50 Everyday Mistakes—and How to Fix Them

You may not even realize that these everyday habits could be harming your health. Learn what they are and how to avoid them.

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Setting your alarm for the middle of a REM cycle

-REM-cycleKite_rin/ShutterstockHumans sleep in five-stage cycles. Waking up in the middle of a REM stage (when you sleep deepest) leaves you groggy and grumpy—but get up during one of your light-sleep stages, and you’ll rise feeling refreshed and alert. Find your perfect bedtime with a free site such as sleepyti.me, which gives you four optimal bedtimes based on when you need to get up, or a sleep-tracker app such as Sleepbot, which uses motion and sound sensors to wake you from the lightest phase of your cycle. These are the four stages of sleep and the importance of each.

Wrinkling your face with a cotton pillowcase

cotton-pillowcaseAnna-Kraynova/Shutterstock“Persistently pressing your face into a pillow­case causes trauma to the skin,” says dermatologist Dennis Gross. “Over time, this trauma, aggravated by the friction of cotton, can cause permanent creases as our collagen breaks down.” Switch to silk or satin cases to minimize creases. Thinking about buying new bed sheets now, here is what you need to know.

Taking a silent shower

silent-showerSutichak/ShutterstockDoes music give you chills? That’s your brain rewarding itself with ­dopamine—the same way it reacts to eating potato chips or falling in love. So put on your favorite tune, sing along (the deep breathing associated with singing has been shown to improve heart health), and lather up. Try these other smart things that you can do in the shower.

Ditching your eyeglasses

eyeglassesRomanets/ShutterstockBeyond the “brainy” association, specs draw attention to your eyes—the windows to empathy. Here are the best glasses for your face shape.

Dressing down

DressingSveta-Yaroshuk/ShutterstockSuits (and other professional ­attire, such as lab coats) really do make you look more competent. So do designer labels. This infographic is the perfect guide to learn how to comply with your office dress code.

Sticking to a mainstream look

Sticking-to-a-mainstream-look-Aaron-Amat/ShutterstockWhile matching your outfit to your job is important, one study found that adding an offbeat element—such as red tennis shoes—to a traditional ensemble can make you look more competent because you seem unique. These outfit mistakes make you look messy.

Locking away the family jewels

jewelsdramalens/ShutterstockThere’s power in imitation. Wearing your father’s watch, for example, may help you subconsciously embody the traits you most admire about him. Try these other tricks to perfectly accessorize your outfit.

Saving your favorite dress for a special occasion

dressAriwasabi/ShutterstockWearing your most beloved clothes whenever you feel like it could improve your own mood, according to a U.K. study. Fill your closet with these dresses that every woman should own.

Leaving food on the counter

counterJavier-Morales-Castro/ShutterstockYou are what you eat and you eat what you see, according to a study in Health Education & Behavior. People who keep foods such as cereal, cookies, and muffins in plain sight tend to weigh more than those whose treats stay tucked away. On the other hand, keeping healthy foods visible correlates to slimness. Train your brain to hate junk food.

Ignoring the fitness tracker fad

fitness-trackerquantium/ShutterstockTrackers do more than count steps; they also pick up deviations in heart rate and skin temperature. Using that data, Stanford University researchers studied 60 volunteers over two years and found that fitness monitors could flag when you’re catching a cold or even signal the onset of a serious condition, such as Lyme disease. These are other things that your fitness tracker knows about you.

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