Vagal tone is the activity of the vagus nerve, the 10th cranial nerve, and a key component of the parasympathetic nervous system. This part of the nervous system is not conscious and is primarily in charge of regulating several body compartments at rest. It influences heart rate, breathing, and digestion, among other things. The vagus nerve is also known as the “wandering nerve” because it wanders through different parts of the body. The activity of this nerve is important for overall health and wellbeing. There are a few things you can do to improve your vagal tone and boost your overall health. Here are 8 tips:
1. Use a Device for Stimulation
There are devices available that can help to stimulate the vagus nerve and improve vagal tone. One such device is called a transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulator (tVNS). This is a small, battery-operated device that attaches to the ear and sends electrical impulses to the vagus nerve. These impulses help to increase vagal tone and have been shown to be effective in treating conditions like depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. However, it’s important to find a safe vagus nerve stimulation device that has been tested and approved by the FDA. By using a device like this, you can help to improve your vagal tone and boost your overall health.
2. Expose Yourself to Cold Temperatures
One way to increase vagal tone is to expose yourself to cold temperatures. When the body is exposed to cold, it causes a reflexive response in the autonomic nervous system that leads to an increase in vagal tone. This response is known as the “cold paradox”. The cold paradox occurs because when the body is exposed to cold, it causes a decrease in heart rate and an increase in vagal tone. So, by exposing yourself to cold temperatures, you can actually increase your vagal tone and improve your cardiovascular health.
3. Breathe Slowly and Deep
Did you know that the way you breathe can influence the health of your vagus nerve? When you breathe slowly and deep, it causes a reflexive response in the autonomic nervous system that leads to an increase in vagal tone. So, by breathing slowly and deep, you send a signal to your brain that everything is okay. This, in turn, helps to improve the function of your vagus nerve. On the other hand, when you breathe quickly and shallowly, it causes a reflexive response in the autonomic nervous system that leads to a decrease in vagal tone. So, if you want to improve your vagal tone, make sure to breathe slowly and deep.
4. Chant, Sing, and Hum
Another way to increase vagal tone is to chant, sing, and hum. Because the muscles of the vocal cords are connected to the vagus nerve, these activities are excellent ways to stimulate it. This is an excellent way to boost vagal tone and increase heart rate variability, both of which indicate a healthy nervous system. Start by chanting, singing, or humming for just a few minutes each day and gradually increase the length of time as you become more comfortable.
5. Drink Probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are found in fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut. They have been shown to be beneficial for gut health and can also help to improve vagal tone. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two strains that are directly related to the gut-brain link as it relates to mood, anxiety, and depression. This is also directly related to the vagus nerve. It has been demonstrated that taking probiotics can improve vagal tone and stimulation.
6. Consume Omega-3’s
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for good health. They are found in fish, nuts, and seeds. Omega-3’s have been shown to be beneficial for heart health, brain health, and immunity. They can also help to improve vagal tone. One study showed that taking omega-3 supplements for eight weeks improved heart rate variability and increased vagal tone. In addition, another study showed that omega-3’s can help to protect the vagus nerve from damage. So, by consuming more fish, nuts, and seeds, you can help to improve your vagal tone. In addition, you can also drink supplements like krill oil or fish oil.
Meditation has been shown to be beneficial for overall health. It can help to improve heart rate variability, increase vagal tone, and reduce stress. In addition, meditation can also help to protect the brain from age-related decline. Meditation helps your vagal tone by teaching you how to stay calm and focused, even in the face of stress. This can be done by sitting quietly for just a few minutes each day and focusing on your breath. You can find many guided meditations on YouTube or online. By meditating every day, you can help to improve your vagal tone.
8. Exercise More
Exercise is another excellent way to improve vagal tone. Not only does it help to strengthen the heart and improve cardiovascular health, but it also helps to improve vagal tone. One study showed that moderate-intensity exercise for just 30 minutes per day was enough to improve vagal tone. In addition, another study showed that high-intensity exercise for just 10 minutes per day was enough to improve heart rate variability and increase vagal tone.
In addition to exercise, you should also make sure that you get enough sleep every night. When you’re exhausted, it puts a lot of stress on your body and can lead to a decrease in vagal tone. On the other hand, when you sleep, your body repairs and heals itself. This includes the vagus nerve. So, by getting enough sleep, you can help to improve your vagal tone.
Improving your vagal tone can lead to a healthier and happier life. The 8 tips listed in this article are just the tip of the iceberg, but they’re an excellent start if you want to improve how you feel. From drinking probiotics to meditating, there are many ways that you can improve your vagal tone. Start by trying out a few of these tips and see which works best for you. You may find that some work better than others, so it’s important to be flexible.