Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on Sept. 11. Volunteer today

7 Things to Do in Your Bedroom That Can Save Your Life — and Only One Involves Sex

Sleep, stretch and start your day slowly to reap surprising health benefits

Be Healthier and Happier

En español l Your bedroom can be a haven of intimacy and solace, but did you know that what you do there can also keep you healthier and happier? It’s true. Read on for quick fixes to your routine that you can incorporate into your life — starting tonight.

Folio Images / Alamy

Have Breakfast in Bed

Contrary to conventional wisdom, you should not bound out of bed and hit the ground running. Studies at Harvard University show that the risk of having a heart attack is highest in the morning, as blood vessels are more constricted after a long period of rest. Instead, rise slowly; you might even think about taking your coffee back to bed. 

OJO Images Ltd/Alamy

Stretch When You Get Up

However restful your night, you’ll wake with some tight muscles. After your shower, but before you hit the road or the desk, stretch. The Mayo Clinic says a five-minute morning stretch improves circulation, boosts joint health and increases flexibility. When you’re supple instead of stiff as you move about, you’ll be less likely to hurt yourself.

Gary John Norman/Getty Images

AARP Offer: Healthy Living Tips and News

Live life to the fullest with tips, tools and news on healthy living.

today and save on health and wellness products and services


Take a Look at Yourself (Naked) — in a Full-Length Mirror

Most of us avoid looking at our naked bodies no matter how fit we are, so we often miss critical changes, says exercise physiologist Ann Wertz Garvin. “Looking at yourself naked gets you familiar with the normal you. Then, you’ll notice bumps or spots that can signal serious disease.” If you do see something unusual, don’t panic, but do consult a doctor, Garvin adds.

Heide Benser/Corbis

Have Sex

A 10-year study of 1,000 middle-aged men in Belfast, Northern Ireland, showed that men who had weekly sex had half the death rate of men who had less frequent orgasms. During sex, the body releases endorphins; muscles grow stronger; circulation increases; and chronic pain lessens. A bonus: You burn about 200 calories each time you, er, engage.

Blend Images/Alamy

A Moment of Peace

Taking a moment, just before sleep, to pray or meditate can boost your mental health and your immune system. In Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, psychology professor Robert A. Emmons says that people who pause to give thanks are less likely to experience anxiety, depression, headaches, muscle pain and other manifestations of stress.

Andres Rodriguez / Alamy

Sleep Au Naturel

Despite the human desire to want to snuggle under blankets, the natural tendency of the body is to cool off as we sleep, which is a good thing. Pajamas can disrupt that, so Lisa Shives, a physician who serves on the National Sleep Foundation’s board of directors, recommends sleeping nude. (Just lock your door if you have housemates or kids.)

Getty Images

Sleep Tight

Getting a sound sleep decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which regulates the metabolism of sugar, protein and fat. Poor sleep can also lead to obesity, and can slow you down mentally to a dangerous degree. So turn off all electronic devices and go to bed early to catch those too-precious zzz’s.

Age Fotostock

  • Pinterest
  • Google+


Question 1 of 3

    Topic Alerts

    You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

    Manage Alerts


    Please wait...

    progress bar, please wait

    Tell Us WhatYou Think

    Please leave your comment below.

    Health Blog


    Discounts & Benefits

    From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

    member benefit aarp hear usa

    Members save 15% on easy listening devices and more at the HearUSA Hearing Shop.

    membership schwanns discount

    Members save $20 on their first grocery delivery order from Schwan's Home Service™.

    reebok membership benefit discount

    Members can save 20% on their entire purchase at Reebok Outlet Stores and

    Member Benefits

    Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change. 

    Most Popular



    Social Security

    How to strengthen Social Security for future generations. Discuss

    Medicare & Insurance

    Share health coverage information and experiences common to being age 50+. Join

    Health Nuts

    Share heart-smart recipes, fitness tips and stress relievers. Join