4 Things You Didn’t Know That Are Affecting Your Health

Striving for great health isn't just about living longer; it is about making the most of every day and feeling great while you're doing it. Diet and exercise are both key component of having a healthy mind and body, but what about the health impacts that sneak up on you over time? Here are four things you didn't know are affecting your health.

1. Unwinding With a Smartphone

At the end of the day, your body starts to release sleep-inducing melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness. Melatonin reacts to natural factors such as the amount of sunlight and affects the circadian clock that allows you to sleep through the night. The challenge with melatonin is that it is sensitive and gets confused by the bright screen of your cell phone, tablet, or other device. 

Seen too close to bedtime, the artificial light can mess with your ability to sleep. Poor sleep can affect all sorts of things, including your weight and your mental clarity. Be sure to turn off devices 45 minutes before you plan to go to bed.

2. Sitting All Day

Office workers beware: sitting all day is one of the most unhealthy habits you can have. While it was once believed the adequate exercise could turn back the damage of excessive sitting, new studies have shown that isn't the case. Sitting all day can negatively affect the muscles in your legs, hips, and back, increase the risk of depression and anxiety, allow blood to pool in the veins, and cause weight gain. Help your body stay healthy by utilizing a stand-up desk and taking the time to walk and stretch for a few minutes every hour.

3. Breathing Dirty Air

Whether or not you suffer from allergies, breathing unfiltered air in your home or office can have a negative impact on your health. Dust mites, bacteria, and viruses can all travel through the air and affect how you feel on a daily basis. Especially for those with existing health issues, keeping your heating and cooling systems maintained and your air filters fresh is key for optimal comfort and health.

4. Skipping Breakfast

It's tempting to skip breakfast in favor of hitting the snooze button one more time, but doing so can be detrimental to your health. Studies have shown that eating breakfast is great for your brain, your memory, and even your test scores. 

In addition to breakfast's ability to nurture your cognitive function, it can also help control your weight. By eating a big breakfast instead of a big dinner, you have more time to burn off the calories over the course of a day. Need another reason? Skipping breakfast has been associated with hypertension, elevated blood sugar levels, and insulin resistance.

Keeping your body in tip-top shape not only helps you to live longer, it also helps you to enjoy each day to its fullest. With a bit of attention, you can ensure that these sneaky, unhealthy habits don't impact your quality of life.

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