Most of us taking breathing for granted. It just..happens. We don’t need to think about it, right? But our breath is important. Despite the fact that we waste it in arguments, hold it while waiting for something, and struggle to catch it when busy or exhausted.
The breath, breathing can be a very powerful tool. Controlling your breathing is a very useful skill to develop and use. Proper breathing is key in most forms of exercise, in meditation, sleep, and more. My first exposure to manipulating the breath for actual results was in yoga. Pranayama, which is the practice of controlling the breath, is the first thing you do in hot/bikram yoga. It facilitates what comes after.
Want to see how powerful the breath is? Take 6 slow, deep breaths. Inhale for about 5 seconds, exhale for about 5 seconds. Repeat. Six deep breaths. Feel better? You just: lowered your blood pressure, calmed your sympathetic(fight-or-flight) nervous system, and increased blood flow to your heart and tissues. And that only took about 30 seconds.
If this interests you, look into:
-Wim Hof method
So this whole time I thought I was “good” at sleep. Turns out, not so much. When I finally got my Oura ring, I learned that my sleep is not as restful as it could be. Despite other sleep-enhancing habits- bedtime routine, no screens, red light, blue-light blocking glasses, last meal hours before bed, etc.- I still could not remain asleep through the night. After some research, the lowest hanging fruit of possible solutions seemed to be mouth breathing.
Mouth breathing is, well, exactly that. When you breathe through your mouth instead of your nose, all kinds of problems can occur. These problems are worse when they occur during sleep.
“During mouth breathing, air is forced through the airway at a larger volume than when you breathe through your nose. And when you breathe in air at such a high volume, the collapsible airway tends to collapse.”
There are other problems associated with mouth breathing, such as allergies, asthma, snoring, dental health, and more. But my target was improving my sleep. So I came upon mouth taping. Read a few articles (linked below) and decided to give it a shot. I ordered surgical tape, but didn’t want to wait for it to arrive, so I used regular ol’ scotch tape. I taped vertically, and left the tiniest gaps on the outer edges of my mouth. My goal was to keep my mouth closed, not necessarily to seal it closed.
The results: according to oura, my best night of sleep so far. I’ve had my oura ring for a little over a month, and my first night with my mouth taped resulted in my highest sleep score to date. I can also state that I felt more rested and woke up before my alarm clock. So, if you are having difficulty sleeping, or even if you’re sleeping well (or think you are) I would give mouth taping a shot.
A new study found that children on the threshold of obesity or overweight in the first two years of life had lower perceptual reasoning and working memory scores than lean children when tested at ages five and eight. The study also indicated that IQ scores may be lower for higher-weight children.
Source: Early-life obesity impacts children’s learning and memory, study suggests: The study found a link between children’s weight status in the first two years of life and their school-age performance on cognitive tests — ScienceDaily
Previous studies have found an association between two commonly used agrochemicals (paraquat and maneb) and Parkinson’s disease. Now a professor has determined that low-level exposure to the pesticides disrupts cells in a way that mimics the effects of mutations known to cause Parkinson’s disease. Adding the effects of the chemicals to a predisposition for Parkinson’s disease drastically increases the risk of disease onset.
Source: Study uncovers cause of pesticide exposure, Parkinson’s link: Low-level exposure to the pesticides disrupts cells in a way that mimics the effects of mutations known to cause Parkinson’s disease — ScienceDaily
Scientists have found a connection between bacteria in the gut and antitumor immune responses in the liver. Bacteria found in the gut of mice affect the liver’s antitumor immune function. The findings have implications for understanding the mechanisms that lead to liver cancer and for therapeutic approaches to treat them.
Source: Gut microbiome can control antitumor immune function in liver — ScienceDaily
A new technique to study fat stores in the body could aid efforts to find treatments to tackle obesity, research suggests. The approach focuses on energy-burning tissues found deep inside the body — called brown fat — that help to keep us warm when temperatures drop.
Source: Bid to beat obesity focuses on fat that keeps us warm — ScienceDaily
The volume of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and calories consumed by very vulnerable preemies significantly contributes to increased brain volume and white matter development, however additional research is needed to determine specific nutritional approaches that best support these infants’ developing brains.
Source: Which targeted nutritional approaches can bolster micro-preemies’ brain development? Brain development in very low birthweight preemies lags behind peers born full term — ScienceDaily