Do you know what the vagus nerve is? This is the nerve behind where we usually feel for pulse and this is the longest nerve in our body.
It’s also one of the 12 cranial nerves and it goes from the brainstem all the way to the abdomen and through several organs, including the oesophagus, lungs, and heart.
Also known as the cranial nerve X, it’s a part of our involuntary nervous system that directs all of our unconscious body actions such as stable heart rate and proper digestive tract function.
Moreover, according to one study from the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the vagus nerve may also be the missing link to treatment of chronic inflammation which has been associated with several problems like migraines, hypertension, and digestive problems.
The Importance of a Higher Vagal Tone
Vagal tone is the inhibitory control of the vagus nerve over our heart rate- the vagal tone, according to studies, is crucial to activating the parasympathetic nervous system and its functions.
It can be measured by tracking our heart rate in combination with our breathing rate.
A higher vagal tone is good not just because it helps you relax faster after you’ve been stressed, but also because of numerous health advantages like less migraine, lower blood pressure, improve blood sugar levels, less depression and less anxiety, etc.
7 Ways to Increase Your Vagal Tone
People who speak more have a greater likelihood of raising their vagal tone because we talk using our vocal cords. Laughter and singing will also work.
Sitting quietly and humming sounds like ‘OM’ may be the best thing we can do after all- the vagus nerve is connected with our vocal cords so systematic humming can help stimulate this nerve.
- Washing the face with cold water
Cold water splashes stimulates the vagus nerve- the body will have to adjust to the cold and the sympathetic nervous system declines and the parasympathetic system increase.
- Do yoga
According to research, yoga and breathing technique practice can be of great aid in increasing our vagal tone.
- Boost the good gut bacteria
Even though there are numerous other advantages from increasing our gut bacteria, it can also help stimulate the vagus nerve. Consume more probiotics to boost the presence of these bacteria in your gut!
A 2010 study found that people who meditate on a regular basis have more positive thoughts and have better vagal tone than those who don’t!
- Breathe with your diaphragm
When you take long and deep breaths from your diaphragm, you help stimulate the vagus nerve.