Your body is in constant self-preservation mode, that is a fact. Like a frustrated mom, it’s constantly cleaning up after you and trying to protect you from anything dangerous. Many of the techniques it utilizes often go unnoticed by us and we take them for granted. The next time your body does any of these things however, you’ll recognize them for what they are.
If you have a cat (and if you don’t, you should), you would have seen their hair stand on end when they’re in a fight. This is because of the pilomotor reflex which kicks in to make the animal much larger and look more formidable. In humans, this reflex doesn’t have the same effect because we don’t have enough hair, but the evolutionary instinct still continues. Goosebumps also prevent heat loss from our body and keep us warmer in cold weather.
While we still may not definitively know why we yawn, the old myth that yawning sends more oxygen to the brain is certainly not true. New studies actually suggest that yawning is your brain’s cooling mechanism when it gets overheated. Temperature fluctuations in the environment can also affect your body and make you yawn.
Is there anything more embarrassing than getting a bout of hiccups in a serious situation? Hiccups are well intentioned though, as they are your body’s way of trying to warn you that you’re eating too fast. Eating too much or too quickly can irritate your diaphragm and cause it to spasm, resulting in what we know as hiccups.
4. Myoclonic Jerks
Jerking involuntarily in your sleep can wake you up from a peaceful slumber and make you an annoying bedfellow. But did you know this is your brain’s way of saving you from death? When you sleep, your pulse slows, breathing falls and your muscles relax. Your brain interprets these signals as you dying and tries to jerk you back to life with a kick.
5. Memory Gaps
Sometimes when you experience something particularly traumatic, your brain represses the memory so you’ll never have to think of it again. So if you can’t remember being bullied or your terrible eyeliner phase in high school, you know your brain’s saying you’re better off without it.
6. Wrinkled Fingers
After spending about 10 minutes in water, your fingers start shrivelling up like a raisin. They might look unattractive, but research actually shows that your fingers wrinkle when you’re wet to help you grasp objects easier. While this may sound far fetched, evolutionary studies show that wrinkly fingers helped our ancestors gather food from streams. So the next time you drop your phone in the shower, you have only yourself to blame.
Sneezing happens when our body tries to prevent microbes, allergens and dust particles from entering our body through our nose. Sneezing gets rid of all that nasty stuff before they can harm our body in some way. Knowing all the junk that comes out when we sneeze, should remind us to hold a tissue to out nose every time we do.
For many of us, stretching is often the first thing we do in the morning. It wakes up our sleepy muscles and is even more effective than caffeine (okay, that might have been pushing it a little). Stretching is a subconscious way to increase blood flow into our muscles and push them into action whenever we feel low on energy.