10 Reasons You're Healthier Than You Think
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- 1. You hang out with friends two or three times a week.
- 2. You drink three cups of coffee a day.
- 3. You rented Wedding Crashers -- again -- this past weekend.
- 4. You never sleep for eight hours.
- 5. You take your lunch hour.
- 6. You brush twice a day.
- 7. You wear a sports bra when you work out.
- 8. You read the newspaper this morning.
- 9. You had sex last night.
- 10. You eat cereal for breakfast.
9. You had sex last night.
Lovemaking can help reduce stress, according to a recent Scottish study. For two weeks, volunteers kept diaries of how often they had sex, then researchers monitored their blood pressure in anxiety-raising situations. The results: Blood pressure increased less in the volunteers who'd recently had intercourse than in those who hadn't. "The calming effect may be linked to the stimulation of a wide variety of nerves, including the vagal nerve, which extends from your brain down to your pelvic area and soothes your heart by reducing blood pressure and heart-rate increases during stress," explains Stuart Brody, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Paisley in Scotland. Researchers found no such health benefits from oral sex or masturbation, probably because they don't involve the deep penetration that leads to vagal-nerve stimulation, says Brody.
Top That: Snuggle with your guy afterward. Cuddling releases oxytocin, a hormone that gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling and further reduces stress.
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