Most of us have the best intentions when it comes to our health and lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, there are several common habits we keep that we think are helping, but they’re actually hurting! Here are six bad habits we often mistake for good ones:
1. Believing that you can catch up on lost sleep during the weekend
You might not think twice about skimping on sleep during the week, if you believe you can catch up on the weekend. According to the National Sleep Foundation, you can’t catch up on sleep! A Harvard Medical Study found that even if you sleep an extra 10 hours to compensate for sleeping only 6 hours a night for up to 2 weeks, your reaction times and ability to focus is worse than if you had pulled an all-nighter. Try your best to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night to stay healthy and focused.
2. Turning away from someone who coughs or sneezes
You might think that simply turning your head when someone coughs or sneezes will keep you from getting sick. The truth is, just being near someone who’s ill can spread germs. A study found that, during flu season, family members of people who had the flu showed sick symptoms within 2.9 days of the first diagnosis in the household. If a friend it sick, it’s best to postpone plans. If a family member is sick, it might be a little harder to avoid them. To avoid getting sick, keep your distance, wash your hands regularly, and don’t share anything with your sick family member. This includes towels, blankets, pillows, dishes, utensils, etc.
3. Brushing your teeth after every meal
Brushing your teeth after every meal can be one of the worst things you can do for your oral health! Healthy teeth thrive in a mouth that has a proper pH balance. With each bite of food or drink, your mouth pH fluctuates. Foods that are highly acidic tip the balance of your mouth to a dangerous acidic environment. These include citrus fruits, soda, and sugary foods. After eating these foods, your teeth are susceptible to damage. If you brush your teeth in this weakened state, you are actually damaging your enamel. To keep your enamel in tact, avoid brushing after eating for at least one hour!
4. Believing that you don’t need sunglasses on a cloudy day
Most of us don’t reach for our sunglasses unless we’re squinting from the sun. But for optimal eye protection, we should be reaching for our sunglasses, even on a cloudy day. The truth is, UV rays are just as potent on a cloudy day as they are on a clear, sunny day. When shopping for sunglasses, make sure they offer 100% UV protection.
5. Using a loud alarm clock to wake up
A study conducted by the National Institute of Health in Japan found that participants who were suddenly forced to wake up by an alarm clock had higher blood pressure and a higher heart rate that those allowed to wake up in their own time. Alarms can also add to your overall stress levels. While they aren’t exactly good for our health, most of us need an alarm clock to make it to work on time. Doctors suggest moving your alarm clock farther away from your head and downloading a more gentle sound to wake you up, instead of a loud ringing or buzzing.
6. Believing that the more you sleep, the better you’ll feel
When you’re feeling exhausted, you might be excited to sleep for a full 12 hours without stepping foot out of bed. Unfortunately, sleeping too much won’t make you feel better. It can actually make you feel worse! This is because your sleep-wake cycle follows a regular pattern known as the circadian rhythm. When you sleep too much, that pattern shifts. Your internal clock becomes confused, and you start to feel lethargic and fatigued. If you’re feeling extra tired, a full 8 hours should do the trick!
National Sleep Foundation