Giglio, a wine expert in New York City and author of Mr. Boston’s Official Bartender’s Guide, matching each alcoholic drink with a glass of water will replace the lost fluids while preventing you from overindulgence. (1, 2)
6. Taking a warm shower before you get in bed can help you to fall asleep much faster.
A the end of a stressful day, our body craves six to eight hours of sound, uninterrupted sleep. But not all people drift right off to sleep after hitting the pillow. A simple and effective hack for them is to take a warm shower before going to bed. When you take a warm shower, there is a temporary spike in your body temperature. After you towel off, the moisture on your skin evaporates, inducing a chilling effect. This lowers your body temperature indicating to the brain that it’s time for sleep.
A warm shower doesn’t work for all people. Some people get a more restful sleep after a cold shower. So, it’s best that you should decide for yourself which one works best for you: a warm or cold shower. Showering before sleep is also psychologically beneficial as it represents washing off the stress and tension of the day and going to sleep with a clean mind and body. (1, 2)
7. If you are suffering from heartburn and acid reflux, sleep on your left side to get relief.
Lucky are those who can enjoy a good night’s sleep after a hearty meal. As for the unlucky ones whose sleep gets ruined due to heartburn and acid reflux, try sleeping on your left side. According to David A. Johnson, MD, internal medicine division chief at Eastern Virginia School of Medicine, Norfolk, sleeping on the left side helps to reduce the symptoms of nighttime heartburn and bring relief.
The reason is not entirely clear. According to one hypothesis, sleeping on the left side keeps the level of gastric acid below the stomach and esophagus. Hence, it prevents the acid from entering into the esophagus. Another way to ease heartburn is to sleep with the upper body elevated. (1, 2, 3)
8. If you are prone to headaches, pinch the area between your thumb and index finger for thirty seconds. It will alleviate the headache.
Our body has certain pressure points. When we apply the right amount of pressure on these areas, it can provide relief to the body. This process is known as acupressure. To treat headaches, we should apply pressure on the pressure points called the “union valley points.”
The union valley points are situated on the area between your thumb and index finger. Firmly pinch this area for 10 seconds. Then, using the thumb of your other hand, make small clockwise circles on this area for 10 seconds. Then make anticlockwise circles for 10 seconds. Then repeat the whole process on the other hand. This pressure point treatment will bring relief to headaches. (1, 2)
9. To stop hiccups, eat a spoonful of creamy peanut butter very slowly.
Hiccups are one of the greatest medical mysteries. No one knows what triggers them or what purpose they serve. Many medical studies have been conducted to know how to stop them, and yet there is no definite cure. As for homemade cures, there is one hack which has worked for most people: peanut butter. Take a spoonful of peanut butter and hold it in your mouth for five seconds. Then, swallow it very slowly. You will notice that your hiccups will stop immediately. (1, 2)
10. While eating fish, if a bone gets stuck in your throat, take a bite of a ripe banana and swallow it without chewing much. It will drag the bone down with it.
Boning a fish is a very important step while prepping it for any recipe. That’s because having a fishbone accidentally stuck in the throat is the nightmare of all fish lovers. If this happens to you, do not worry. Just keep calm and take a bite of a ripe banana. Chew it lightly so that it is just soft. The bone will be dislodged once you swallow the lightly chewed banana. Then, drink water to clear your throat. In case this method doesn’t work, seek medical help immediately. (source)