30 Unhealthy Habits You Should Break Immediately, According to Science

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11. Don’t leave the toilet open when you flush

Every time you flush your toilet, it sends a toilet plume of poop particles and microorganisms shooting into the air. They can go as high as 15 feet and fall onto the floor, the sink, and your toothbrush. Close the darn toilet lid before you flush the toilet. It’s incredibly nasty.

Many newer, low-flow toilets don’t have this problem, but plenty of homes still have older toilets. While the toilet plume might not regularly spread disease, unless the particles get in your mouth, it’s still gross. So close the lid before flushing and try to keep your toothbrush in a cabinet.

12. Poor posture has a myriad of impacts on your health

For good posture, you want to have your head, shoulders, and hips aligned (plus knees and feet when standing). While sitting hunched over isn’t necessarily bad, holding any position for too long isn’t good for your body. Even sitting or standing at work all day in perfect posture isn’t great if you never move around.

Still, studies suggest poor posture can make arthritis worse, cause fatigue, impact your mood, hurt your neck and back, and give you heartburn, among other things. Plus, if you stay in body-straining positions for a couple of decades, it can lead to herniated discs and pulled muscles. So sit up straight, move around throughout the day, and do exercises to strengthen your core and back muscles.

13. Don’t clean your ears with Q-tips

There’s nothing like the feeling of freshly cleaned ears after a shower, but did you know it isn’t really good for you? Our ears and their wax evolved long before anyone invented Q-tips — which literally say on the box not to put them in your ears. Cotton swabs often push earwax further in and can even damage your eardrum.

Your earwax actually will fall out on its own. Sure it’s gross thinking about walking around leaving little chunks of earwax as you go, but your body already has this cleaning process down. Earwax is good for your ear; it prevents infections by grabbing foreign invaders. If you really want to clean your ears, try using a washcloth instead.

14. Sleeping excessively on the weekend

If you’re in a pattern of sleeping little on the weekdays and then sleeping a lot on the weekends, it isn’t a good habit for your health. Lack of sleep is generally a bad thing since it is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other issues, but this pattern is even worse.

You might think that sleeping extra on the weekends can make up for your sleep deprivation over the week, but a recent study suggests that it’s actually more harmful. The irregular sleep cycle actually impacts your insulin sensitivity (which is related to diabetes) and your blood sugar regulation. Generally, it’s best to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.

15. Don’t let your kid sit in the W position for too long

Mommy blogs all over the internet renounce “W-sitting” which is characterized by knees bent forward, feet back, and the butt on the floor between the kid’s feet. For the most part, adults can’t sit like this because our bodies are different from children’s. However, for kids around the ages of three to eight, this sitting position is very comfortable.

It’s not particularly bad for your kid to sit in this position every now and again, but if he or she keeps doing it, then it becomes a problem. In W-position, the child is not using their core muscles to hold them up, so chronic use of the position keeps the kid from properly developing those muscles.

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16. Not wearing sunscreen can give you skin cancer

Sunscreen may remind you of childhood trips to the beach and a reluctance to slather the white stuff on, but many people argue it should be used every day, no matter the weather. Sunscreen has had some bad press, but there’s no substantial science to back up the false claims that it is harmful to you.

What sunscreen does do is protect you from skin cancer caused by ultraviolet light (which comes from the sun) and aging caused by the sun. However, people with darker skin tones aren’t as susceptible to skin cancer, so they probably don’t need it for that. But if you are lighter-skinned or want to slow your skin’s aging, get some sunscreen! Just make sure it’s the coral-reef safe kind.

17. Don’t go on your smartphone before bed

It sure seems like we have a lot of bad sleeping habits! This one is really hard to kick: don’t use your smartphone before going to bed. The reason is similar to what we’ve already talked about; the screen light interferes with your body’s normal processes.

When looking at a screen before bed, your body doesn’t make as much melatonin as it normally would, so it takes you longer to fall asleep. Your sleep quality suffers and you feel worse in the morning. Plus, it screws with your circadian rhythm which is linked to your mood, metabolism, and appetite. So set the screen to a warmer tone at night and put the phone down a little before going to bed.

18. Touching your face can make acne worse

Even harder than getting off your phone before sleep is not touching your face. You’re probably touching your face right now, but try not to. First off, rubbing your eyes too much can actually damage them a little bit by making tiny tears in the tissue and breaking capillaries. This can make your eyes look older.

Secondly, touching your face can exacerbate acne since you have so many microorganisms on your hands. The Huffington Post offers a surprising method to get you to stop touching your face: hypnotherapy. But first, try washing your hands properly and not touching your face when possible.

19. Don’t fall asleep to the TV

So far we’ve learned a lot about sleeping: don’t do it on your stomach, don’t press snooze, don’t sleep with lights on, don’t use your phone right before bed, and don’t have an extremely irregular schedule. We’ll leave you with this: don’t fall asleep with the TV on. It has the same light issues as your phone combined with one other: sound.

Whatever show or movie you fell asleep to isn’t going to have a single note of white noise; chances are it’ll have some sudden, loud noises. The sound is unpredictable and could easily wake you up. Since interrupted sleep is just as bad as limited hours of sleep, minimizing the causes of it is best. Sounds still bother you even if you don’t wake up.

20. Not eating vegetables could kill you

A recent study came out about worldwide deaths and diets; it found that one-fifth of all deaths in the world are associated with diets lacking vegetables, seeds, and nuts but full of sugar, salt, and trans fat. Most of those deaths were from cardiovascular disease, with cancer and Type 2 diabetes in second and third.

The best way to eat a healthier diet is not to try and limit sugary and fatty foods, but to instead add healthier foods. People don’t eat nearly enough nourishing foods as they should, so it’s more important to introduce those than take away the other foods.

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