ancient health practices

Ancient health practices still relevant today

Did you know that there are ancient health practices that doctors still do today?

It isn’t surprising that some patients prefer traditional medicine, and many medical professionals practice it. Mainstream health care utilizes ancient health practices to understand their safety and efficacy in treating specific health conditions.

In the early days, as far back as 1,500 BC – 200 AD, our ancestors relied on folk medicine orally transmitted and taught to their children, grandchildren, and so forth. These healing traditions include natural birth, poison healing, and bone setting. They use whatever is readily and locally available in their ecosystems, such as plants, animals, rocks, and metals.  

Some publications explore suggestions on making traditional medicine more functional and acceptable today. Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute lists down ten (10) ancient health practices, in this article, still widely accepted these days.

What is traditional medicine?

ancient health practices
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Our ancestors paved the way for developing healthy habits and rituals by just observing the events in nature thousands of years ago. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines traditional medicine as “health practices, approaches, knowledge, and beliefs incorporating plant, animal and mineral-based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercises, applied singularly or in combination to treat, diagnose and prevent illnesses or maintain well-being.”

Ancient health practices are an effective umbrella term for alternative, non-conventional, complementary, herbal, and natural medicine. These are healthcare practices not necessarily part of a particular region’s tradition but integrated into the healthcare system.

Ancient health practices

In this top ten list, you will find medical practices that our forefathers introduced many centuries ago but are still relevant today. Raise your hand if you or someone you know have had any of them!

1. Cataract surgery

WHO reports that cataracts are the leading cause of blindness and vision impairment globally. Surgery can treat this eye condition to restore the vision of the patient.

ancient health practices

In early 800 BC, ancient Indians in the Sushruta period developed couching, the first documented beginnings of cataract extraction. The physicians will puncture the patient’s eye and dislodge it manually with this treatment. Then, they will remove the cloudy lens from the patient. However, couching caused complications and, as expected, blindness.

Through the years, with the development and advances in medicine, cataract surgery has become more sophisticated. Ophthalmologists later followed Jacques Daviel’s procedure with more modern medical instruments. This surgery involves “gently pushing the cataract” resulting in more favorable postoperative results.

2. Leeching

The use of leeching is traced back in 1855 when a boy known in history as W.C.B fell ill with fatigue and body aches. His mother asked help from a local apothecary, who later came back with a jar filled with slimy creatures – leeches. 

Fifty years later, W.C.B shared a story from his childhood to the famous British serial Notes and Queries, where he narrated his memories of leeching regularly. The bloodsuckers worked on the chest, inside the lower lip, or even within the nostrils. 

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The story W.C.B shared wasn’t unusual. There was a leeching craze in the late 18th to the 19th century in Europe and North America, which resulted in the gathering of millions of leeches each year. 

In ancient Egypt, leeches played a role in medicine and in treating nervous system abnormalities, skin diseases, infections, and dental problems. Today, it is also common to see it in plastic surgery and other types of microsurgery. Moreover, leeches secrete proteins and peptides which prevent blood clotting. 

3. Bloodletting

Traditional physicians believed that when people get sick, it’s only a matter of “bad blood.” Over time, ancient Egyptians and Sumerians practiced bloodletting and later became even more common in Rome and Greece. Their practice back then is “to cut open a vein and drain some vital fluids into a receptacle.” However, people erroneously believed this method healed sick patients.

On the contrary, this ancient health practice resulted in accidental deaths due to blood loss. Hence, medieval doctors discovered other methods such as leeching (mentioned above). After which, the scientific community debunked bloodletting altogether in the 1800s even while others were still utilizing this method.

ancient health practices

These days, however, modern scientists and doctors only recommend controlled bloodletting to treat specific and rare illnesses. Even in the hope to reduce risks of contracting covid-19, the science community refuted that collection of convalescent plasma (from the blood of recovered covid patients) has any benefits. Today, bloodletting is in the form of wet cupping and Ayurvedic detox and given the term phlebotomy in modern science.

4. Drilling a hole into the skull (trepanation, craniotomy)

The idea of neurosurgery developed in the late 19th century. But, the procedure which requires drilling a hole in the skull, referred to as trepanation, has been a much older practice. In fact, it is known as our ancestors’ neurosurgery.

The word trepanation comes from the ancient Greek word trypanon that means drill. Performing this procedure back then is significantly different to how doctors do this now. However, the basics and core principles of this procedure remains the same. 

In ancient times, trepanation treated various ailments and injuries involving the head. Pain management is also one of its uses. People who have gone through this procedure survive and heal after the surgery. However, there are reports on scarring. 

ancient health practices

Today, doctors still observe the said procedure, and the craniotomy that removes a certain part of the skull to reach the brain. The only difference is that compared to trepanation which results in a permanent hole in the skull, the modern version replaces the bone segment that has been removed. Medical experts only do this kind of operation for special reasons like aneurysm and brain tumor. 

5 ECT (electroconvulsive therapy)

Severe depression is one of the more difficult health conditions that medical professionals only had significant improvements in treatment recently. One of these treatments is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Doctors conduct this method to trigger a brief brain seizure intentionally to the patient under general anesthesia. Small electric currents pass through the patient’s brain to induce electrical stimulation.

Ancient Romans used electric eels for the treatment of gout and headaches. The therapeutic use of electricity like this is even prevalent in treating cases such as epilepsy and paralysis historically. 

ancient health practices
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In more recent years, ECT now helps monitor a patient’s brain, blood pressure, heart, and oxygen levels. To record the patient’s electrical activity in the brain, doctors administer the electroencephalogram (EEG) exam. Doctors consider this procedure generally safe to treat patients with bipolar disorder, severe mania (euphoria, hyperactivity, psychosis, etc.) and dementia.

6. Sutures

Suture techniques are ancient health practices, too. For more than thousands of years, sutures are used to close wounds and help them heal faster. With the right technique, they can help minimize bleeding and infection as well.

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Archeologists found that sutures can be traced back from Neolithic skulls, severed Greek tendons, and Egyptian records as early as 30,000 BC. 

In modern times, surgical doctors connect tissues and organs with sutures. Without it, it will be difficult to hold muscles and skin together, for example, and can lead to complications. More advanced surgeries require sterile needles through harder-to-reach body parts to prevent further damage. 

7. Morphine

Did you know that morphine is the “first pharmacologically active pure compound” produced from opium? Opium can be extracted from poppy seeds rich in antioxidants and therapeutic agents. The discovery of this drug goes back to 200 years ago when opium was used as a painkiller by ancient Sumarians and Egyptians during this period.

Morphine is an opiate that helps relieve or suppress pain. This narcotic drug component helps ease anxiety, sedate a patient, and cause drowsiness and relaxation. Current practices show that morphine is used to suppress cough reflexes or slow down heartbeat when medically required. However, opiates are considered as addictive drugs. Hence, health professionals take precautions when administering morphine to avoid drug dependence in patients. 

8. Acupuncture

Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese medical technique, is known for curing illnesses, relieving pain and improving overall health. Its introduction happened before the 2500 BCE in China and then many parts of the world hopped in its use during the late 20th century.

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This ancient practice has lived to the dualistic cosmic theory of the Chinese – the yin and the yang. The forces in the yin and the yang acted in the body, as they did in the natural universe. This treatment believes that any kind of physical disharmony transpires when there is imbalance of the two forces in the body. 

Gone were the days when acupuncture was a painful procedure. This holistic healing approach stimulates points through 14 energy pathways. It supports the claims of some scientists about needles prompting the body to release endorphins that are natural painkillers. 

9. Cauterization

To “cauterize” is to use an instrument heated with electric current. This is one of the ancient health practices used in the 16th century to close amputations and stop bleeding. Remember the movie Braveheart where soldiers stuck the tip of the blazing hot spear to treat another’s wound? It actually happened in ancient times and not just in the movies. 

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This medical practice is still relevant today to treat wounds and avoid infection, especially when antibiotics aren’t readily available. However, with advancements in technology, cautery also progressed where physicians can now use more sophisticated medical instruments. This way, any fears of infection in earlier times can be removed. 

Other known forms of cauterization commonly used today are electrocautery, chemical cautery, nasal cauterization, amputational cauterization, etc.

10. Tracheostomy

A tracheotomy, sometimes called stoma, is when a surgeon makes a hole from the front of the neck to the windpipe or trachea to place a tube. The person is aided by the tube to breathe, and the air bypasses the nose, throat, and mouth. 

There are various reasons why a person gets a tracheostomy. Among the conditions that require it are birth defects, anaphylaxis, neck cancer, coma, infection, facial burns, sleep apnea, and chronic lung disease. This alternative method of breathing was first recorded in 1649. The practice existed for a long time and it was called bronchotomy, pharyngotomy and laryngotomy. 

Surgeons regarded the procedure in the 16th to the 19th century as dangerous with a very low chance of succeeding, and this is one of the reasons why doctors would often perform it. They only reserved it as an option in case of emergency especially in cases like upper airways obstruction. 

Health care demands in the future

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Time and again, we’ve seen traditional, herbal and natural medicine used in current settings as effective health care alternatives. We are constantly in pursuit of medical discoveries and continue to see and develop the science in earlier practices. Scientists spend many of their dissertation years to prove and understand new plant uses, for instance, to provide in-depth studies that will be useful for generations to come.

Scientific literatures indicate the rise of biomedicine and more practical uses of various health practices we only used to know as “traditional” but with therapeutic benefits. As new illnesses and diseases come about, new approaches in medicine and treatments also arise. Health assessments should always be up-to-date with current trends and technologies. Thus, health professionals are regularly adding and sharing knowledge that are crucial for public health.

This is also why Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute continues to offer comprehensive service and diagnostics to help address a growing population in need, suffering from a wide spectrum of progressing chronic conditions. With these blogs and continued community support, we hope to help contribute to globalization and share information in improving your quality of life with length of life.


men's health

Things you may not know about men’s health

It may be a stereotype, but we don’t discuss men’s health aloud. They even perceive it as a joke that the term man-flu exists.

Research reveals that men seldom talk about their health. They brush off whatever they feel until it goes away. In Australia, the average male of poorer health than women. In 1994, Men’s Health Week originated in the United States, and it aims to spread awareness on preventable men’s health problems.

Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute commits to helping people lead a more productive, longer, and happier life. So, let us share with you some things that you may not know about men’s health and how it impacts their lives. 

Men’s health facts

Men should pay attention to their health the same way women do. An average adult man has a life expectancy of 76 years, a height of 5’6, and a weight of around 165 to 178 pounds. Hence, the common knowledge of a man’s genetics and nature leads to fascinating men’s health facts. These are some worth noting:

1. Cardiovascular health is crucial

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2019 that 1 in every 4 American men died of heart disease, which makes it a number one health issue for males. It occurs even to those without symptoms at all. 

This report shows the importance of regular screenings for cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Men smoke and drink more and go for unhealthy lifestyle choices compared to women. This is why they should put their way of life in check. Weight management with regular exercise is an effective aid. 

2. Cancer – another cause of death

The CDC noted cancer as the second leading cause of death among men. Lung cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer are the usual types in males.

Preventive health screenings would help avoid cancer. If you are smoking, this is your sign of stopping. Prevent second-hand smoking and any kinds of tobacco products. Maintain a healthy diet that is made of fruits and vegetables. Avoid vices too!

3. Shorter life expectancy

The average life expectancy of men is 76.4 while women are 81.2 years, and the difference is linked to destructive lifestyles such as excessive alcohol drinking, smoking, and drinking. These vices often result in high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.

4. Health screening according to age

Men ages 20 to 30 should undergo a physical checkup at least every two to three years. It should include cholesterol, blood pressure, thyroid function, and diabetes tests. When you reach 30, you can screen for heart abnormalities with an electrocardiogram or EKG.

Furthermore, men ages 40 to 49 should have a complete physical checkup for every one to two years and an EKG. It should also include screening on cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes. Men ages 50+ should be stricter in checkups. Besides the usual screening and EKG, colonoscopy should be included to ensure there aren’t polyps that could turn into cancer.  

5. Weight

How does the weight of a man differ from a woman?

Women tend to gain weight faster than men, and it’s because the human brain is wired that way uniquely. This fact about men’s health has changed how obesity is discussed, as noted by experts at the University of Aberdeen. 

Men have a higher resting metabolism too. Their metabolism is meant for speed, size, and strength. This fact is understandable because the male body has a leaner muscle mass, making it easier to burn visceral fats. 

 6. Bone density

It may sound unlikely, but men are also at risk of getting osteoporosis. Some statistics suggest that when a man reaches 50, there is a higher risk of a weaker bone density, leading to osteoporosis. Two million men in America have been affected by this.

Besides the numbers on osteoporosis, men also have a higher chance of breaking their bones. Eighty thousand men break their hips yearly. The same may also happen with the spine.   

7. Stress Responses

Some studies support the role gender plays in stress reaction. Men have the fight or flight attitude when it comes to it, and hormones have something to do with it. 

Hormones, as one factor, explain why men produce cortisol and adrenaline when responding to stress. They manifest physical changes like increased heart rate, sweaty palms, and anxiety. It is the physiological reaction of men when something physically or mentally terrifying happens. This reaction occurs when the body releases a hormone to either deal with stress or run away from it. 

8. Work vs. Doctor Check-up

Historically, more men serve as the financial providers being heads of their families. Hence, they spend more time for work and often cannot (or choose not to) afford time for medical check-ups compared to women. This, sometimes, leads to delayed detection of health conditions that would otherwise have been prevented if seen earlier.

Some men argue that instead of taking time away from work to see a doctor, they would rather use this time for extra work. Other times, they would choose to go to the gym and strengthen their bodies this way. The Cleveland Clinic surveyed American men (from age 18-70) and found that 40% of the respondents do not go to their physical examinations annually. In fact, many of them only seek medical help when their health conditions worsen.

Whether men think they are men of steel or not, they should be more proactive in seeking healthcare from any age. Based on this study, some men even admit they are afraid to find out that their health condition is severe. However, it’s time to encourage more men to face their fears and take their health more seriously. That doctor’s appointment could save their life.

9. Patriarchy and societal factors

This is closely related to the men’s health fact #8 above. To this day, some men still hide behind masculinity and society’s expectations of them to be “strong.” Therefore, showing any signs of weakness and vulnerability goes against men’s ego and manliness. Often, men are just really uncomfortable being “naked” in front of a doctor and seek consultation about their bodies. 

On the contrary, going to a physician indicates wisdom and strength. Men who aren’t ashamed to get advice from medical professionals will better understand their bodies to continue taking care of their loved ones. A healthy man, not just physically but also emotionally and psychologically, is a stronger man indeed.

10. Accidents and injuries

Due to the nature of men’s work in the labor force, typically involving heavy machineries, driving, construction, etc., unintentional injuries often happen. Men are often involved in motor vehicle accidents, fireworks-related and fatal occupational hazards, too. CDC also notes that 12% of males (under age 65) don’t have health insurance, making healthcare more problematic for them, especially in these cases.

Men are not invincible

Young boys today need to know that men’s health starts from making intelligent choices and awareness at an early age. This does not only cover nutrition, diet, and physical activities but also education and the psychology around men being invincible. 

We can’t dismiss the fact that there are gender stereotypes affecting men’s health. There are also special health concerns for various groups of men, for example. Sometimes, discrimination against gay and bisexual men comes into play. Sadly, even certain African-American and Latino men experience limited support in healthcare. 

Thankfully, we can now see some progress as a society in understanding men’s health. But, there are still areas that we can improve on and learn from. Overall, making smarter work and personal lifestyle choices can help reduce health risks for men. Remember that regular wellness and health management can lessen hospitalization and other health problems. Lastly, men’s health is not limited to men as it also impacts other people’s lives.

women's health

Things you may not know about women’s health

There are several factors that affect women’s health. 

Women have to face challenges and changes throughout their lives, and that includes their bodies. Just like everyone else, their habits have a big role to play for them to live a long and quality life. Healthcare should be one of their priorities, and it covers both proper nutrition and exercise. 

The varying changes women have to go through lead to different health concerns depending on their age group. Time and again, we have seen women take care of other people first before their own. However, when they put wellness on top of their needs, they put themselves in a better position of nurturing others. 

Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute lists down the things you should know about women’s health.  We’ll cover some facts and other unique features that women should know about their bodies. 

Women’s health facts

What are some women’s health facts that are crucial in their fitness and wellness? These are some of the considerations and conditions that are unique to females: 

1. Unique risk factors

This is not to say that women are absolutely different from men, but they are unique as far as health risks are concerned. 

women's health

For instance, women are more likely to have diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, eye diseases, pain sensitivity, irritable bowel syndrome, and even mood disorders than men. These are just some of the conditions that may be true for most women. Reproductive issues are also common to females than the opposite sex.  

In America, heart attack is the top killer of women (since 1984). Reports also say that 55,000 more women suffer from stroke than men. Studies suggest that women’s estrogen has something to do with the case of stroke. On top of these, almost 80% of Americans who have osteoporosis are female. These researches show the unique risk factors of women when it comes to health issues. 

2. Alcohol has more effect on women

Do women get drunk faster than men? 

women's health

Women process alcohol differently than men, and this is why they get intoxicated faster. There are also physiological explanations as to why they feel the effect of alcohol more. 

One of the reasons why women easily get intoxicated with alcohol is because they have less water in the body. They only have 52%, as compared to 61% for men. This shows that the latter can dilute alcohol faster. 

Another reason is that women have a higher body fat percentage than men. Alcohol doesn’t dissolve well in fat, which is why it becomes concentrated in a woman’s body.  

3. Special healthcare needs

Women have special healthcare needs and it is necessary to give them attention for preventive care and screenings. Among these are screening services for gynaecology, bone density, pap smear, breast cancer, immunizations, cancer, and many more.

Like children, the health of women differs from men. Many times, research focuses more on men as subjects while sidelining women. Women’s respective circumstances including environmental, clinical, social, legal, and biological are diverse. These affect their health too, which have a domino effect on others too.

4. Societal factors

External factors such as body image issues among women sometimes influence risk factors causing more health concerns than men. The lack of women doctors and leaders who can bridge knowledge gaps in providing excellent clinical care concerning women may lessen discrimination.

In some cases, gender bias in healthcare affects how doctors treat women’s illnesses. Some symptoms aren’t easily recognizable for women as compared to their male counterparts. For example, having a fast heartbeat or feeling unusually tired aren’t immediately considered as signs of a possible heart attack. These are often dismissed as women being emotional or “weak” compared to men’s response to physical activities. 

women's health

Stress and smoking can be more detrimental to women even if both genders are known to succumb to them. Interestingly, cardiac problems, which are more common in men, is one of the leading causes of death for women as mentioned above. Socialized differences, therefore, play a role in the prevalence of certain risks for women.

5. Certain cancers, especially for women, can be treated if caught early 

When women turn 21, it is highly advisable to screen for cervical cancer. This is the reason why doctors encourage women to receive mammograms and take PAP smear examinations as early as possible. Both breast and cervical cancer are common cancers causing death among women. 

Early prevention is better than cure.

Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch philosopher

Moreover, women who reach 50 should also start having colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer. Early detection of any benign polyps can greatly improve women’s health, for instance. These polyps can be removed more easily at this age and reduce their likelihood of becoming cancerous.

6. Vaginal conditions 

Did you know that bacterial vaginosis (BV) can lead to STD and HIV? Any woman, sexually active or not, may get this vaginal condition commonly between ages 15-44. However, BV can be prevented and may go away even without further treatment. Still, women should get checked especially when they suspect any imbalance of bacteria in the vagina.

7. Depression and anxiety

Depression and anxiety can happen to anyone. Regardless of gender, age, or race, people can get hit by them even without realizing it right away. Unfortunately, women are led to believe that hormonal changes cause depression.

women's health

Again, depression and anxiety can happen to anyone. Personal life circumstances, environmental factors, inherited traits, among others do not discriminate against any gender.

For women, however, there are other factors that men can’t relate to contributing to these conditions. Some of which are in this list:

  • Premenstrual problems
  • Identity issues and sexuality development during puberty
  • Pregnancy
  • Postpartum depression
  • Menopause

8. Life circumstances and culture

Throughout history, men are often given higher importance and preference in different parts of the world. Hence, many women are generally less rich, less educated, and have lower self-esteem and self-confidence. Although this has changed over the years, misogyny still somehow affects women’s health.

To this day, there are some women with feelings of negativity due to life and cultural stressors. Other women are still overworked more than men, even juggling roles professionally and domestically as a mother, single parent, or being the eldest daughter.

There are also traumatic instances women have to endure due to emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse (more common in women than in men). Many of these often lead to eating disorders, anxiety attacks, and drug or alcohol misuse as they grow older.

9. Maternal health

Generally speaking, childbirth and pregnancy are unique to women. Despite many advances in medicine and technology, however, many women still suffer from complications. The physical, hormonal, and biological changes in a woman’s body are all crucial to the development of the child until the mother gives birth. In fact, even after childbirth, the mother plays a huge role in the baby’s growth and overall health. 

women's health

Hence, proper nutrition and physical activities are important for both the mother and child for many stages in both their lives. Additionally, certain psychological and behavioral changes manifest in women before, during, and after pregnancy affecting women’s health.

10. Retirement years for women 

Getting older can be more challenging for women than in men. In this article, research showed women have lesser pensions and benefits compared to men. Their security and economic independence decreases as they age.

women's health

The ripple effect of this disadvantage stems from women’s inability to get higher income from an early age that can support their standard of living. Hence, even as women generally live longer than men, their retirement years aren’t as financially abundant as men, which limits their access to healthcare.

We’ve come a long way but there’s more to learn

We have to admit that women still face a lot of health concerns that many medical professionals care to talk about. The World Health Organization (WHO) even lists a compilation of the top issues concerning women’s health that needs to be addressed. 

Let us not forget to include mental health in this narrative. As WHO describes above, there are “physical symptoms that cannot be explained medically.” Discussions and developments on mental health are just as part of women’s health that the global healthcare system can improve on. In understanding and getting better at treating female patients around the world, we can all apply this knowledge to help provide the younger generation of girls with a good quality of life.



waking up early

Top 10 Benefits of Waking up Early

Waking up early in the morning is not the easiest thing to do.

If you’re one of those night owls who can’t get up in the morning without setting the alarm clock to snooze a couple of times, there’s a serious habit formation to do in order to change your lifestyle, and it’s possible.

Lots of successful people, from doctors to athletes, credit their productivity to waking up early. It isn’t a surprise. When you’re up, you allow your body to reach its maximum wakefulness without depending on a shot of caffeine. 

Everyone struggles to wake up at an early alarm. Getting out of the bed may seem like a drag, especially when it is for work or school.. However, when you’re decided to make a new sleeping and waking routine, it is achievable. It’s going to contribute to your overall energy levels and mental health, and there are studies that support these claims.

In this article, Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute talks about the benefits of waking up early. If you’re looking for reasons to start your day earlier than usual, this one’s for you! 

Facts about waking up early

Early risers are commonly the problem-solvers of most organizations, businesses, and groups. 

What does a morning person look like? Is it true that you are more productive when you wake up early? Night owls would say otherwise, but there’s science that backs up the benefits of waking up early, specifically in a person’s mental health. 

Every person has a sleep chronotype which is a personality breakdown of when one goes to bed and wakes up as regulated by their genetics. The circadian system controls the timing and duration of one’s sleep, and it has a normal distribution in the entire population. Chronotypes are responsible for the variation of sleep timing and duration and genetics dictate them.

What you must understand about your chronotype is that it isn’t merely the time you go and get up from bed. It also refers to the time when you function at your optimal best – and most people would say they do during the earlier part of the day. 

A quick look at circadian rhythms

Every living thing’s internal clock adapts to the 24 hours rotational schedule of the Earth. It is the internal circadian rhythmicity that gives the body the ability to predict what’s happening in the environment, including the sun rise and set. It can also anticipate the most appropriate time to eat, sleep, wake, and move.

waking up early
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The cue for circadian rhythms to work is light. Did you know that your eyes signal your brain to produce more melatonin whenever the sun goes down? This hormone (melatonin) makes your eyes droop when you’re feeling sleepy. This is when your body is essentially shutting down as the daylight fades while you stay awake when the sun rises again.

With all these said, waking up early is good for you because your melatonin levels are normal when you follow the usual sleep-wake cycle. You’ll feel more productive by day and get restful sleep at night.

However, there are non-traditional jobs these days where some people work at night. Typically, this happens in order to follow another region’s time zone. In these cases, some offices may recreate daylight inside. But, graveyard shifts may still generally lead to sleep disorders and insomnia for some. Hence, most doctors still recommend having a usual 9 to 5 as much as possible as this is generally much better for optimal health.

Benefits of waking up early

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Benjamin Franklin

Early mornings aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But, if you’re already feeling restless at night, it might be a good time to consider being more active during the day. One of the best ways to do this is by waking up early. Here are the benefits and advantages of being an early riser:

1. More time

Imagine waking up one hour earlier than your usual schedule. This may translate to around an extra 15 days that you can use for many activities in a year. 

You can decide to dedicate the extra hours for work, family or me time. If you live with others, it may serve as the off your soul needs to recharge. It can also be an opportunity to chill and relax, especially when you are always loaded with work and other commitments.

2. Easy commute

Commuting from one place to another may be time-consuming when you have to do it regularly. Good thing, waking up early allows you to beat the constant traffic that may affect your productivity. It will spare you from dealing with people who are trying to beat the rush hour.

Avoiding traffic saves you energy, time, and money. It will also protect your overall well-being as studies imply that sitting in traffic on a regular basis leads to depression, stress, rage, aggression and even respiratory issues.

3. Quiet hour / morning quiet time
waking up early

There are people who get anxious when the surroundings are loud and busy. If you are one of them, wake up early and indulge in peace and quiet. Majority of individuals are surely asleep. You have time to jump in deep thoughts without your phone buzzing, notifications ringing, colleagues working, and so on. 

4. More optimistic

Waking up early gives you the power to take charge of your life and make things happen.

Different studies claim that morning people are more optimistic, agreeable, satisfied and conscientious. Christopher Randler facilitated a study on 367 university students and discovered that early risers are more energetic and proactive. They are in the mind-set to achieve long-term and short-term goals. 

5. More time for morning workout to boost mood and fitness

Setting a consistent waking time will also boost your mood and fitness. 

When you’re up early, you can use the extra hours to exercise regularly. It’s the adrenaline boost that you can utilize to your advantage, most especially when you want to overcome that inevitable sleepy feeling. You surely won’t miss another leg or upper body day. 

Exercise, in return, will improve the quality and amount of your sleep. It will allow you to go on a deep sleep which boosts the immune system, strengthens cardiac health, and reduces stress and anxiety.

6. Better sleep quality – restorative sleep is crucial for physical health

Sleeping and waking up early would be easy in an ideal world, but in reality, it’s challenging.

However, when you consciously exert an effort waking up early everyday, you subject yourself to quality sleep that puts your body to enough rest. 

Early risers tend to get quality sleep because you exhaust your body in the morning, which allows you to doze off the moment you lie on your bed. This is when you get used to your natural circadian rhythm which allows you to sleep and get up early effortlessly.

7. Better planning, productivity, and organization

If you always find yourself wishing there are more hours in the day so you can get some tasks done, waking up early is easily the answer. Waking up early can improve your cognitive function, thereby allowing you to be in a much better position to be successful and achieve more.

You can start by setting your alarm clock two hours earlier than your usual time. There’s a large amount of research suggesting that people are biologically more alert in the morning. This may vary but if you feel like you have a better cognitive response in the day, listen to your body.

8. More Energy
waking up early

Since early birds are most likely to achieve quality sleep, they tend to rest well, which results in more energy throughout the day. Night owls may feel otherwise because they are not able to complete the needed sleep stages for them to recharge.

The theory that sleep gives and restores more energy has led to the research of two chemicals – adenosine and glycogen. Adenosine accumulates when you are awake to promote sleepiness, while glycogen stores energy in the brain which decreases as you stay awake.

The looping of chemicals which are said to be involved in the process are responsible for the whole sleep-wake cycle which is also called sleep homeostasis. 

9. More proactive

Biologist from Harvard Christoph Randler discovered in a study that early risers are naturally more proactive. Take it from the leading entrepreneurs all over the world! These are the people who can handle problems optimistically with efficiency which always lead them to success, especially in business. 

When you have a proactive mindset, you are more productive. You initiate in overcoming challenges, and you just don’t wait on the sidelines asking someone for instructions. You anticipate needs, you’re curious, and you are confident that you can solve whatever comes your way. These are the perks of waking up early.

10. Anticipate and minimize problems

Since early risers have the energy, it’s understood how they can be problem solvers. It’s easier for them to have a positive outlook in life, as they are more organized and methodical. Whenever a problem arises, they don’t worry. Instead, they face complications with a clear head.

No wonder, early risers are the usual problem-solvers who are in-charge of organizations, groups, work, or even nations. Winning in the morning is winning the whole day for them. 

Advantages of waking up early

  • Uninterrupted time to work. As an early riser, you’ll have more time to focus on your work while others haven’t started their day just yet. There’s little to no distraction, which will also double your productivity. 

    Even Aristotle said, “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.” When you go to work early, you wouldn’t have to deal with others and not be able to start right away. Get your job done with an unbelievable rate and speed and take advantage of your peak performance by waking up early. 

  • Reduce stress. Waking up early, even before your day begins, gives you extra hours for yourself to unwind and unload. You can use it to meditate, prepare, read the news, drink your coffee, and feel things. Including any of these in your routine reduces your stress so you are fully-charged for the day.

    Preparation is the underrated antidote of stress. After all, everyday stress is usually related to being late, and rushing on an errand. So, get up early and allow yourself to have enough time for peace and quiet. Enjoy more time to accomplish the tasks necessary without pressure. This will in turn give you satisfaction and make you feel happy and content. 

Successful people who are early risers

  1. Tim Cook, Apple
    (photo credit: Business Insider)
  2. Michelle Obama, FLOTUS
    (photo credit:
  3. Richard Branson, Virgin Group
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  4. Tim Gunn, Project Runway
    (photo credit:
  5. Bob Iger, Disney
    (photo credit:

Tips for getting up early

Forming a new habit requires 18 to 254 days to happen based on a study from the European Journal of Social Psychology in 2009. The research also reveals that you’ll need 66 days to make a new behavior automatic. This means you have to start now if you are determined to be an early riser, and stick to it for the days to come. 

waking up early

Place your alarm clock far from your bed

Don’t torture yourself. Avoid using an alarm that gives you anxiety, and don’t place it above your head as well. If you put it away from you, there’s a bigger chance that you’ll wake up when it rings, which makes it easier to shift your body clock. Don’t snooze, and stick to your schedule too!

Sleep early

Sleeping early means turning your lights off and minimizing your exposure so that you can doze off as fast as you can at night. You should follow a schedule when you wake up and sleep to train your body. If you can achieve seven to nine hours every night, that’s going to be helpful for your system. 

Gamify and reward yourself for waking up early

The author of The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, highlighted in an interview that rewards are crucial when adopting a new habit, such as sleeping early. The same is also advised even in exercising. When you train your brain to link an activity that requires discipline to a reward, it’s motivating to achieve it. 

Jumpstart your day

Jumpstart your day with a positive note and energy. You can have a morning dance party to get your blood pumping. Set a playlist featuring your favorite hits to release enough dopamine that lessens stress and makes you happy. 


Regular exercise isn’t only good for your physique and diet, it will also knock you off to a good night’s sleep. Thus, shift your gym session in the morning. Experts recommend that you don’t workout before bedtime, as that might be counterproductive to your goal of being an early riser. 

Look up the sky and greet the sun rise

As mentioned above, for circadian rhythm to work, your body needs light. And the best source of light is the sun. Light exposure signals your brain to turn down production of melatonin. Hence, your melatonin levels help regulate and stabilize your sleeping and waking time. Plus, looking up at the sky is such a good habit to have in the morning, right? What a way to welcome a new day with a beautiful sunrise!

Why it’s better to wake up early

It may sound cliche at this point but indeed, there’s a reasonable explanation for the quote the early bird catches the worm. When you maximize the advantages of it, you are able to set the tone for a stress-free day. You won’t only be productive, but you’ll also reap the health benefits that your body will thank you for. 

Two of the core values of Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute are movement and science. Being an early riser has solid science in it while it also promotes physical activity or movement. Hence, waking up early is consistent with site’s values wherein this can help improve your quality of life and cognition function. 

If you work at night and sleep during the day, that’s okay. But if you’re like most people who’s more active in the morning, it would do you more good than bad to rise early. Ultimately, it depends on your lifestyle. If your current sleep and waking schedule works for you, that should be fine. Otherwise, it might be a good time to enjoy the benefits of seeing the sun rise!


green tea

Top 10 Benefits of Green Tea

Look up the healthiest beverages on the planet and you are most likely to see green tea on the top of the  list.

For the last centuries, many people have praised the drink for its health properties that are beneficial for the body. Its effects on weight loss, digestion, skin, and preventing cardiovascular diseases are incredible. 

The International Institute of Sustainable Development reported that tea is next to the most consumed beverage in the world next to water. Culture and weight management both contribute to its popularity from the past 2000 years. The drink is also convenient to make. You just need to pour hot water on the tea leaves and you’re ready to go!

Green tea remains to be a soothing and revitalizing drink perfect for the cold season. Its aroma has a refreshing taste to it that it blends well with cakes, chocolates, and other types of sweets (in little amounts would be a great treat!). Generally, anyone with known stomach problems, anemia, iron deficiency, liver disease, and troubles sleeping should drink this tea moderately. Seek your doctor’s advice for the recommended tea intake specifically for you. Depending on the guidance from medical professionals, you can go for either the tea bags or the loose tea leaves.

In this article, Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute shares the top benefits of this anti-inflammatory drink. Learn more how this natural drink can help improve your diet and overall health.

Is green tea good for you

green tea

This tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant from steaming and pan-frying its leaves. The leaves are then dried, not fermented, so it still keeps polyphenols intact. These molecules are responsible for the many health benefits you can get from drinking green tea. 

Overflowing with compounds that promote immune health, the US FDA even approved a topical ointment extracted from green tea leaves to treat genital warts. Also, if you regularly drink tea, it can help reduce risk of various diseases. Some of which are heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. 

Who should not drink green tea

Did you know that green tea contains caffeine? Hence, if you have anxiety disorders, this might not be good for you. Also, if you have bleeding disorders, the risk of bleeding increases due to the caffeine content. For those with heart conditions, it is not advisable to drink lots of this tea because it may cause irregularity in your heartbeat.

Generally, anyone with known stomach problems, anemia, iron deficiency, liver disease, and troubles sleeping should drink green tea moderately. Seek your doctor’s advice for the recommended intake specifically for you. Depending on the guidance from medical professionals, you can go for either the tea bags or the loose tea leaves.

Benefits of green tea

green tea
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If you haven’t heard yet, green tea is one of the superfoods that can boost your healthy diet and lifestyle. It’s also great for body detox and acts as an anti-inflammatory drink.

Here are the other health benefits of this popular drink: 

  1. Weight loss. EGCG helps prevent oxidative damage to your cells, consequently causing a rise in metabolism.
  2. Protects against cancer. EGCG also helps inhibit growth of tumor cells to reduce the risk of cancer.
  3. Supports brain health. Its active components help stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. Reduces inflammation. EGCG suppresses inflammatory cytokines which helps lower cases of inflammation-related diseases.
  5. Helps prevent bone damage. The antioxidants in this tea can help protect the risk of fracture and support bone density.
  6. Fights bacteria, fungi, and virus to increase your immunity. Its antibacterial, antifungal, and antivirus effects of help boost your health immunity to fight against infection.
  7. Balances blood sugar. It helps improve lipid metabolism and balance your metabolic rate.
  8. Prevents diabetes. It can improve glucose metabolism, thus, preventing spikes in blood sugar. 
  9. Improves heart health. This drink helps prevent stroke and cardiovascular diseases, lower cholesterol levels, and speed up heart recovery.
  10. Defends skin from aging. Antioxidants found in this tea helps protect skin from wrinkles and harmful effects of free radicals causing aging. 

Other benefits:

  • Destroys harmful free radicals in fatty livers
  • Relaxes muscles to reduce severity of asthma
  • Kill food poisoning toxins and bacteria

Side effects of drinking green tea

Many of the side effects of this drink revolve around consumption of too much caffeine. For example, pregnant women aren’t encouraged to have green tea because it may cause birth defects, or worse, miscarriage

Too much of it can cause restlessness, loss of appetite, nausea, irritability, skin rash, dehydration, and heart palpitations. There are also risks in coronary heart disease, cholesterol elevation, hypertension, insulin sensitivity, etc. There’s a study that shows it could stop the effectiveness of certain medications for blood pressure and the heart.

Other side effects of drinking green tea include reducing iron absorption in your body, sleep interference, upset stomach, and headaches. 

What happens if you drink tea everyday

Green tea

There are other types of tea (black, oolong, and white) but there are more flavonoids in green tea. These are plant-based antioxidant chemicals which make green tea of higher quality than other kinds. This tea is the most beneficial because it is least oxidized when processed, too.

Drinking green tea everyday is ultimately dependent on your individual health needs. Different people have different personal health conditions so how much you consume also depends on what your body can tolerate. A cup of tea each day should be fine.

Like drinking too much coffee, too much tea can cause dental stains. Worse, it can discolor and eventually cause dental plaque. Thus, it’s important that you brush your teeth within 24 hours of drinking green tea.

Generally, though, the health benefits outweigh the risks and/or disadvantages. In another study, these benefits are summarized as follows: cancer prevention plus anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiviral, anti-arthritic, antioxidative, and neuroprotective effects. 

Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute encourages you to only drink green tea in between meals, not on an empty stomach. It’s also incorrect to have it with your meal because it may affect your body’s response to iron absorption. As always, a healthy, balanced meal is key to proper nutrition.