We all know the drill when it comes to feeling (and looking) our most youthful selves. But what if we told you that late-night binge-watching session wasn’t doing you any favors either? Here, six surprising things that are actually aging you (and what to do about them)
Our Office Happy Hour
Of course, this won’t stop us from getting our groove on come 5 p.m. Friday. But alcohol is a natural diuretic, and long-term dehydration can lower skin’s elasticity, thereby causing wrinkles. But the bad news doesn’t stop there: According to a recent study from the Research Society on Alcoholism, drinking too many cocktails can also cause harm on the cellular level and lead to “age-related illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and dementia.”
Your Daily Commute
Nope, it’s not just the fact that the guy texting and driving from the car with the “MUSL BODY” license plate in front of you is making you pull your hair out. Traffic-related pollution (think: the giant puffs of exhaust coming from the semi truck two cars up) can actually cause an increase in age spots, says a study from the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Windows: rolled.
Your Job Stress
You have a huge report due tomorrow, your toilet decided to stop working this morning and your bank just called to say they noticed some weird activity on your card. Everyday stressors take a toll, but not just in the short run. According to one Umeå University study, stress steroids released in the brain can accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, while another study found that job-related stress can cause harmful changes to our DNA that are linked to a multitude of degenerative diseases.
Aside from giving you back and neck pain, poor posture can lead to a weakened spine and increased spinal curvature down the road. Further, a study published last year from the University of Idaho found that older adults with better posture actually showed increased cognitive function, while those with worse posture had a more difficult time recalling memories.
Your Lack Of Sleep
You’re already aware not getting enough quality sleep each night is linked to numerous health problems in the long run, from increased risk of heart disease to obesity. But did you know that your rough nights could also make you appear older as well? According to one study from University Hospitals Case Medical Center, patients who defined themselves as poor sleepers showed increased skin-aging effects such as “fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and slackening of skin.”
It’s not just wreaking havoc on your 10 p.m. bedtime goal (curse you, Instagram!). Your smartphone is also causing damage to your eyesight, says a University of Melbourne study that found links between long-term blue light exposure from screens and age-related macular degeneration. Hey, we’re not saying you have to go off the grid from now on. But you might want to rethink cuddling up to your iPhone before bed every night.