The secret to better grades in school – water!

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To do better in school or on a test, bring a bottle of water with you! That’s the recommendation of Dr. Chris Pawson, a psychology professor at the University of East London. During a study on nearly 500 students, Dr. Pawson found those who sipped water while taking exams scored 5% better than those who didn’t drink water. And students who started drinking water in class saw their grades improve by up to 10%. So, how does extra water boost our brainpower? Well, when we’re dehydrated, the part of the body affected FIRST is our brain. That’s because, unlike other areas of the body, the brain can’t store water. And water provides the electrical energy for all brain functions, including thought and memory. So, being even 1% dehydrated can reduce cognitive function by about 5%

Plus, dehydration can elevate levels of the stress hormone cortisol. And sipping water whenever we want to can reduce cortisol levels AND anxiety, which improves focus and concentration.

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Swing your arms for concentration!

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If you need to power through a task that requires brainpower and concentration – get up and swing your arms. Dr. Woodson Merrell is chairman of integrative medicine at New York’s Beth Israel Medical Center. And he says one the quickest ways to energize your body and brain is to swing your arms across your torso as you walk. Our natural energy moves from side to side – but when we’re in a slump, that energy gets stuck and stops moving. So swinging our arms to the opposite side of our body gets our energy crossing over again. That wakes up the brain by triggering activity in both hemispheres. 

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The big bangs theory!

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Johns Hopkins doctors say having long bangs is good for us. Because it shields the forehead from sun damage. In a study, both male and female teenagers whose long bangs draped across their forehead had healthier skin under their bangs than on the rest of their faces. The doctors dubbed the discovery “the big bangs theory!” And your longer bangs could reduce your risk of skin cancer. 

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Sleep soundly at bedtime with this exercise!

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If you tend to wake up during the night, do this every hour during the day for 5 minutes, and right before bed: Flex your feet up and down as if you’re stepping on a gas pedal. The journal Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology says that’ll keep fluid from building up in your legs, which spreads through your body when you lie down at night. That puts pressure on your airway, and can lead to labored breathing during sleep, which can cause micro-arousals throughout the night. So, pump your feet for 5 minutes after every hour of sitting. You’ll stop the fluid buildup, breathe easier at night, and sleep better.

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Guys, here’s an excuse to ditch your necktie:

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It’s cutting off circulation to your brain! The journal Neuro-Radiology found that neckties reduce blood flow to the brain by as much as 7.5%

For the study, the brains of healthy, young men were scanned before and after putting on a necktie. The men were instructed to make a Windsor knot and tighten it to the point of slight discomfort.

The result? The tie squashed veins in the neck, reducing blood flow in study subjects’ brains by an average of 7.5%. That won’t trigger any obvious symptoms, but researchers say it’s enough to impact cognitive functioning, affecting the ability to think and process information at a normal rate. So a man’s work performance could be impacted by his necktie!

And this study, combined with casual Fridays, may be all the ammo men need to never wear a tie again! 

If ties are part of your work wardrobe, or you just like to look dapper, at least loosen your tie when you’re at your desk. 

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Learning a new language boosts brainpower!

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To improve your memory, learn another language. A report in the journal Neurology shows that bilingual people developed dementia nearly 5 years later than those who spoke only their native tongue. And previous studies have suggested that fluency in 2 languages keeps more areas of our brain active, and can improve observation, decision-making, and multitasking. To start learning another language today, try the free app: DuoLingo. Or check out the Pimsleur Method – which offers downloadable MP3 language lessons – and you can get your first one for free at Pimsleur.com.

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Do you keep your sugar in check?

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It’s okay to have sugar – just have the same amount, at the same time, every day. That’s according to food addiction expert, Dr. Kathleen DesMaisons. She says, if your body learns to anticipate 5 Hershey’s Kisses at 7pm every day, you won’t get a big sugar high, followed by a crash. That happens when your body has to adjust to a sudden influx of sugar. But if your body knows it’s coming, it’ll adjust insulin levels in anticipation. And by eating sugar at the same time every day, it becomes boring to our body – and that kills cravings.

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It’s not just hot weather that can make us sweat.

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Here are some surprising sweat triggers:

Large meals. Eating a big meal raises body temperature. And as your metabolism kicks in to help you digest it, it can make you sweat.

You can also start sweating if you miss a meal and have low blood sugar. Because the body produces insulin when it expects a meal. And if it doesn’t get one, the body can go into ‘fight or flight’ survival mode – causing sweating.

Our meds can also make us sweat, particularly painkillers like ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen. If that’s an issue, talk to your doctor about taking pain meds that won’t make you sweat.

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Don’t have time for your usual hour-long workout?

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Just exercise a little. Say, by going for a 10-minute walk or biking around the neighborhood. A study in Human Resource Management found regular exercisers are better at handling work-life conflicts, compared to people who slack off on fitness. Because exercise is proven to lower stress, which in turn “empowers” us to tackle tough tasks at work and at home. That means, the next time the boss dumps extra work on your desk, you’ll be less likely to feel overwhelmed if you’ve carved out at least a few minutes a day for exercise.

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Seasonal allergies? Here’s what you can do!

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If you get seasonal allergies, you may want to change your shirt! Because, on a high-pollen day, the average cotton shirt can trap 7‑MILLION pollen grains. So when you get home, don’t sit around in that shirt. Toss it in the hamper, and change into something clean and pollen-free. Otherwise, you’ll constantly be breathing it in – and transferring that pollen to your couch.

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