Every choice you make impacts your health and wellness. Making choices to exercise regularly and eat healthy are steps in the right direction, but there are things even the healthiest of people might miss along the way.
Don’t let small habits add up to become even bigger health concerns.
One in three adults don’t get enough sleep
It’s common to cut back on sleep for work, family demands or even to watch a good show on television. But, if not getting enough sleep is a regular part of your routine, you might be at an increased risk for obesity, tiredness, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, poor mental health and even early death.
Healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble falling asleep, consider cutting out some unhealthy habits that may contribute to lack of sleep.
“The most important thing to help improve your sleep is to be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends,” said Dr. Vismay Brahmbhatt, family medicine provider at Marshfield Clinic Eau Claire Oakwood Center.
He also recommends making sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, relaxing and set at a comfortable temperature. Don’t use electronic devices like TVs, computers and phones from your bed. Avoid large meals, desserts, caffeine, exercise and alcohol before bedtime.
“Getting enough sleep is important, but good sleep quality is also essential,” Dr. Brahmbhatt said. “Signs of poor sleep quality include feeling sleepy or tired even after getting enough sleep, repeatedly waking up during the night and having symptoms of a sleep disorder – like snoring. If you have symptoms of a sleep disorder, make sure to tell your doctor.”
Drinking eight glasses of water each day helps prevent dehydration
Not getting enough water each day can cause dehydration – a condition that can cause mood changes, unclear thinking, constipation, kidney stones or can cause your body to overheat.
“Water helps your body keep a normal temperature, lubricate and cushion joints, protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues and get rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements,” said Dr. Brahmbhatt.
Most of your water needs are met through the water and beverages you drink. You can get some fluids through foods you eat – like foods with high water content, such as fruits and vegetables. You need more water in hotter climates, if you are physically active, running a fever or having diarrhea or vomiting to replenish lost fluids.
“To help drink more water, carry a water bottle with you and refill it throughout the day or choose water over sugary drinks,” said Dr. Brahmbhatt.
He also recommends drinking water with each meal or adding a wedge of lime or lemon to your water to improve the taste and encourage you to drink more water than you usually do.
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things adults can do for their health
“Activity can prevent many of the health problems that may come with age,” said Dr. Brahmbhatt.
Regular activity has been known to lower risk for early death, coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes and colon and breast cancer. It helps with weight loss, muscular strength, prevention of falls, reduced depression and better brain function.
For substantial health benefits, adults need at least 150 minutes a week of moderately-intense aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorously-intense aerobic activity.
Protect yourself and others by getting vaccinated
Part of staying healthy is keeping up-to-date with recommended vaccines. Most recently, the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended to help protect you from getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19. It may also reduce your chances of spreading infection to people around you.
“Getting vaccinated and following CDC recommendations on wearing masks and social distancing are the best ways to protect yourself,” Dr. Brahmbhatt said. “Outdoor visits and activities are safer than indoor activities, and fully vaccinated people can participate in some indoor events safely without much risk.”
Dr. Brahmbhatt recommends scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment if you have not yet been vaccinated.