We all live in the same fast-paced world where stress, anxiety, and bad habits have become the norm.
You most likely already know that some of the things you do or don’t do on a regular basis can be damaging to your health. As you read through this article, try to refrain from judging or criticizing yourself.
The goal is to learn how to make gradual changes that will lead to a healthier and happier life. And if you fall off the wagon now and then, don’t worry about it. What matters is that you get back on.
Here is our list of the most common lifestyle mistakes that are damaging your health.
Not Drinking Enough Water
The benefits of staying hydrated include a clear mind, a steady mood, and strong motivation. It also helps your muscles and joints work better, clean toxins from your body, and keep your skin supple.
But how much water should you be drinking? According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), men should maintain a fluid intake of 13 cups per day – that’s about 3 liters – while women need 9 cups – 2 liters. Keep in mind that you get around two or three cups of fluid from food, and the amount you need also fluctuates with temperature and physical activity.
The color of your urine is a good indicator of whether or not you drink enough water. If it’s pale yellow or clear, it means you’re well hydrated. If it’s dark yellow, you’re probably not drinking enough water.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep has been shown to have a variety of negative effects on your health, like a compromised immune system, impaired judgment, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Sleep deprivation also affects mood and can contribute to depression.
Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, but there is no magic number. You need to pay attention to your body. If you’re feeling tired, you have trouble focusing, you’re forgetful, and you have trouble regulating your mood, these might be signs you’re not getting enough sleep.
Eating Too Much Fast Food
Overindulging in hamburgers, fries, sodas, and milkshakes not only makes you gain weight, but it can also lead to health problems like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, research shows that fast food affects mental health and weakens the immune system.
If you switch to a more nutritious diet, you’ll feel the benefits almost immediately, and you’ll enjoy much better health long-term.
This is a habit that can be hard to change since fast food is convenient, affordable and, thanks to all the added salt, fat and sugar, quite tasty. You can start by increasing the interval between eating fast food. For example, let’s say that you eat fast food four times per week. You can reduce that to twice per week and replace those meals with healthier alternatives you cook at home. When you go for fast food, you can reduce your intake of calories by having water instead of soda and a salad instead of fries.
Taking Too Many Painkillers and Sedatives
Misuse of prescription painkillers can lead to opioid addiction. You probably already knew that since we’ve been dealing with an opioid epidemic since the 90s. However, you might not know that even over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen can cause health problems like gastritis, ulcers, and bleeding in the stomach or bowel.
These medications should be used only when necessary. If you’re unsure about the dosage you’re taking and the effects, you can read about how long does it take for nyquil to wear off.
If you experience frequent pain, it’s best to consult a doctor so they can identify the cause and prescribe the appropriate treatment. With the rise of telehealth solutions as a result of the pandemic, getting professional health recommendations has never been easier or more convenient.
Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol can be extremely harmful to your health if consumed in excess on a regular basis. One study that monitored the health of almost 600,000 participants found that high alcohol consumption is linked to cardiovascular disease, fatal aneurysms, liver disease, and early death.
Excessive drinking includes heavy drinking and binge drinking. Heavy drinking is defined as eight or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more drinks per week for men. Binge drinkingis the most common type of excessive drinking, and it’s defined as four or more drinks on a single occasion for women and five or more drinks for men.
As soon as you quit drinking alcohol or reduce your consumption, you’ll start noticing health benefits like better sleep and digestion, steadier blood sugar, lower blood pressure reaching normal range, and sharper cognitive abilities.
Eating Too Much Sodium
On average, Americans consume 1,000 mg more sodium per day than they need. Cooking at home with fresh ingredients is one of the simplest ways to reduce salt intake since both restaurant and processed food have high sodium content.
To reduce your sodium intake even more, use herbs and spices instead of salt to enhance the flavor of home-cooked meals.
It’s a good thing that cigarette smoking in the U.S. has reached an all-time low at 13.5% because it remains one of the worst habits for your health. It increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease, certain eye disease, and cancer affecting the lungs, mouth, throat, and bladder.
If you’ve tried quitting in the past but didn’t succeed, you can talk to your doctor about medications and programs that can make it easier.
You brush your teeth, and you think you’re done, but no, flossing is just as important. Even with the best brushing technique, you still need to floss at least once per day, preferably in the evening, before bed.
Your toothbrush won’t be able to remove the plaque that forms between your teeth and near the gums, which leads to a breeding ground for bacteria. The bacteria release an acid that irritates your gums and erodes the enamel leading to gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss.