Good habits can be bad

You think you are being virtuous when you follow that fixed health and hygiene routine. But there is emerging research that shows that you can have too much of a good thing.

In fact, some of those everyday good habits could be eroding your health.

Daily bath
It is a great habit your parents inculcated. But only if you are doing it right. If you enjoy a hot shower and like to scrub yourself down with strong soaps you could very well be stripping your skin off its oils, resulting in dryness, cracking and even infections.

Most people wash far too much. Using piping-hot water combined with harsh soaps can strip the skin of its oils, resulting in dryness, cracking and even infection. For the majority, there is no need to have a thorough wash daily.

If the prospect of skipping a daily shower horrifies you, at least make sure you wash with cooler water.

No exertion after dinner
It's good to take that brisk walk after dinner. In fact, if you're inactive during the evening, or eat just before sleeping, your body is likely to convert that food to fat. If you shift your calorie intake to the morning, eating a large breakfast instead, you're more likely to burn those calories through the day. Avoiding all movement after dinner can make you pile up kilos.

Sleeping eight hours a day
Imagine a caveman enjoying uninterrupted sleep for eight hours in the midst of all the jungle terrors. He would definitely get eaten alive. The notion of getting eight hours of solid sleep each night is a modern thing and could, in fact, leave you feeling tired. A short power nap can be as effective as an extra hour at night.

Our ancestors would have what they called a 'fyrste sleepe' of around two hours in the early evening, followed by food, then bedtime around midnight. This was followed by three to four hours of uninterrupted sleep, then another couple of hours until dawn.

The idea that waking in the middle of the night is a bad thing can actually be destructive to the quality of our sleep.

Rinsing after brushing teeth
Rinsing washes away the protective flouride coating left by toothpaste, which would otherwise add hours of protection.

Fight the urge to rinse after cleaning your teeth. Avoid drinking any fluids for at least half an hour after brushing. It may feel strange at first but you quickly get used to it. Whatever you do, don't clean you teeth straight after your meals.

Wait at least half an hour because the food acids and sugars weaken the protective enamel on the teeth. If you clean your teeth too soon, you are actually brushing away at the enamel before it hardens again.

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