“Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.”
This famous quote by Josh Billings sheds light on the importance of health.
Looking after one’s health is of prime importance. But sadly, most of us get busy in our personal and professional lives and tend to ignore our health.
Remember that health is a relationship between you and your body, and whatever you do in your daily routine has an impact –positive or negative – on your health.
By eliminating or changing some common unhealthy habits, you can keep your body healthy, both physically and mentally.
Here are the 10 things that you don’t know you’re doing to ruin your health.
1. Not Enjoying Enough Sleep
If your busy schedule is affecting how much sleep you get each night, take steps to change your schedule so that you can enjoy the much-needed sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should sleep at least 7 to 8 hours every night. Children and teenagers need more sleep, ranging from 9 to 11 hours.
Poor sleep is associated with poor immunity as well as many other health problems. Regular sleep deprivation increases the risk of infection and other serious health conditions, such as heart disease, strokes, hypertension, diabetes and obesity.
Your sleep duration also has a direct impact on your lifespan. A 2007 study published in the Sleep journal showed that both a decrease and an increase in sleep duration are associated with increased mortality rates.
Along with sleep, the National Sleep Foundation recommends a short nap of 20 to 30 minutes for improved alertness and performance.
A short nap during the daytime can even reduce the risk of heart disease, according to a 2007 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
However, taking a nap during the daytime does not mean that you can ignore your bedtime at night. Being an adult, you must get 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep daily.
2. Surviving on Fast Food
If you do not have time to cook, running out for fast food seems the best solution.
But fast food contributes little or no nutrient value to your diet. Instead, these foods are packed with excess calories, fat, sugar and salt content, which are not good for your health.
This type of unhealthy eating contributes to several health problems. Obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes, high cholesterol, dementia and many types of cancer are closely related to an unhealthy diet.
Moreover, surviving on fast foods can cause nutritional deficiencies in the body.
To improve your health, take time out to cook your own food. Include organic fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich foods, whole-grain products, low-fat dairy items and healthy fats in your cooking. Also, limit your salt and sugar intake.
Whole-grain sandwiches, oatmeal, smoothies, soups and salads are some of the easy things that you can prepare at home and pack for lunch.
3. Quenching Your Thirst with Sodas instead of Water
Many of us often reach out for a can of soda instead of plain water to quench our thirst without realizing how harmful it is.
The sugary soda drinks increase your risk of excess weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Diet sodas, too, are not as healthy as they are promoted to be. Instead of controlling weight gain, they stimulate your appetite and sugar cravings.
Some sodas even contain caffeine which contributes to dehydration. So, quenching your thirst with such drinks is not a good idea.
When feeling thirsty, only opt for plain water and nothing else. It is the best drink to quench your thirst. Plus, it is calorie-free.
Many times, people don’t even realize that they are not drinking enough water.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, a healthy adult must drink at least 10 to 12 glasses of fluid daily to keep the kidneys healthy and the body well hydrated.
Carry your own water bottle to work and set reminders so that you finish it by the end of the day. If you do not enjoy plain water, try flavored water. Also, fruits and vegetables rich in water content can help a lot in keeping your body hydrated.
4. Using Mobiles for Long Hours
Excessive use of cell phones and headphones is becoming a global habit. This habit has significant negative effects on your health.
A 2011 study published in BMC Public Health reports that stress, symptoms of depression and sleep disorders were associated with high mobile phone usage in young adults (20 to 24 years old) over the course of 1 year.
Not just mobiles, even eReaders are not good for your health. According to a 2015 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing and alertness the following morning.
5. Painkiller Abuse
Relying on over-the-counter painkillers every now and then to ease common aches and pains may not seem to be a serious problem but it has many side effects.
Although they help ease the pain temporarily, these painkillers come with several side effects. They can cause gastrointestinal distress; impair kidney, liver or heart function; and impair the blood’s ability to clot.
Moreover, narcotic pain medications can also cause drowsiness and constipation. You also tend to develop dependence on narcotic medications when you take them for extended periods.
Instead of popping a pill to kill the pain, explore some natural remedies and alternative pain management techniques such as acupressure, yoga or meditation.
If the pain persists, make sure to consult your doctor to find out the exact cause and course of treatment instead of simply suppressing the problem with temporary fixes.
6. Ignoring Nature’s Call
When you are engrossed in work, doing something very important, driving or traveling, you may tend to delay the call of nature.
But if you ignore the urge to use the restroom, you are putting a strain on your bladder and kidneys. Retaining urine for long periods of time and on a regular basis increases urine pressure and can lead to kidney failure, kidney stones and incontinence.
When urine remains in the bladder for a long time, it causes the bacteria in the urine to multiply, which can lead to urinary tract infections or kidney infections.
Similarly, putting off the urge to pass stools is also a bad habit. When the stool remains in the body for longer, the colon absorbs the fluid from it back in the body, thus leading to constipation and hard stools.
Always listen to your body when nature calls and empty your bladder as soon as possible. Try to empty your bladder completely whenever you urinate.