Good news! Scientists have discovered guaranteed ways to solve common winter queasiness — and they work to boost your energy in seconds!
Stop dizzy spells by crossing your legs.
It happens to many of us at some point — suddenly feeling woozy from standing up too fast or at the sight of a blood-draw needle, making us feel like we’re going to faint. Luckily, there’s an easy fix: Simply cross your legs and tense the muscles in your buttocks and stomach. Dutch researchers found this simple move spurs a 41-point rise in systolic blood pressure (the top number) and a 22-point rise in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by pushing up blood that’s pooled in the legs. This reverses the steep drop in blood pressure that causes faintness, so you feel steady on your feet and have a much needed energy boost in as little as 3 seconds.
Nix nausea with a drugstore staple.
If stop-and-go traffic or twisty-turny roads leave you feeling a little queasy, there’s a quick fix already in your medicine cabinet. Taking three 5-second whiffs of a cotton ball dabbed with a bit of isopropyl alcohol (held about an inch from your nose) is all you need to cut motion sickness or nausea by 50 percent, according to investigators at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Researchers theorize that an alcohol aroma deactivates the chemoreceptor trigger zone, the key area of the brain causing feelings of nausea.
End hiccups by taking a deep breath.
A sudden temperature swing when you step outside can irritate the diaphragm, triggering hiccups. If this happens to you, take a deep breath and hold for 10 seconds, then (without exhaling) take in more air, holding for 5 seconds. Still without exhaling, take in a little more air, holding for 5 seconds. Finally, exhale. NYU scientists say this stops diaphragm spasms while raising the level of muscle-relaxing carbon dioxide in the blood, halting hiccups.
Swallow pills easily by looking down.
If you’re among the 40 percent of folks who have trouble swallowing pills, try this: Put the pill on your tongue, take a sip of water, then tilt your chin down toward your chest and swallow while your head is bent forward. German scientists say this enabled 89 percent of study subjects to swallow even big pills with ease. The pill floats on the water toward the back of your throat, gliding right down.
Stay sunny with a cup of joe.
Cool temperatures curb thirst sensations by 40 percent, causing dehydration, say University of New Hampshire scientists. And even a slight dip in hydration can trigger tension and tiredness. Luckily, these symptoms are reversed with a latte or tea with milk. British research found that milk keeps you 50 percent more hydrated than water for at least 2 hours.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.