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 doing 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

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“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.”

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.

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“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.”

Good excuse for rolling your partner over if they sleep on their back and start to snore, if you ask us.

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.”

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“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.”

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.

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“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.

Using A Wooden Chopping Board

Still have a wooden chopping board? Bin it.

“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

“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.”

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Luckily, you can limit your risk of cross contamination by “washing your hands and meat contact surfaces like knives and cutting boards immediately and thoroughly.”

Refrigerating Your Avocados

Will Hawkins, registered nutritionist at Push Doctor, tells us this is a bad habit – and one which millennials are probably all guilty of thanks to their obsession with this trending food.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.”

Taking Painkillers To Cure A Hangover

Personal trainer Jay Bolton offers a helping hand to those who want to hit the white wine as hard as the gym.

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,” he states.

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“Before going to sleep, drink a big glass of water rather than a paracetamol, and you’ll feel better for it the following morning.”

Rinsing Immediately After Brushing

White Glo’s dental expert Jordan Kirk tells us why we should wait to rinse: “When brushing, you’re actually supposed to wait half an hour before rinsing, to give your teeth time to be properly cleaned.

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“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.”

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.

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“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.

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“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!’

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 fall asleep and waking up every 45 minute sleep cycle.

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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.

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“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!”

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.

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“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.

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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!”

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.

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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.”

Showering

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.”

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“… 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.”

A cold shower will wake you up much faster anyway.