Contrary to what you may have been taught, many of your supposedly “bad” habits can actually be beneficial for you. Whether taking a nap, drinking occasionally or indulging in some indulgences now and again, scientific research supports those practices.
The key to breaking bad habits is identifying their root cause. Once you recognize why these patterns arise, you can replace them with healthier options that address those needs.
1. Sleeping Late
Many people feel guilty for sleeping in on weekends, but research has demonstrated that getting an extra hour of shut-eye can be just as beneficial to our health as getting up earlier.
We all have our own individual sleep rhythms, and some of us tend to sleep later than others. If you’re a night owl, your inbuilt body clock may require later bed and wake times in order to keep your brain functioning optimally.
If you’re the type who needs to wake up early each day, it may be time to reevaluate your bedtime schedule. A study revealed that those who consistently slept less than five hours a night were significantly more likely to die over a seven-year period than those who snoozed in.
Sleep is linked to numerous health advantages, such as weight loss and reduced stroke risks. Furthermore, those who got enough shut-eye were more likely to report improved mental health than those who didn’t get the recommended amount of snooze.
Sleeping too much can leave you feeling tired, making it difficult to focus on work or school when you’re up early. Plus, lack of shut-eye can have an adverse effect on your mood – leading to feelings of grumpiness and irritability.
For optimal sleep, try switching to a more natural sleep schedule that aligns with your body’s biological rhythm. There are various ways of accomplishing this, such as limiting screen time in the evenings or including wind-down exercises into your routine.
Finally, remember the most important part of any new habit is enjoyment. Once you’ve achieved it, reward yourself and recognize how beneficial this has been for your wellbeing.
If you’re having difficulty breaking any of these habits, don’t be afraid to seek assistance. Whether it be a therapist, support group, or app that tracks your activities, positive changes can be made; just remember to replace bad ones with positive ones! You’ll be amazed at what success and progress you can achieve!
2. Eating Junk Food
Junk foods may be seen as unhealthy, but there’s a way to enjoy junk food without compromising your health. In fact, eating junk food actually provides many essential nutrients your body needs for optimal wellbeing.
First, let us consider why junk foods can be so appealing. Junk food contains high levels of sugar, salt and fat which can lead to addiction in your brain leading to increased cravings for them.
It’s essential to remember that even a small amount of junk food can have detrimental effects on your physiology, activating genes linked to diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Instead of relying solely on willpower to curb your appetite, make gradual changes over time that will make it easier to alter your eating habits and improve overall health.
Another way to reduce junk food intake is by making a conscious effort to opt for healthier snacks over unhealthy ones. This could involve limiting the amount of unhealthy items in your home, replacing them with healthier options, and following a food list when grocery shopping.
Don’t be afraid to reward yourself when you maintain a healthier diet for an extended period. Reward yourself with small gestures like giving yourself a pat on the back for making a wise choice or taking a walk.
If you find it hard to resist an unhealthy snack, limit yourself to a few bites and then move on to something more nutritious. Doing this helps you prevent overeating and curb cravings for unhealthy treats.
Eating junk food can become addictive, so be patient with yourself and allow yourself a break if you have an occasional slip up. It’s normal to get caught up in food cues, making it hard to break bad habits. With time and practice though, you will be able to conquer these addictions once and for all.
3. Staying Up Late
No matter if you need to study for an exam or stay up late to watch Netflix, there are times when staying up late is necessary. However, it’s essential to remember that frequent stays up late can disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and have long-term negative effects on your health.
Sleep is essential for both mental and physical wellbeing, so it’s no shock that people strive to get enough shut-eye. Unfortunately, many of us tend to put off going to bed in order to catch up on social media posts, online shopping or binge watching TV shows until the wee hours.
Staying up late has its advantages, such as increased productivity and creativity compared to early risers, plus they may be more physically active at night according to a study in Personality and Individual Differences. There’s even evidence that it helps keep you healthier overall!
They may also be better at coming up with creative solutions to problems, which can be advantageous when they’re having difficulties at school or work. Furthermore, night owls tend to have less cortisol in their system which could make mornings a little smoother by providing less stress and tension in the system.
One advantage of being a night owl is that you may avoid getting sick. Dust mites thrive in warm, humid environments; by leaving your duvet scrunched up in an awkward corner of your bed, you can prevent these pesky creatures from nestling into your mattress.
Night owls may have a lower likelihood of developing obesity than their early morning counterparts, as their ability to control their eating may be enhanced with more sleep. Furthermore, studies suggest they are more resistant to developing diabetes as well.
If you find yourself procrastinating on your bedtime, don’t let that stop you from enjoying what makes you happiest. Be mindful of how much sleep is being missed and start prioritizing what matters most to you. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much better rested and recharged you feel after getting some quality rest!
4. Watching TV
Netflix and Amazon Prime offer on-demand entertainment in the form of TV shows, movies, miniseries and other media. These services offer people a way to escape their mundane lives and get lost in an imaginary realm.
Unfortunately, too much passive and sedentary activity can have detrimental effects on our health. One study found that those who watched television for more than three hours a day showed lower cognitive functions such as processing information and planning ahead.
Sedentary living can cause us to lose focus and become easily distracted, which isn’t beneficial for our brains. Furthermore, it may lead to weight gain, decreased metabolism and inadequate sleep patterns.
To avoid these negative consequences, it’s best to alter your habits and stop watching television. Doing this will free up several hours per day that could be put towards more productive tasks.
You could for example, decide to invest more time into physical fitness or eating healthier foods. By decreasing TV watching, you will free up more time for activities that promote physical health and overall well-being.
Another significant benefit of quitting TV is that you’ll free up more time for conversations with friends and family. It can be difficult to have meaningful conversations when one spends too much time staring at their devices.
It’s easy to see how this could negatively affect your relationships. With less time for socializing or getting together with family and friends, you might find yourself feeling rushed when trying to see them. Even worse, when you do see them, there may be frustration mixed in with the joy.
You could potentially find yourself neglecting other enjoyable activities in favor of watching television. To prevent this from happening, plan ahead for enjoyable activities you love doing.
If you’re having trouble breaking bad habits, keep a log of how much TV you watch each day. Additionally, ask an adult friend or family member for assistance in breaking the habit and replacing TV watching with more constructive activities.