12 Bad Habits We Mistake for Good Ones

We all know that alcohol and tobacco can cause us harm and that sport and a healthy diet are good for us. But there are additional day-to-day habits that we also automatically think of as healthy without ever thinking that it might not be the case.

We at WeGoRo decided to find out where our ideas of what constitutes a healthy habit turn out to be mistaken.

Specialists from the University of Pittsburgh carried out research that proved that a person needs to sleep in a regular pattern in order to stay healthy. Breaking the natural rhythm of waking and sleeping can lead to diseases of the heart and to type 2 diabetes.

The researchers also measured the body mass index and waistline of people who don’t sleep in a regular pattern. They found that both indicators exceeded the norm for such people.

A healthy diet containing fruit and juice can give the body all the vitamins it needs. In the case of illness or pregnancy, only a doctor can determine exactly which vitamins or other elements the body needs.

The vast majority of us wash on a very regular basis. This supposedly beneficial habit can have negative consequences for our bodies, however. Hot water combined with shower gel can deprive the skin of a protective layer leading to dryness, peeling, and the appearance of cracks. This can, in turn, lead to the appearance of infections.

If you’re one of those people who likes to wash every day, give preference to cold water, and don’t always use cleaning products. They’re essential only in those areas where you sweat.

It’s not a bad thing if you can avoid being in the same building as someone who is ill. But holding your breath every time the person sitting at the next desk sneezes or coughs is useless. When they sneeze, germs fly out of a person’s air passages at a speed of five meters per second, and the number of these molecules is so great that there’s enough for every member of the population.

Quite often we hear the advice that you should brush your teeth after every meal. But you actually shouldn’t brush your teeth this often under any circumstances. This is especially true if you’ve very recently eaten something sweet or acidic. The enamel of your teeth, softened by the acids, will now be more vulnerable to harm from the abrasive components of the toothpaste.

After eating, it’s best to simply rinse your mouth out with mouthwash or water. If you want to clean your teeth with toothpaste, wait at least half an hour.

It might seem like there’s nothing sweeter than a quick nap after a nourishing meal. However, such a habit can have negative consequences, especially if you aim to watch your figure. When a person goes to sleep, their body begins to place calories "in reserve" instead of burning them. In this way, sleep after a heavy meal can lead to additional weight gain.

If you really want to take a nap after a meal, first go for a 20-minute walk in order to burn off some of those calories.

Our immune systems need "training." When foreign bacteria enter our system, antibodies begin to develop to help destroy the infection. If a person lives in sanitary conditions, these antibodies have nothing to fight against. At the same time, the chemicals used to create an ultra-clean environment can harm the body. Some air fresheners, for example, can lead to chronic bronchitis.

Don’t try to turn your home into a completely sterile zone, especially if you have kids. Children that grow up in a completely clean environment are more likely to end up with allergies. Try to keep the use of chemical-based cleaning products to a minimum, especially the kind of aggressive substances that can only be handled with rubber gloves.

Experts at Harvard University believe that, in contrast to other methods of reheating food, the microwave helps to better preserve the nutritional elements in a meal. It heats up food quickly, meaning that vitamin C and other useful elements don’t have time to be dissolved.

When using a microwave, it’s best to cover the food with a lid and add some water. This will help it to heat up faster without burning.

In addition, for those who are trying to stick to a balanced diet, losing a few nutritional elements through reheating in a microwave won’t have any significant effect on the amount of vitamins and minerals their bodies will get from the meal.

Many people think that the more we sleep, the more our body is able to rest. But, in fact, oversleeping can be just as harmful as undersleeping. One professor from the Center for Sleep Research believes that more than eight hours of sleep can lead to failures in the work of the brain, as a result of which an individual can feel sluggish and will think more slowly.

An adult should sleep for around eight hours — it’s in this amount of time that the body can successfully restore itself. If you find yourself wanting to sleep more than this on a regular basis, it’s worth carrying out a medical examination. Sleepiness can be one of the signs of a chronic disease.

Research carried out in Japan has shown that using an alarm clock not only upsets our biological rhythms but can also cause harm to the heart. A person’s blood pressure rises when they’re woken up by an alarm, placing them into a "battle ready" state for a moment — this is never good for the body.

If you really don’t have the time to wake up naturally, and going to bed earlier isn’t possible, then for the sake of your health it’s worth finding an alarm that wakes you up gradually rather than suddenly.

Carrying a rucksack in the wrong way can lead to chronic back problems from a young age.

The ideal position for your rucksack is five centimeters higher than your waist, and all the straps should be done up correctly. For children, it’s recommended that they carry only what is absolutely necessary in order not to overload their spines with excess weight.

Ophthalmologists argue that cheap sunglasses do nothing to protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays.

When you look at a bright light, you’ll instinctively narrow your eyes in order to protect them from harm. If you’re wearing sunglasses, your eyes remain as wide as when they’re not looking at the light, allowing it to penetrate them to a greater degree. Cheap sunglasses don’t have an effective protective layer. So they not only fail to protect your eyes from harm but actually subject them to greater risk than if you weren’t wearing them.

Illustrated by Leonid Khan for BrightSide.me