Some very common habits aren’t that good for us. Between interfering with your sleep and increasing your risk of deadly diseases, read on to find out what you probably should stop doing. There are a lot of health myths on the internet and articles of contrasting advice in media, but we tried to bring the best science-based information to you.

1. Don’t let your kid sleep with the lights on

Lights at night are a new thing for our bodies, which evolved to sleep when the sun goes down. Before sleeping, your body starts making melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep. But lights, especially bright or blue-hued lights, can disrupt the production of melatonin in your body, making it harder to fall asleep.

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Kids are especially sensitive to light disrupting their sleep because their eyes actually let in more light than adult eyes. Disrupted sleep is bad enough, but researchers have also found that exposure to lots of light at night might actually increase your risk of cancer. So use dimmed or red lights before bed and turn them off when you sleep.

2. Biting your nails could make you sick

Your hands are the dirtiest part of you — they touch everything: doorknobs, food, toilets, other people. The list goes on. Putting these dirty digits in your mouth could give you a cold or another illness, depending on what microbes are chilling on your fingers.

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Plus, the area around your nails could get infected and you might harm your teeth. Biting most likely won’t cause long term damage to your nails, but it certainly isn’t healthy. Instead of biting your nails, try playing with a hair tie on your wrist or a ring on your finger as a more hygienic nervous tick.

3. Don’t (static) stretch before working out

If you’re warming up before a workout, don’t hold stretches. Pre-workout stretching temporarily weakens your muscle strength, impacting your performance and causing you to run more slowly or lift less effectively. Instead, for a warm-up, you can do high knees, squats, light biking, jumping jacks, arm circles, or another moderate intensity movement.

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After your workout, you can do those static stretches that you hold for about 30 seconds or so. They might help you become more flexible, but science suggests they have no effect on whether or not you injure yourself while exercising. In fact, science is a little fuzzy on what stretching actually does and if it has any substantial long-term effect.

4. Sitting all day could be harmful to your health

Many of us spend nearly the whole day sitting — between the office (or school), the car, and the couch, there’s little physical activity. Some studies have linked the practice with health concerns like obesity, high blood sugar and blood pressure, death from cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.

While sitting for long periods of time hasn’t necessarily been proven to directly cause disease, a sedentary lifestyle does seem to be harmful and may affect your brain as well as your heart. However, exercising regularly appears to reduce the effects. While it’s hard to not sit when you have to work all day, try getting up and moving regularly or work in a standing position… Show More

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