Though many of us have innocent quirks, some idiosyncrasies can impact our well-being and safety.

But slightly altering your daily routine can give you more energy, reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease, and help you feel better overall.

During Rebuild Your Life Month, learn how to replace 5 of the most common health habits with healthier alternatives.

Not sleeping enough

How it affects your health:

  • Getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep per night has been linked to heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, depression and more.
  • Driving while sleepy can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 100,000 police-reported crashes each year are the result of driver fatigue.

Try this instead:

  • Consider getting ready for bed earlier.  When you are tired, you will be able to fall asleep without having to get up to brush your teeth or shower.
  • Try to go to bed as soon as you feel sleepy, rather than reading, watching television or checking emails.

Skipping breakfast

How it affects your health:

  • Prolonging the amount of time that your body runs on empty may increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Missing a morning meal can slow down metabolism, making it harder to maintain a healthy weight.

Try this instead:

  • If you find that you are not hungry for breakfast, try starting out with something small. How about an apple or a handful of nuts?
  • Feeling bloated or “full” in the morning could be tied to lack of sleep.  Try going to bed earlier to help you feel hungry when you wake up.

Nail biting

How it affects your health:

  • A nail biting habit can cause skin infections.
  • Chewing your nails spreads germs from your hands to your mouth and vice-versa, increasing the risk for transmitting disease.

Try this instead:

  • Keep your hands and mouth occupied with other activities, such as drawing or chewing gum.
  • Get regular manicures to reduce the urge.
  • Consider consulting a health professional for advice. Nail biting could be a sign of anxiety.

Relying on coffee

How it affects your health:

  • Combating fatigue with caffeine may be masking signs of an underlying issue, like a poor diet or insufficient rest.
  • Drinking coffee within 6 hours of bedtime can interfere with your sleep cycle.

Try this instead:

  • Reduce caffeine intake little-by-little to minimize withdrawal symptoms. For example, remove one cup per day from your routine each week.
  • If you miss your coffee ritual, consider caffeine-free substitutes like herbal tea, water or even decaffeinated coffee.

Texting and driving

How it affects your health:

  • On average, texting takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds at a time – if you are traveling at 55 MPH, that’s enough to travel the length of a football field.
  • Texting while driving triples your risk of getting into an accident.

Try this instead:

  • Place your phone out of reach while you’re driving, and keep it on silent to reduce the temptation to grab it.
  • If you have a passenger, ask them to respond to texts for you.
  • Try an app that can put your phone in “driving mode” so that you will be unable to send or receive texts on the road.

If your friends or family members might benefit from learning about how to break potentially harmful health habits, consider sharing this article with them.











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