In your daily routine, it’s easy to forget to question even some of the simplest things. From hygeine to sleeping to exercise, we’ve rounded up some of the most common life mistakes and assumptions that you may never have guessed you’re getting wrong. Time to re-align…
Chewing Too Much Gum
We all know a diet high in sugar feeds gut bacteria. Well, it’s the same for bacteria in your mouth. If you jump for chewing gum to help your bad breath regularly, you could be doing yourself more damage than good.
If they contain sugar, then they may only eventually worsen the situation
Dr. Harold Katz, known as the bad-breath guru of Beverly Hills, explains: “Ultimately, all the gum and mints in the world will not stop chronic halitosis (bad breath) and is not a replacement for a robust oral hygiene regimen.
“Sucking mints or chewing gum does serve as a good occasional short-term fix, but if they contain sugar, then they may only eventually worsen the situation. I’d recommend trying to avoid candy mints all together, and choose a gum that doesn’t contain aspartame, artificial flavors and colors.”
The Fix: If you’re going to chew gum, look for products with xylitol to protect your teeth. One option is PUR Gum, a vegan, aspartame-free chewing gum that uses 100% xylitol as its sweetener. Xylitol is recommended by dentists, and it can actually help to reduce plaque buildup. With that said, you’ll still want to brush regularly – no gum can take the place of a decent toothbrush – but if you’re looking for a gum that won’t ruin your teeth, this is a good place to start.
Get PUR Aspartame-Free Gum for $4.28 on Amazon
If you’re not ready to let go of you mint obsession, check out Spry, a peppermint-flavored lozenge made with 100% xylitol. They’re fairly small, but remarkably powerful, and reviewers say that they’re a nice upgrade over Altoids and other sugary mints.
Sleeping On Your Stomach
Everyone has their favorite sleeping position but as chiropractor Andrew Green explains, one stands out from the rest for all the wrong reasons.
Stomach sleepers tend to develop respiratory problems
“There is one sleeping position, on your stomach, that should be avoided at all costs,” he says. “If you sleep like this, you are twisting your spine severely as your head will be turned to one side and usually you will have one hip hitched up. This position adversely affects both blood and nerve flow.
“Stomach sleepers tend to develop respiratory problems, or tingling and numbness in their arms, hands and fingers. They also tend to be more prone to headaches as the neck is twisted to one side. The solution is to sleep either on your back or side.”
While that may sound impossible (we’re looking at you, die-hard stomach sleeper), believe it or not, you can gradually learn to sleep in a new position.
The Fix: It’s not the easiest process, but that’s where the iSleepFit belt comes into play. Frequently recommended for sleep apnea sufferers, it uses three adjustable balls to keep you in position as you drift off. If you try to roll over onto your stomach (or back, depending on how you position it), you’ll wake up. After a few nights, you should begin to adjust.
Get the Adult Sleep Positioner Belt by iSleepFit for $39.99 on Amazon
If you’re having trouble adjusting your sleep position, wedge pillows can also be extraordinarily beneficial here, as they adapt to your body’s curves, providing a supportive, comfortable sleep surface that effectively prevents orthopedic issues. Plus, you can reposition the wedge to read or watch TV (although you really shouldn’t be watching TV in bed, either).
Doing Sit Ups For Abs
Personal trainer Faye Pritchard explains: “Sit ups have been around for years and they’ve been hard-wired into our subconscious as the exercise we need to do when we want toned abs.
The truth is that the best exercises to develop abs are actually the plank, deadbugs and crunches.
“Nowadays there is a lot more research into fitness and the exercises that are most effective for targeting certain areas. The truth is that the best exercises to develop abs are actually the plank, deadbugs and crunches.”
“To do the deadbug, lie on your back with your arms pointing towards the ceiling and your legs at a 90 degree angle. Then, gradually take your arms back as you lower one leg. Return arms and legs back to starting position and repeat for the other leg. Aim for 20 reps, and do them 4-5x.”
To avoid injuries, make sure you’re performing ab exercises on a well-padded surface. Do your deadbugs on a hard floor, and you’re just asking for trouble.
The Fix: Fortunately, yoga mats are pretty cheap these days. Our pick here is Valeo’s foam exercise mat, which has a ribbed surface on one side and a smooth surface on the other. The closed-cell foam should provide plenty of cushioning, and you can clean it easily with a damp cloth.
Using Resistance Bands To Build Muscle
Pritchard wants you to push past this warm up: “swipe through Instagram and you’ll be inundated with images of men and women with strong, built bums using resistance bands and you’ll automatically think that is the way to develop your glutes.
“Resistance bands only activate your glutes – I love band work but only for warm ups – to truly build a bum, you need to weight train and lift fairly heavy,” she tells us.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have a decent set of resistance bands. Just recognize that they’re not a replacement for a decent set of actual weights. You can still use them for toned, lean muscle – and they’re great for stretching those tight quads.
The Fix: UPOWEX offers a high-quality set of bands that provide up to 50 pounds of resistance, which should be more than enough for most people. They’re double layered, so they won’t snap, and they come with door anchor and leg attachments for safe, effective workouts.
When you’re ready for serious weight training, kettlebells are an excellent option as they enable you to increase your strength, and build up speed as well as your endurance level at the same time. Our pick is AmazonBasics’ cast-iron kettlebells, available in a variety of weights at a reasonable price. They feature a textured handle, and they’re backed by a limited one-year warranty.
Using A Wooden Chopping Board
Still have a wooden chopping board? Time to throw it away.
“Wooden cutting boards are more difficult to disinfect, and sometimes they don’t go in the dishwasher,” says infectious disease expert, Dr. Belinda Stuart-Moonlight. “It’s strongly advised to have plastic cutting boards that are easy to clean and disinfect.
It’s a very nasty bug that can cause long term auto immune illnesses
Cutting up raw chicken? “Probably one in two retail chickens will have a bug, campylobacter, on the surface,” Dr. Stuart-Moonlight adds. “It’s a very nasty bug that can cause long term auto immune illnesses – people end up in wheelchairs.”
Matt Shipman of New York State University notes that vegetarians aren’t off the hook, since produce can also contain a variety of unpleasant foodborne pathogens. Once those critters are on your wooden cutting board, they’re hard to get off.
Shipman notes that wood cutting boards can be safe, even though they’re more difficult to sanitize, but they’re definitely not ideal for cutting meats. Whatever you’re chopping on, make sure to clean it regularly.
The Fix: We’re big fans of Gorilla Grip’s reversible BPA-free cutting boards. Their deep grooves help to catch juices, keeping your counter clean, and they’re easy to sanitize with a quick trip through the dishwasher (or, if you’d prefer, with water and antibacterial soap).
Get Gorilla Grip’s 3-piece Reversible Cutting Board Set for $16.99 on Amazon
Refrigerating Your Avocados
As millennials, we love avocados. We spend all of our money on them. We’re literally homeless because of our dedication to avocados, but we do have a refrigerator, and we keep it fully stocked. With said avocados.
But Will Hawkins, registered nutritionist at Push Doctor, tells us this is a bad habit.
“Do not refrigerate your avocados,” he says. “At least not initially. Once picked from the tree, avocados, much like bananas, produce ethylene, which triggers the ripening process. The optimal temperature for this is 68°F/20°C.
“Fresh-picked avocados should ripen under these conditions within three to six days. When ripe, the avocado should yield gently to pressure, but not be squishy.”
Sticking With Your Default WIFI Settings
Matt Powell, Editor at Broadband Genie states that “a common mistake with home broadband is trusting the default settings of our Wi-Fi routers.
At a bare minimum you should change the default admin password
“Many of us get a free router from our internet provider, plug it in and never think about it again unless something goes wrong, but they often come with insecure default passwords and if not maintained can be left vulnerable to hackers and viruses.
“Our own internal research found 51% of people hadn’t taken any steps to deal with this, with most unaware of the issues that could arise.
Picking a decent password is, of course, fairly easy. For many routers, you can access settings and change your password by typing 192.168.0.1 into your browser’s address bar, but you’ll need to consult the documentation that came with your device for specific instructions.
“At a bare minimum you should change the default admin password which controls access to the router’s settings,” he says. “And get into the habit of checking for updates to protect against security holes.”
Avoiding A Credit Card
Justin Basini, CEO of ClearScore comments: “Some people still believe using a credit card will damage your finances, when it’s actually the complete opposite.
The golden rule is to make a plan to pay back the money and never miss a payment
“Using a credit card sensibly actually builds your credit history and improves your credit score. It shows lenders that you can manage your money well and pay back your debts on time.
“It also means you’re more likely to be accepted for financial products in the future, for example if you want to get a mobile phone contract or a mortgage.
If you don’t trust your spending habits, consider getting a card with a restricted spending limit (most credit card companies will lower your limit if you make the request). Basini also recommends automating your payments so that your entire card is paid back at the end of every billing period.
“If you do decide to take out a credit card, the golden rule is to make a plan to pay back the money and never miss a payment, as this will impact you negatively.”
Of course, if you’re concerned about your credit, you’ll need proper Radio-frequency identification (RFID) protection. By reading your credit card’s information with an RFID scanner, a high-tech hacker could take out money or make purchases with your credit. While you can dispute these purchases, your best bet is to protect yourself ahead of time.
The Fix: RFID-blocking wallets are fairly inexpensive, and some are even stylish. This trifold wallet from Clifton Heritage is durable, practical, and reliable.
Taking Painkillers To Cure A Hangover
You overdid it, and now you’ve got an aching head. You’re about to reach for your go-to painkiller — but not so fast.
Before going to sleep, drink a big glass of water rather than a paracetamol
“It can be easy to go for a pack of paracetamol when you have a throbbing headache the morning after a heavy night – but many of the symptoms associated with a hangover are actually due to dehydration,” personal trainer Jay Bolton says.
“Before going to sleep, drink a big glass of water rather than a paracetamol, and you’ll feel better for it the following morning.”
The Fix: To rehydrate as quickly as possible, you can even add some Pedialyte to that tall glass of H2O. Yes, Pedialyte. It’s formulated to help children recover from the flu, but it works just as well on adults, and it’s not packed with sugar (unlike sports drinks). Mix up a batch of Pedialyte, and you’ll replenish your fluids and electrolytes in short order.
Rinsing Immediately After Brushing
You brush, spit, and now you’re ready to gargle. What could be more natural? Well, if you’ve followed this article at all, you know where this is going.
“When brushing, you’re actually supposed to wait half an hour before rinsing, to give your teeth time to be properly cleaned,” Jordan Kirk of dental product brand White Glo says.
“Also, after eating, you should avoid brushing for at least half an hour to give your enamel enough time to recover; it’s far more sensitive after a meal. Avoiding these two common mistakes can make a huge difference in dental health and can keep your teeth healthy for years to come.”
If you have trouble building good dental habits, an electric toothbrush can be a quick fix. The main advantage of high-end electric toothbrushes is that they often come with built-in timers, which tell you when to switch sides and when to stop brushing.
The Fix: FairWill offers an affordable option with a smart timer, and it holds a four-hour charge – perfect for keeping your teeth sparkling clean while you’re traveling.
Get a FairWill Electric Toothbrush for $27.95 on Amazon
Painting A Room First
According to Furnish Your Home, we’ve all been decorating our homes wrong.
“Many interior designers suggest that to really get a feeling of how you want to create a room, buy fabrics like rugs, throws and pillows as well as textiles like curtains before you even consider the color of the room.
“These touches will inspire you to get a vision of how the room could look and what would go well alongside your pieces.”
Keeping Babies Awake During The Day
Zarja Cibej, founder of childcare matchmaker and maternity nurse specialist myTamarin calls this out as a parenting myth.
Skip those naps, and you’re up for a much shorter night!
“Contrary to popular belief, you should not exhaust your baby during the day by keeping them awake in order for them to sleep better and longer during the night. Babies need to be rested in order to sleep well at night. An overtired baby will be restless at night.
“For example, a three-month-old baby needs a short nap in the morning – 45 minutes to an hour – and a longer nap after lunch (around one and a half to two hours) alongside a catnap in the afternoon of around 30 minutes.
“Follow this routine and they will still need about 11-12 hours of sleep at night. Skip those naps, and you’re up for a much shorter night!’
The Fix: Infants have a built-in attachment to their caregivers. If you’re looking for some rest without baby drooling over your shoulder, try the Lulla Doll Sleep Companion. Created by a Norwegian mother, the doll is made of natural cotton and provides soothing sounds of real-life breathing and heartbeat.
Using The Phrase ‘Sleep Like A Baby’
And, speaking of, no one should ever want to sleep like a baby. Sleeping like a baby means not knowing how to put yourself to sleep and waking up every 45 minute sleep cycle.
Contrary to the popular belief, babies don’t know how to fall asleep, and how to stay asleep. They need to be taught how to fall asleep and how to actually stay asleep, says Cibej. Everyone who has ever raised a human knows that.
Using The Sun As Natural Bleach For Your Hair
According to award-winning professional hairdresser Andrew Barton, this is a total lie. “Contrary to popular belief, sunshine will not make your colored blonde locks blonder.
“UV light will fade blonde hair color so to avoid a washed out look and hair that is dull, keep your blonde hair covered up in the sun and pop on a sunhat instead!”
The Fix: Fortunately, wide-brimmed sun hats are pretty fashionable (just check Instagram). This stylish straw Lanzom hat offers UPF50+ protection, which is a clever way of saying that it blocks out sunlight. It adjusts easily, and it’s tightly woven for optimal durability.
Storing Chocolate In The Fridge
“Although it may be tempting to store chocolate in the fridge during the summer months, refrigeration can cause chocolate flavors to dull,” says to Genevieve Holdsworth, creative director of Holdsworth Chocolates.
“Additionally, chocolate can absorb odors from the fridge, and the chilly temperatures can even cause sugar bloom or fat bloom, which both lead to a white coating on the outside of the chocolate, affecting the taste and the texture.
“For best results, store chocolate in a cool, dark place at just below room temperature – somewhere like a pantry – to ensure that the flavors stay as they should be.”
Wearing A White T-Shirt To Prevent Sunburn
It may seem conducive to protecting your skin but a white T-shirt actually provides your body with very little protection.
London Doctors Clinic says it’s one of the biggest mistakes people make in the sun: “It may feel like it’s keeping you cool but a white T-shirt does not protect you from sun damage. It only has SPF of 7 and when it is wet, that drops to 3!”
The takeaway? If you’re not using sunscreen, you’re in trouble. And in 2018, there’s really no excuse for not wearing it.
The Fix: If you simply hate the coconut-ish smell of most lotions, look for a fragrance-free option like Rocky Mountain Sunscreen. It provides broad-spectrum protection, it’s water resistant, and it’s non-comedogenic, so it doesn’t feel greasy on your skin.
Get Rocky Mountain SPF 30 Sunscreen for $31.00 on Amazon
Only Working The Glamour Muscles
Chiropractic clinic ProBack see lots of people who have back pain due to mistakes made in the gym.
“When most people step into the gym, they often ignore working out the smaller muscle groups and spend far too much time working solely on their ‘glamour’ muscles such as biceps, chest and glutes,” they tell us.
“This leaves some of the smaller muscle groups, including the shoulders, knees and hips, ignored.
“As you may expect, ignoring these muscles can have a negative overall effect on your workout as they will become less able to support the larger muscle groups as they become stronger.
“If these smaller muscles become overloaded by your workouts, they may not be able to perform optimally, and this may result in injury and potentially mean you may need some time away from the gym to recover.”
Turns out that long, hot shower that wakes you up in the morning is terrible for your skin.
“Showering and being in the water dries out your skin,” says Alan J. Parks, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. “It’s okay [to] shower every day, but you should keep your showers relatively short – as short as possible – so that your skin doesn’t dry out.”
“… Hot water opens the pores, which promotes water loss and also washes away skin’s protective emollient oils, further compounding water loss,” says New York dermatologist Neal Schultz, MD. Schulz is the host of DermTV.com and creator of BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz. “Together this causes dry and itchy skin,” he says. “Take warm showers instead.”
The Fix: If you’ve already got rough skin, invest in a high-quality moisturizer. Ideally, you’ll pick up something non-comedogenic—meaning that it doesn’t block your pores—and formulated with hyaluronic acid, which helps your skin stay naturally hydrated.
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream checks both of those boxes. The best course of action is to limit your showers, but if you’re set in your ways, this stuff will help you maintain your silky smooth skin.