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Doctors Warn Against These "Most Common" Health Mistakes

Here's five health mistakes doctors urge you not to make. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Sometimes the smallest mistakes can impact your health in a major way. Although they might not seem like a big deal at first, simple errors can play havoc on your overall well-being. While we're all guilty of committing some unhealthy habits, there's a few that should always be avoided. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Janice Johnston, MD, Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder at Redirect Health who shares five things to stop doing now in order to achieve optimal health. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Not Sleeping Enough

man sleeps peacefully in comfy sheets

Dr. Johnston says, "According to studies done by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than one in three American adults do not get enough sleep. Healthy sleep for adults is seven hours or more per night. Not getting enough sleep is linked with obesity and depression and even heart disease or stroke. To improve the amount and quality of sleep, Americans should focus on turning off or moving their electronic devices away at least thirty minutes before bedtime and creating a nightly routine. Sleep should not be a luxury, but a necessity. Those struggling with insomnia or other sleep impairing conditions should contact a sleep specialist."


Not Drinking Enough Water

Close-up of pretty young woman drinking water from glass

Dr. Johnston states, "Dehydration is a serious and common health mistake. Dehydration occurs when your body takes in less water than it excretes, which happens through basic functions such as sweat and tears. Effects of dehydration include dizziness, headaches, fatigue, thirst, dry skin, and dark urine. You can make drinking water part of your daily routine by carrying around a reusable water bottle and ensuring you drink at least one glass of water at each meal."


Sitting Too Much

Woman sitting on bed looking at phone bored and in a bad mood

"Desk jobs make it all too common for us to spend too much time sitting," Dr. Johnston says. "Sitting too much is harmful because it is linked to high blood sugar and obesity. It can also be a morbidity risk similar to smoking. The good news is that moderate physical activity every day can counteract these negative effects. If you are at a sitting job, try to incorporate standing whenever possible. One way of achieving this is by using a standing desk or walking around when talking on the phone or on a break. Likewise, getting in brief movement every 30 minutes can help."


Not Wearing Sunscreen Year Round

woman smears face sunscreen at the beach for protection

According to Dr. Johnston, "Millions of Americans forget to put on sunscreen when necessary. Even when it is cold or cloudy, sunlight still exists and causes damage to the skin. The higher the SPF, the stronger risk of sunburn, which can lead to skin cancer. You can make sunscreen part of your daily routine by choosing a daily moisturizer with SPF and applying it every morning to parts of your body that will be exposed to the sun during the day."


Ignoring Their Mental Health

Thoughtful girl sitting on sill embracing knees looking at window, sad depressed teenager spending time alone at home, young upset pensive woman feeling lonely or frustrated thinking about problems

Dr. Johnston tells us. "Emotions use a lot of our energy, so our bodies can have physical responses to suppress them. Physical problems can include intestinal issues, headaches, and insomnia. Seeing a therapist, meditation, and overall mindfulness practices can be incredibly beneficial for every American to do in order to take charge of their mental health and in turn absolve any physical pain."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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