Just a few around-the-house mini makeovers make it easier than ever to drop lose weight, banish stress, and catch a good night’s sleep.
Lose weight by rearranging your fridge.
Who knew simply putting away groceries could make it easier to lose weight? Just place healthy foods like fruit and veggies on a fridge shelf that’s eye level, and tuck treats into drawers. Cornell University scientists say doing this will prompt you to eat 67 percent more produce and lose up to 20 pounds. That’s because you’re three times more likely to eat the first thing you see, so keeping berries in sight means you’re more likely to pick them over unhealthy fare.
Shop healthier by eating fruit.
Trying to lose weight and maintain your diet? Eat fruit before grocery shopping, and you’ll buy 25 percent more diet-friendly foods, Cornell scientists say.
Speed weight loss with tupperware.
Speed weight loss by transferring open snacks like chips into lidded containers, tucking away receipts and stashing loose pens. Cornell scientists say you eat twice as many snacks when your kitchen is cluttered than when it’s tidy since messes make life feel chaotic, which saps self-control.
Destress by lighting a lavender candle.
The events of the past few months may have left you tired, but also wired, tossing and turning at night. To catch the restorative shut-eye your body craves, keep a lavender candle on your nightstand and light it half an hour before bed. Researchers say just gazing at the flickering flame for five minutes cuts your risk of restless sleep in half, while a separate study at the University of Minnesota found that the soft scent of lavender acts as a mild sedative to kick-start the release of calming brain waves that improve sleep. Just remember to blow
Sleep deep by making your bedroom phone-free.
To sink into a deeper sleep, use a “regular” alarm clock in place of your cellphone and charge your phone in another room. British scientists say keeping your phone beside your bed subconsciously ups your anxiety about having to answer calls, emails or texts. But taking an overnight tech break allows you to truly unwind, sleep deep and awake refreshed.
Soothe aches with a puzzle.
If weekends spent gardening or bike rides around the neighborhood have left your back sore and stiff, set out a jigsaw puzzle and fit together a few pieces a day. Japanese scientists say when folks with back pain spent time doing fun activities, like puzzles, they felt noticeably less discomfort. A daily dose of cheer takes your mind off aches and reins in pain signals being sent to your brain.
Ease back pain with a towel on your chair.
Sitting for long periods of time? Keep a rolled-up towel behind your lower back on your chair. Scottish scientists say leaning back at a 135-degree angle relieves pressure on the spine and back muscles to keep you pain-free.
Outsmart colds with houseplants.
Leafy plants on your windowsill not only bring mood-lifting nature indoors, but they can also help you fend off summer colds and viruses. Norwegian researchers found that women who kept plants in an area of their homes where they spent a lot of time took significantly fewer sick days. And when they did fall ill, they had 23 percent fewer symptoms. Houseplants release water vapor into the air, which makes it difficult for viruses to thrive.
Stave off viruses with tunes.
Wilkes University scientists say listening to relaxing music for 30 minutes a day, say while making dinner, releases proteins in the mouth and nasal passages that prevent viruses from taking hold.
Soothe stress with your favorite photos.
Your most cherished photographs from a large family reunion or special vacation can melt worries in minutes! Recalling a happy memory, like you do when you see a sweet photo hanging on your wall or perched on your mantel, helps your body produce 85 percent less of the stress hormone cortisol during challenging situations, Rutgers University scientists found. They say positive emotions help the body better cope with stress.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.