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8 Tricks Doctors Know to Feel Well and Stay Healthy

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Heal Thyself

Better sleep, shorter colds, fewer headaches, and (maybe) milder hangovers. Doctors tend to pick up good remedies for life’s most common ailments. Here are some of them.

Use Your Thumbs to Ease a Headache

Put your thumbs under your brows in the middle of your eye sockets and gently push in and up. A little pressure on the orbital nerve can relieve a stress headache.

Oxygen for a Hangover

There are no studies to prove it works, but medical students and residents have been using oxygen to treat hangovers for generations. Some cities now have oxygen bars, but those bottles are usually about 40 percent oxygen. The stuff in hospitals is close to 100 percent pure.

Melatonin for Jet Lag

It works, but when you take it is vital. If you’re traveling east across several time zones, start taking melatonin three days before you depart in the evening, moving later each night toward the hour you want to go to bed at your destination. Once you arrive, continue taking melatonin at bedtime for a few days. Going west, start after you arrive, and take melatonin in the morning to reset your bedtime earlier.

Drink Up When Flying (Just Not Booze)

Airplane air can be dryer than the Sahara. You need to drink lots of water, but alcohol will dehydrate you. Vaseline inside the nostrils is also a good idea. A dry nose is more likely to let cold germs get past.

Chicken Soup is Nice, but Zinc Really Works

Unlike the myriad home remedies, zinc lozenges have been proven in studies to reduce the length of a cold. The key is to start taking them within 24 hours of the first symptoms.

Recharge with Catnaps

Overworked medical students and interns learn that even five minutes of sleep can recharge the body and the mind. It’s not the same as a night’s sleep, but it’s much more effective than powering through the tiredness.

Switch Off the Light, Turn Off the Brain

For occasional insomnia, darken the room a few hours before bed and sleep in complete darkness. Sometimes you can’t turn off your mind, but you can always turn off the light. The darkness will give your brain a better chance of generating those sleepy alpha waves.

Don’t Be Embarrassed – Get Checked

Mammograms, Pap smears and colonoscopies save lives. When you start depends on your age and medical history. Doctors aren’t embarrassed about these things, and you shouldn’t be either.

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