All You Need to Know from Neuroscience 101

Like sleeping, drugs, and erections? Me too. I’m a detail-oriented person, so I often miss the big picture. These are the three fun facts that still come up in conversation, years after my beloved neuropsyc class. (My friends and I are nerds.) 

1. Flaccid penises aren’t actually relaxed; erect ones are. Flaccidity is kind of like when you played outside with the garden sprinkler as a kid, but your brother’s dumb friend kept stomping on the hose to cut off the water flow. A guy sporting a softie may look at ease, but his body wants him to be hard all the time. And, despite the anything-but-relaxed look of bonerhood, the body actually has to relax a great deal before an erection is even possible. Your body reaches peak relaxation just before you orgasm. (Same for us ladies, too.)

Picture 1052. You can’t overdose on all painkillers. I mean, you technically can, but they’re not all lethal. Taking too much Tylenol will kill you, but too much Advil or Aleve will just make you puke. Why? …because Tylenol (acetaminophen) can access a special area of your brain that Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen) cannot. Tylenol particles are small enough to permeate through the Blood Brain Barrier. As a result, Tylenol is often recommended for headaches, while Advil and Aleve tend to work better for aches in your periphery (limbs, etc.).

3. If you’ve ever done hard labor outside in the hot sun, you’re well aware that the heat makes you really, really sleepy. That’s because your brain cools as you sleep. When you start wanting to doze off on those sweaty summer afternoons, that’s your brain’s way of trying to keep you from frying all of your circuitry. Go drink something cool — cold is too much of a shock to your system. And, if you drink a lot of it, make sure to have a salty snack with it so you don’t drown your cells.

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