You know, I have healthy habits. I also have some less than healthy habits. And just recently, I discovered a few more.
It’s one thing when you know a few of your choices could be a bit more on the healthy side, but I never would’ve guessed the following habits would’ve made the cut! Take a look to see if you’re making any of these health no-no’s.
1) Falling Asleep with the TV On
Ok, you got me. I’ve known this wasn’t the best thing I could do for my sleep for quite some time, but it’s just so comforting! Falling asleep with the TV on was a habit I formed when I lived in an apartment with paper thin walls, and had an alcoholic apartment manager notorious for going around harassing tenants in the middle of the night.
I grew accustomed to the soothing sound, so much so that years later I still feel it helps me drift off to dreamland.
However, every study under the sun says watching TV or using your laptop or phone before bed is more likely hindering your quality of sleep rather than helping it.
The fact that 95% of American adults use electronic devices within an hour of bedtime, and 85% of them have issues sleeping, it is believed these devices are at least partially to blame.
Artificial light coming from the screens on our LED television, tablet, smartphone, etc., let off a blue light. This blue light boosts our alertness and keeps us awake by inhibiting “the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that naturally promotes sleep,” a Health Magazine article states.
Light, especially blue light, jacks around with our brains and it jumbles up whether it’s day or night. In that case, our noggins won’t produce much melatonin, in turn causing a crappy nights sleep.
And over time, low melatonin levels have been known to up the risk of certain diseases including cancer, obesity, diabetes, and depression.
In addition to keeping our bedrooms as dark as possible while we sleep, there are screen filters from Low Blue Lights that can be placed on electronic devices 2-3 hours before bedtime, completely blocking any blue light from getting through.
Another option is f.lux, a program available for download that is designed to “make the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.” In a nutshell, f.lux removes some of the blue light from the device once evening rolls around.
But hold the phone … the iPhone that is! (I know, feel free to roll your eyes.) Apple’s iOS 9.3 update added a very similar feature called Night Shift! You can access it on both your iPhone and iPad by going into the category, Display and Brightness, located under the Settings app.
Last, but certainly not least, we can purchase ourselves a pair of those sunglasses sold on late night infomercials, the unforgettable BluBlockers! A few hours before hitting the sack, put your ultra cool shades on, and sport them around the house. (BTW, when I first read that suggestion, I thought the author was making a joke. Um, no.)
2) Sleeping with My Hair in a Ponytail (Yeah, technically this has nothing to do with your physical health, but it does effect the health of your hair:-)
Over the last few months, sleeping with my hair up in a bun has become routine. My hair is up in a high messy bun 99.9% of the time anyway, so instead of taking it out before bed, I recently decided it’s more comfortable when my hair is up off my neck.
But apparently, that’s not the wisest choice.
Hair stylist, Alle Connell, states you should “avoid pulling it into a really tight bun or ponytail because that can cause hair breakage, especially around the hairline.” She suggests tying it up with a silk scarf instead.
Well first of all, my hair is already damaged from wearing it up all day, every day. And secondly, other than the fact I’m in major need of getting my highlights re-done, when my hair is down, I don’t consider it bad enough for me to change my ways.
Basically, I just don’t care that much.
3) Sleeping with Our Dog in the Bed
My husband and I let our dog, Malka, sleep with us. She sleeps beside me, leaving me in between 2 bed hogging ovens. I’ve gotten used to it over the past few years, but every now and then, I’ll wake up to a dog leg jabbing me in my side.
While there’s plenty of posts on why having your dog in the bed is awesome, other articles would disagree. According to SheKnows, “Many dogs have sleep habits that can interrupt your sleep cycle, which can cause you to be cranky the next morning, lower your immune responses and impact your health in other ways.” For instance, irritating your allergies.
Even if you’re not allergic to pet dander, when your dog is outside, she comes into contact with lots of crap, including something you may be allergic to. She could then bring it back inside and share her new found friends with you.
So say you’re fed up with fighting for bed space, and now want the dog to start sleeping on the floor. Dog trainer, Steve Brooks says that’s not the easiest thing to accomplish.
He recommends you “start by placing a bed just for the dog on your bed and encourage him to sleep in it for a week or so. Then try moving it to the floor next to the bed.” If that’s a losing battle, and keeping her out of the bedroom at night is not an option, stick a crate in your room with a comfy bed and toys to keep her happy.
4) Getting Too Much Sleep
There have only been a few phases throughout my adult life where I could sleep way late and not feel as though my day has gone to waste. One time being a few years ago when my thyroid had gone a little whackadoo.
And now for the past 5 months or so, I can sleep well into the afternoon without the slightest bit of guilt for allowing my days to slip by.
The thing is I always just assumed if a person slept for x amount of hours, their body must’ve needed it. I never imagined too much sleep could possibly be unhealthy till I randomly came across an article on the subject last week.
Research has found “oversleeping is just as bad for you as not enough sleep” simply because both tend to screw around with our circadian rhythm. I’m sure you guys have all heard that term, but what does that really mean?
Medical Daily defines it as “a 24-hour cycle that is driven by our biological clocks and results in physical, mental, and behavioral changes.” When we sleep too much, we can throw off our sleep cycle and end up feeling as though we’re jet lagged. In addition to that, as the body attempts to coordinate to the right time, headaches are a pretty common thing to have throughout the day.
That’s not all. People who sleep too much have a bigger risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes later on down the road. Boots WebMD shared a study where people who slept more than 9 hours a night had a 50% greater chance of developing diabetes than people who only slept 7 hours.
Oversleeping may also be a red flag for an underlying medical condition, one of which being obstructive sleep apnea, a chronic sleeping disorder where your “breathing pauses from a few seconds to minutes” and can happen up to 30 times an hour. If you’re getting hours upon hours of sleep, but still feel worn out, play it safe and get checked out.
I’m currently waiting on results from some blood tests I had done last week. We shall see…
So how much sleep should we be getting? The National Sleep Foundation recommends anywhere from 7 to 9 hours for adults between the ages of 18 on up to 64, and 7 to 8 hours for adults 65+.
5) Pushing the Snooze Button
I’ve never really been one to pop right out of bed in the morning. But as one might guess from the number 4 health no-no, my snooze button and I have become incredibly close the last few months. I can push that button for hours, or until I accidentally turn it off.
Unfortunately, hitting snooze over and over isn’t doing me any favors.
Robert S. Rosenberg, the medical director of Sleep Disorders Centers of Prescott Valley, explains that “you’re fragmenting what little extra sleep you’re getting so it is of poor quality.”
Rosenberg goes on to say that by doing this “you’re starting to put yourself through a new sleep cycle that you aren’t giving yourself enough time to finish.” And when that happens, a groggy day could be in your future.
Consistently pushing the snooze button also tends to mess with your circadian rhythms, which can cause weight gain and increases your risk for several diseases such as diabetes.
Comedian Drew Tarvin broke his snooze button addiction with some pretty simple tips, one of which waking up to an enjoyable sound rather than the typical stab you in the ear alarm shriek.
A couple other suggestions he offers would be to wake up at the same time everyday or turning on the lights as soon as you wake up.
However, a few methods he mentions would never get my butt to stop pushing the snooze button because they’re either a) stating the total obvious or b) a stupid tip!
When I say, “stating the total obvious,” I’m referring to his last tip, “Commit.”
C’mon, that’s not a tip! The whole reason why I’m reading this post in the first place is to learn tips on how to commit.
And the tip I believed to be less than smart was “Don’t Sleep Too Comfortably.”
Soooo, in order to get up in the morning without needing the snooze button, simply sleep on a pile of rocks. Granted, you’ll sleep like utter crap, feel exhausted, and be honked off at the whole world the next day, but at least you didn’t push snooze.
What about you guys? Any less than stellar habits?? I’d love to hear them!
Let’s connect, guys!
And don’t forget to sign up to receive Hungry Beastling’s posts via email! Click here!