Many techniques 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 top tips really do work—but they may leave you scratching your head.
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.
For healthy teeth, don't brush after eating
Don't brush your teeth immediately after meals and drinks, especially if they were acidic. Acidic foods—citrus fruits, sports drinks, tomatoes, soda (both diet and regular)—can soften tooth enamel "like wet sandstone," says Howard R. Gamble, immediate past president of the Academy of General Dentistry. Brushing your teeth at this stage can speed up acid's effect on your enamel and erode the layer underneath. Gamble suggests waiting 30 to 60 minutes before brushing.
Skip energy drinks when you're tired
Energy drinks contain up to five times more caffeine than coffee, but the boost they provide is fleeting and comes with unpleasant side effects like nervousness, irritability, and rapid heartbeat, says Goodson. Plus, energy drinks often contain high levels of taurine, a central nervous system stimulant, and upwards of 50 grams of sugar per can (that's 13 teaspoons worth!). The sweet stuff spikes blood sugar temporarily, only to crash soon after, leaving you sluggish and foggyheaded—and reaching for energy drink.
Drink water when you're bloated
When you feel bloated, drinking water sounds as if it would only make matters worse, but it can often help, says James Lee, MD, gastroenterologist with St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif. If you're on a high-fiber diet, for instance, then your body needs more water to work more efficiently, says Dr. Lee. "Water mixes with water soluble fiber and makes it into a gel like substance. This affects the motility of the gut and reduces the symptom of bloating." Drinking more water also relieves bloating caused by dehydration. When you're dehydrated, your body clings to the water your body does have, causing you to puff up.