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Mouth taping for sleep has many benefits, but may pose risks. We consider five trending wellness practices for 2023, and their merits. Photo: Shutterstock

5 wellness trends for 2023, from nose breathing – Gwyneth Paltrow swears by it – to adaptogens: are they good for your health or not?

  • If you don’t like spending an hour in the gym, bite-sized bursts of activity throughout the day may be the way to go instead – a trend that many are craving
  • Taping your mouth shut for better sleep, drinking less alcohol and stopping to stare at the sky, not a screen are other practices you may want to adopt in 2023

Each new year heralds weird and wonderful wellness trends – and 2023 is no exception.

From exercise “snacks” (which you don’t eat) and adaptogens such as mushrooms that you do eat for stress relief, to a wider embrace of the “sober curious” lifestyle, we look at five practices likely to gain more attention this year, to help you decide whether or not they are worth trying.

1. Exercise ‘snacks’

Like cookies, only better for you, these are bouts of physical activity in bite-sized bits. As opposed to what can look like an overwhelming 30 minutes, exercise snacks developed from high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and sprint interval training (SIT) – bursts of activity that can be minutes, even just a minute, long.

4 new discoveries on how exercise helps your mind and body

What might they be? Jogging in place, jumping jacks, squats, or lunges do the trick, as do taking the stairs instead of the lift, housework such as vacuuming, doing stretches or yoga poses, or taking a brisk walk on a break.

A recent study reports that exercise snacks are excellent for cardio health. They motivate us to keep moving throughout the day, rather than sitting still and then going for an hour-long gym workout.

A short bout of vacuuming is a form of exercise “snack”. Photo: Shutterstock

The populations of super healthy “Blue Zones” – places in the world where people tend to live into their 90s and beyond – engage in regular, consistent exercise like this.

They build their days around exercise rather than building exercise into their days: they garden, walk, are on the move most of the time.

Having plenty of these exercise snacks is linked to a lower risk of having hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

A revival for adaptogens – ‘They help the body achieve balance’

2. Adaptogens

These active ingredients found in certain plants help to boost the health benefits of that food and may help our bodies deal with the stresses and strains of modern living – such as anxiety and fatigue.

They boost our immunity and help us to recover from trauma.

Mushrooms contain adaptogens, substances that help the body fight stress and boost the immune system. Photo: Shutterstock
You’ll find them in herbs like turmeric – known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties – and ginseng. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has a positive effect on metabolism and helps the brain respond to stress, and eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) may help boost immune function.
Adaptogens are also found in mushrooms. Mushroom coffee sounds especially weird, but the adaptogen it contains may help reduce stress and inflammation.

They can have weird side effects, though, and don’t combine well with certain prescription medications, so speak to your doctor before trying them.

‘Alcohol-free is a movement’: bars in US, Asia promote no-booze events

3. Sober curious movement

This is a kind of a weird word-coin: “sober curious” essentially means to think about your drink.

Ruby Warrington, author of Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol, defines it as “to choose to question, or get curious about, every impulse, invitation, and expectation to drink, versus mindlessly going along with the dominant drinking culture”.

People toast with alcohol-free cocktails. The sober curious movement is expected to gain more followers in the new year.
It’s not sobriety, it’s not total abstinence, it’s about changing your relationship with alcohol. The sober curious movement is growing – it explains why fewer young people drink, and why there are more mocktails on cocktail menus.
You could even opt for an adaptogenic drink, like a mushroom coffee mocktail. Sometimes called euphorics, these beverages contain an alternative cocktail of herbal and plant-based ingredients, from ginseng to CBD.

4. Mouth taping for sleep

Yes, you read that right. Taping your mouth closed while you sleep is still trending.

On her Instagram account, US actress Gwyneth Paltrow called mouth tape “the single best wellness tool I’ve found recently”, adding that “breathing through your nose at night apparently creates alkalinity in the body and promotes best quality sleep”.

  • It helps to humidify and filter the air you breathe more effectively than mouth breathing, and this makes your lower lungs work better.

  • It might mean you relax more deeply at night and so sleep better.
  • It could help to filter out allergens and pathogens and so sift out illness.

  • It might even help lower blood pressure because when you breathe through your nose your sinuses produce a gas, nitric oxide, which, as it flows from the nasal passages to the lungs and into your blood, can widen blood vessels and so improve flow.

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It absolutely isn’t for everyone, though, and many doctors warn of its dangers.

David Schulman, president of the American College of Chest Physicians, isn’t an advocate of this practice, which has been dismissed as a TikTok craze.

A common reason why people are mouth taping is to decrease snoring. That may be possible, he says, but “there’s not a lot of evidence that it actually helps your sleep apnoea, or your health”.

Skychology – the psychology of looking up at the sky – promotes a greater sense of connectedness and is a wellness trend that is gaining ground.

5. ‘Skychology’

The psychology of looking up at the sky, “skychology” is a phrase coined by positive psychology coach Paul Conway from the UK. It is expected to gain ground in 2023.

What does it involve? Literally, looking up at the sky. This, Conway writes on his Successful Humans website, “is immediately calming, contributes to the experience of well-being, appears to be a highly effective form of emotional self-regulation, promotes a greater sense of connectedness and feeling part of something bigger than ourselves”.

The warning signs of stress, how it can make you ill and what to do

And, he continues, it appears to negate the effects of “hedonic adaptation” – people’s tendency to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.

It sounds weird. But think about it: if you’re looking up, you’re not looking down at a screen of some sort, as we usually do. Look up and you’re looking at the real world, not the digital one.

Look up, look ahead, look around you – now that’s definitely a wonderful wellness approach to 2023.

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