Everybody knows that excessively drinking of alcohol, smoking cigarettes, eating sugar-high junk food, and watching television will damage our health.
But apart from these standard “must nots,” did you know that, for instance, sleeping with the night light on will agitate your brain and can lead to weight gain, decreased production of melatonin hormone that helps you to sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation? Or did you know that squatting for an extensive time wearing too-tight skinny jeans could lead to compartment syndrome, the swelling of nerves and muscles constrained by the fascia tissue, as recently reported by the NBC News?
In fact, some of your old habits and tiny, mindless actions in daily life—sleeping, eating, using your smartphone—could pose harmful effects on your body in the long run.
- Checking your emails and text right before going to bed
Staring at your smartphone, macbook screens, e-readers, or even television right before going to sleep turns out to be more detrimental to your health than you think.
Dr. Dan Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, reported that
“This stream of photons from these objects basically tells your brain ‘don’t secrete melatonin yet, stay awake, it’s not time to go to sleep yet’ …It makes your attention falter, memory impair, and your insulin that regulates your metabolism is turned upside down so you are more likely to gain weight from what you eat,” (Business Insider).
Smartphones emit blue light, and according to the Science Translational Medicine, this exposure to light will push our sleep time by twice as long—around 85 minutes— than consumption of caffeine.
So how about we just shut off all our screens and give ourselves at least an hour before falling to bed?
- Placing your smartphone at your bedside when sleeping
A study by Stanford University informed that “75% of the 200 students surveyed slept with their smart phones next to them on a nightstand or under their pillow.” And most likely is the chance that you too, might be sleeping with smartphones for no special reasons at all or perhaps for the alarm?
But well, guess what? Smartphones constantly emit electromagnetic radiation in the microwave range, and this could ultimately lead to cancer, brain tumors, lower bone density, and infertility in men over time.
So here are some advice: either set your phone on “airplane mode” or place it a couple feet away from your bedside if you desperately need your morning alarm. The same applies to phone calling as well—use the speakerphone or a wireless Bluetooth headphone device to lower down the intensity radiation levels. “Every millimeter counts” reported the Microwave News that covered safety issue concerning exposure to electromagnetic radiation.
Let’s just stay away as far as possible from our smart devices at all times.
- Not flossing your teeth
You may say it’s a waste of time—there’s no instant, visible change whether you floss or not. So why can’t we just simply end by brushing our teeth? Yet remarkably, daily flossing will add 6.4 more years to your life, according to the 21st Century Dental Center. Flossing contributes to at least 40% of the required work in removing bacteria and plaque from our teeth. Plaque generates acid, which is the biggest source for cavities and gum diseases.
“Each tooth has five surfaces. If you don’t floss, you are leaving at least two of the surfaces unclean. Floss is the only thing that can really get into that space between the teeth and remove bacteria,” explains Professor Wheeler of the Dental Hygiene Program at the New York University School of Dentistry.
Improving oral hygiene will also prevent more serious diseases that’s not just limited to the insides of your mouth. Gum diseases are connected to heart diseases caused by pathogens, and flossing can reduce 40% of pneumonia incidence. Brain abscess, diabetes, kidney diseases, as well as cancer may arise from periodontitis, the inflammation of tissues surrounding the teeth that causes the gums to shrink and teeth to loosen.
- Only doing cardio when working out.
Most people believe that sticking to the same cardio workout is the most productive way to quickly lose weight. But “if you only do cardio, your body will become so accustomed to the routine that you’ll start to burn less fat over time,” says Joseph Ciccone (DPT, CSCS, a physical therapist at ColumbiaDoctors Eastside Sports Therapy in New York).
Also, repeated motions of running for a prolonged time on the treadmill could create tighter muscles and lead to injury. So rather than focusing on just one type of cardio, try out different circuit training exercises that involves using strength to work out your whole body to burn the most calories.
“Integrating resistance training into your routine will create muscle mass, which will help you burn more calories throughout the day, even when you’re at rest,” says Jennifer Fleischer, exercise and nutrition coach and owner of Holistic Fitness in San Francisco.
It is recommended we mix in interval training once a week, such as 30 seconds of high intensity motion then 90 seconds of recovery at a moderate pace until 10 repetitions. Likewise, the sudden bursts of intensity and recovery through short rests in between will efficiently blast away all your calories and fat.
- Brushing Wet Hair After Shower
Did you know that your beautiful, long hair is the weakest when soaking-wet? So brushing your wet hair after shower is one of the worst habits in damaging its quality and even lead to hair loss in the future. It also goes the same for over drying hair with too-hot blow dryers, using a dirty brush, or sleeping straightaway to bed when your hair is still wet.
- Sleeping shirtless during hot summer nights
The most common mistake guys make during the hot, gross, scorching, sizzling, and humid summer nights is going to sleep shirtless.
But ironically, according to a recent experiment by a famous Korean television program “위기탈출넘버원,” wearing a short sleeved shirt proved to be the better choice in lowering your body temperature.
Wearing a T-shirt when sleeping cooled down the body up to 34.5ºC compared to sleeping shirtless that raised the temperature to 36.4ºC. Sleeping shirtless will instantly drop the body temperature for a swift moment but due to homeostasis, the body will then try to produce more heat in response to maintain the average body warmth. Therefore, it is more beneficial sleeping with a thin piece of silk or cotton shirt during the hottest time of the year.
- Skipping meals for efficient diet
When we’re on a diet, we all think first to skip our meals and stop eating to lose weight efficiently. However, the truth is that for those people who eat less than three meals will end up uptaking more calories later on during the course of the day.
“Women have gotten into the habit of saving their calories for the fun stuff later on. For example, many women will hold off on eating lunch so that they can have a few glasses of wine to unwind at the end of the day. Not a problem as long as you’re carefully allocating your calories, right?Unfortunately when you don’t eat breakfast or lunch you can develop cravings and irritability, which can lead to overeating later on in the day,” Danine Fruge explains(MD, associate medical director at Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa in Miami).
So instead of skipping breakfasts or dinner, just stay away from all junk food containing high percentage of sugar and fats, and we can always be more active! Play some sports instead!
- Loading up on nutritional supplements
Do more vitamins and minerals mean stronger body? Apparently that is not the case—more certainly does not mean better. Vitamin pills are there for nutritional supplements.
People often take nutritional supplements without understanding if they really need them. And worse, there are negative side effects of carelessly taking pills: taking more than one vitamin A can be detrimental for pregnant women; vitamin C in large amounts may cause gastrointestinal problems and interfere with anti diabetic medications; and too much vitamin D can cause an abnormally high blood calcium level that will lead to nausea, constipation, and even kidney stones (Web MD).
Therefore, we should be getting most of our necessary nutrients from eating food instead of taking up supplements as the primary method in filling the nutrient requirements.
So, were some of these habits applicable to you? If so, perhaps, we should be a little more mindful of our everyday actions and never just act according to your unproven, personal assumptions.
– Sammie Kim (18′)