The lit­tle ev­ery­day things that may be sab­o­tag­ing your health

Fairlady - - CONTENTS - By Liesl Robert­son

❛One study found that peo­ple drank 12,2% more if they held the glass while pour­ing.❜

We all know what the big health no-nos are: smok­ing (obv), bak­ing in the sun, eat­ing loads of junk food… But what about all the lit­tle not-so-great things you do ev­ery day that could be just as bad? BAD HABIT 1 STAY­ING UP LATE TO WATCH TV

We’ve all been there: it’s get­ting late, but you’re still sprawled on the couch, flick­ing through chan­nels be­cause you don’t feel like get­ting up, tidy­ing the kitchen and washing your face. Be­fore you know it, it’s the dead of night and you’re still hang­ing in there, just to see who the killer is on a 1994 re­run of Law and Or­der (one of those where Chris Noth is still sexy and brood­ing). Or it’s 2am on a Wed­nes­day but your Game of

Thrones marathon is go­ing strong, be­cause the last one ended on a cliffhanger and you have to watch ‘just one more’. You are not alone.

‘Peo­ple steal time from sleep just to have time to re­lax,’ says James Find­ley, PhD, clin­i­cal di­rec­tor of the be­havioural sleep medicine pro­gramme at the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia. Be­sides be­ing bleary-eyed and slug­gish the next day, lack of sleep can also af­fect your co­or­di­na­tion and de­ci­sion­mak­ing abil­i­ties, as well as your short- and long-term mem­ory. Just one night with­out enough sleep can cause el­e­vated blood pres­sure all through the next day, weaken your im­mune sys­tem and af­fect your mood, cir­cu­la­tion and food choices. It also mag­ni­fies the ef­fects of al­co­hol con­sump­tion and ups your chances of be­ing in­volved in an ac­ci­dent.

A Har­vard Med­i­cal School study es­ti­mated that sleep­ing less than five hours a night in­creases the risk of death by about 15%. De­priv­ing your body of sleep over a sus­tained pe­riod of time can also cause weight gain, heart dis­ease, de­pres­sion and di­a­betes. And ac­cord­ing to An­ton Fourie, clin­i­cal tech­nol­o­gist at the Mil­ner­ton Sleep Lab, about 40% of South Africans aren’t get­ting enough sleep.


First off, set a bedtime – like back when you were a kid. Look at what time you need to get up and work back from there to en­sure you get at least seven hours of sleep. Then, set an alarm for an hour be­fore your des­ig­nated bedtime and use that hour to im­ple­ment a night­time rou­tine to sig­nal to your body that it’s time to sleep. Have a warm shower, change into your PJs, dim the lights and do some­thing rest­ful like read­ing a book, lis­ten­ing to mu­sic or ap­ply­ing a face mask.

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