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Most unhealthy habits seem harmless enough, and everyone can admit to a few of them. But holding on to bad habits gets in the way of pursuing healthier ones, which can be harmful to physical health and mental wellbeing. Breaking bad habits isn’t easy. It requires discipline and determination, and lots of it. Once you’re free from the bad habits that are holding you back, however, it will be much easier to replace them with good ones.

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Going to Bed With Your Phone

Taking your phone, laptop, or tablet to bed with you can destroy your natural sleep-wake cycle. Electronic devices emit short-wavelength blue light that tricks your brain into thinking it’s broad daylight, throwing off the production of sleep-inducing melatonin. While you could wear blue light-blocking glasses or change the display settings on your device to counteract this, you’ll sleep best if you shut down all screens an hour before bedtime.

Electronics in bed TwilightShow / Getty Images
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Abusing the Snooze Button

“You snooze, you lose.” When it comes to waking up in the morning, this tired saying has never been more true.

You might think slapping the snooze button seven times in a row is buying you some extra shuteye, but sadly, it’s not. Any spare “sleep” you’re getting from your snooze-a-thon isn’t quality sleep at all, and you’re only going to start the day off groggier.

If you find yourself fighting your alarm every morning, that’s a warning sign you’re not getting enough sleep, which can lead to a slew of mental and physical health problems.

Abusing the snooze button Hirurg / Getty Images
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Being a Couch Potato

Sofa spuds, beware — a sedentary lifestyle is a silent killer.

Sure, cozying up on the couch is a great way to wind down, but it becomes a problem when you’re spending all your free time there.

Not only does a lack of physical activity lead to obesity and chronic pain, but it can result in other life-threatening conditions like deep vein thrombosis, too.

Just 30 minutes a day of moderate activity to get your heart rate up a bit is enough to counteract these harmful effects and improve your energy levels.

Couch potato gollykim / Getty Images
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Not Taking Stress Seriously

If you think downplaying your stress makes you superhuman, you’re going to end up paying for that “resilience” down the line. When people claim they’re getting new gray hairs or wrinkles from a stressful situation, it turns out they aren’t just being overly dramatic. Long-term stress wreaks havoc on the body and mind over time, accelerating signs of aging. Taking time for self-care isn’t selfish, it's self-preservation.

Not taking stress seriously ijeab / Getty Images
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Not drinking enough water

Got brain fog? Can’t concentrate? Feeling a sudden nap attack? It might just be dehydration. Our bodies are 60% water, and we need lots of it to function properly, both mentally and physically. On average, a sedentary adult should be drinking at least 1.5 liters of water a day (that’s almost half a gallon).

Not staying hydrated MStudioImages / Getty Images
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Slouching in Your Seat

A day in front of the computer leaves most of us feeling like we could audition as the Hunchback of Notre Dame, which is not a role we should be striving for. Poor posture can eventuallylead to chronic back and neck pain, and joint damage.

So, how do you sit properly? Just pretend you have a tail that needs to hang down the seat behind you. It sounds funny, but sitting this way naturally aligns your pelvic bones and ensures your shoulders and back are in a healthy upright position.  People who do yoga might know this as "tucking the tailbone." You’ll notice an almost immediate difference.

Bad posture stefanamer / Getty Images
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Nibbling Your Nails

When it comes to healthy habits, nail biting is a big no-no. Unless you wash your hands seconds before you start nibbling, the germs that have snuck under your nails throughout the day (from your dog, phone, keyboard, etc.) are going to end up in your mouth. It can also be very damaging to the nails themselves, raising the risk of infection.

The problem is, most people don’t even realize they’re biting their nails until it’s too late. Thankfully, there are plenty of products to help nail biters beat the habit, such as bitter-tasting clear nail polishes.

Nail biting Prostock-Studio / Getty Images
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Compulsive phone checking

Ever pull out your phone to glance at a notification, only to realize you’re still scrolling through your feed half an hour later? It happens to the best of us, and there’s a very good reason for it: smartphones and social media are literally designed to be as addictive as humanly possible. Studies showa link between smartphones and higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.

As with any addiction, the first step is to admit that you have a problem so you can address it. Before you automatically reach for your phone the next time you’re bored, remind yourself of the power it has over you, and get busy with something else instead.

Checking phone wundervisuals / Getty Images
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Too Much Takeout

If you’re just not feeling the whole cooking thing, it’s all too easy to just pick up the phone and order dinner with the touch of a button. Restaurant food tends to be much higher in sodium, fat, and sugar than home-cooked recipes. Why? It’s designed to be as delicious as possible so you keep coming back for more! Unfortunately, that’s exactly what makes it so bad for us.

Instead of making takeout a regular part of your meal plan, turn it into an occasional treat and make sure your pantry is stocked with easy, quick meal options for when you're not feeling kitchen time. Even a bowl of pasta with some frozen veggies and canned sauce is better for you (and cheaper) than most take out options.

Too much takeout AlenaPaulus / Getty Images
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Falling Asleep With Your Contacts In

At the end of the day, going through the painstaking processes of peeling our contact lenses off our eyeballs is often the last thing we feel like doing. But wearing contacts to beddeprives eyes of the oxygen they need, which raises the risk of infection and can result in the formation of excess blood vessels that may cause permanent damage. At best, you’ll wake up looking like you just got off a red-eye flight halfway around the world.

If you find you're regularly falling asleep with your contacts in by accident, you might want to look into extended-wear contacts, which are relatively safer to wear while sleeping.

Not taking contact lenses out Wavebreakmedia / Getty Images

Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.