We do so many things each day that are dangerous to our well-being – some we aren’t even aware of. Are you guilty of one or more of these health-sabotaging habits?
Catching up on sleep
A sleep binge over the weekend may seem like a great idea to make up for lost rest during the week, but trying to cash in extra shut-eye may be doing you more harm than good Download the butterfly from the road.
Whether it’s sleeping in or taking an afternoon nap, playing catch-up with sleep can interfere with your body clock and give you a case of insomnia down the line.
This can affect your mental and physical performance, and may increase your risk for insulin resistance, high blood pressure and metabolic disease.
The best medicine for sleep loss is prevention. Aim for a solid seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
Eating at your desk
We all do it: eating while working to meet deadlines or shovelling in a snack for a quick energy boost. Even though desk-side munching seems harmless in the moment, it may be the reason you’ve gone up a jean size.
When you eat while doing other activities, you tend to chew mindlessly, reaching for more and more – causing you to overindulge. No wonder you’re feeling bloated and lethargic, which affects your productivity.
Focus your attention on every meal or snack. Be aware of the food in front of you, and how it affects you both emotionally and physically. You will feel more satisfied and less tempted to gobble down everything in sight.
You’re not really doing yourself a favour by banishing double chocolate brownies from your diet. Research shows that depriving yourself of your favourite dessert increases its attraction and simply causes you to overeat later on. This can increase your risk for obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes.
So, have your cake and eat it too! A sweet treat now and then won’t kill you. Just be mindful of portion sizes and savour each bite.
Brushing your teeth right after eating
Toffees, hard candy, and dried fruit can destroy a pearly white smile, but so can brushing your teeth too soon after a meal.
Brushing immediately after eating has been shown to damage tooth enamel and cause acid erosion, especially if you’ve had something that contains citric acid like oranges, soft drinks, and red wine.
Wait at least 30 minutes before giving your chompers a scrub. This will give your mouth enough time to produce saliva to neutralise acidity levels and strengthen the tooth enamel.
Turning to your go-to painkiller once too often may cause more problems than it solves.
Chugging medication unnecessarily and in higher-than-prescribed doses can lead to confusion, memory loss, and constant sleepiness. It can also make you prone to stumbling and falling, which can put you at risk of seriously hurting yourself.
In the long run, this bad habit can also increase your risk for gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. And, since it makes you feel good, pill popping can easily become a nasty addiction.
Find pill-free ways to relieve a nagging pain like yoga, acupuncture, and meditation. This will save you money and cut your risk of developing severe health issues.
Avoiding the sun
Not enough sun exposure may be just as harmful as too much. Sidestepping the sun may lead to a lack of Vitamin D, which can boost your risk for depression, low sex drive, and even cancer. Make sure you get 10-15 minutes of sun every day. Just remember to do so safely: always apply a good dollop of sunscreen, slap on a wide-brimmed hat, and wear UV protection sunglasses.
Overdoing hand sanitiser
Addicted to hand sanitiser? That may change in just a second.
Some hand sanitisers contain triclosan – an antibacterial and anti-fungal agent commonly used in soaps and cleaning agents… and in pesticides! This chemical can wreak havoc on your health, and is known to cause allergies, hormonal disorders, and infertility. Keep it clean and safe by washing your hands with regular soap and water. No need for the fancy stuff!
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