As human beings, we are born curious and seem to always have questions spinning around in our heads about our daily lives and observations. Time and again, we come across something that makes us question its nature and existence. We want to find an answer and learn more, yet sometimes we either too busy or lazy and just keep wondering why things are the way they are. For those reasons, we have created and answered a list of 10 such curious questions you’ve probably always had in mind but did not know the answer.
1. Why does shaking soda make it lose its carbonation?
Soft drinks taste flat and lose their carbonation when shaken because the process of shaking allows the dissolved gas to escape from the liquid by forming bubbles. Carbonated drinks contain carbon dioxide which is dissolved in the liquid under high pressure. When a can of soda is shaken or the soda is poured out vigorously, the carbon dioxide molecules trapped in the liquid overcome the surface tension of the liquid and escape. Initially, a certain quantity of energy is required for the formation of a bubble, Once a bubble is formed, however, relatively less energy is required for the liquid to vaporize and join the bubble. The movement of shaking a soda can provides the energy required by the gas molecules to move out of the liquid and join with each other as bubbles resulting in more fizz. (source)
2. How can we be falling asleep while watching TV but are wide awake when we go to bed just five minutes later?
There are times when a person, despite being sleepy, is unable to fall asleep when they go to bed. This condition is referred to as “psychophysiological insomnia.” Something in their sleep environment triggers “waking up” as the natural response to being in bed instead of falling asleep. Beds are supposed to induce sleep. If we use our laptops or mobile phones in bed, or use our beds for a different purpose than sleeping, our brains start associating beds with staying awake and engaging in those activities instead of sleeping.
According to sleep-medicine specialist and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, Philip Gehrman, being unable to fall asleep while lying in bed is often a learned arousal. There are certain therapies and ways through which this condition can be treated. One of them is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) that aims at rewiring your brain to see the bed as a place to get sleep. However, if a person does not have insomnia, they just might have a late body clock. Reducing or avoiding screen time before bed can be crucial, as the blue light emitted from the screens can decrease the production of melatonin which is an important chemical that helps us sleep. (source)
3. Caffeine almost has no calories, yet it seems to give us a burst of energy on its own. Where does this energy come from?
Most of us have wondered how caffeine provides energy yet does not affect our caloric intake. Caffeine, in spite of having zero calories, provides a massive energy boost to our bodies because it increases the effects of vital chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine, and also stimulates the release of adrenaline.
Consumption of caffeine can make you feel energetic. As much as 80% of Americans consume caffeine every single day. Caffeine interacts with our bodies differently. It acts as a central nervous system stimulant. It is known to increase the effects of neurotransmitters. Caffeine interacts with adenosine receptors by blocking them which, in turn, enhances the effects of dopamine. Consumption of caffeine can also increase adrenaline in your blood which makes your heart rate shoot up and your liver release more sugar into your bloodstream. It helps contract our muscles by stimulating the release of calcium ions into the muscle fibers.
Caffeine does provide us with that extra energy we need in the morning, but overconsumption of caffeine can cause withdrawal symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy adult can safely consume 400 milligrams of caffeine daily. Caffeine, on one hand, lowers the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s and cuts suicide risk by almost 45%. Yet, on the other hand, consumption of caffeine can cause serve acid reflux, heartburn, increased urination, irregular heartbeat, and a long list of other undesirable effects. Caffeine also interferes with absorption and metabolism of calcium which can result in thin bones and muscle aches. It is very important to read the labels and monitor the intake of caffeine. (source)
4. Why does the popping sound we occasionally hear in our ears help us hear better?
Blocked ears and the feeling of fullness in our ears is very common. It can be caused due to a pressure difference in our ears which makes it difficult to hear things properly. But causing our ears to pop by yawning or just moving our face muscles instantly provides us relief. That pressure difference can cause or eardrums to bulge inwards or outwards. The eustachian tube, a small tube that connects the middle ear to the throat, is responsible for regulating the air pressure in our ears. The process of yawning, swallowing, or moving our facial muscles allows air to move through that tube which servers to balance air pressure on either side of the eardrums. If the tube does not open easily, it might have been obstructed due to the presence of fluid or earwax. (source)
5. Why does it take longer to get rid of lower belly fat during fat loss?
Deposits of fats around the lower abdomen are something everyone is aware of. To get rid of body fats, it is required that we engage in physical activities to help burn them away. Yet some body parts lose fat much quicker than others. Fats around the lower abdominal region are very difficult to get rid of.
Visceral fat is the type of fat which is stored in our abdominal region. Fat accumulation in the midsection can be due to a variety of different factors including hormonal imbalance, underlying diseases, and unhealthy eating. The decrease of testosterone with age can cause deposits of fats in the lower abdominal region in men. In women, fat is naturally stored in the thighs and hips, but as they hit menopause, those fats are distributed to the belly. Imbalance in hormones such as estrogen and androgen in women can also cause fats to accumulate in the midsection. Common disorders like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) lead to insulin resistance which causes the body’s insulin to be deposited as fat cells. Besides that, consumption of alcohol, junk foods, and high-carb diets add fats to the lower abdominal region. Increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol can cause abdominal fat.
Lipolysis is the process of breaking down fats. While burning fats, they must be released from our cells through the process of lipolysis. But due to the presence of alpha receptors in the lower abdominal region, the process of releasing fat cells there is slowed down while the parts of the body with beta receptors lose fat at a much quicker rate. Apart from the presence of alpha receptors, the lower abdominal region is also insulin sensitive. Insulin plays a vital role in how our body cells store fat. Due to this sensitivity, the lower abdominal region tends to store more fat and release less fat cells. An additional cause of why the process of losing fat in that particular region is slower than others is due to a minimal blood flow which makes it difficult for your body to transport the fats to other areas where they can be burned. (source)