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20 bad health habits to ditch in your 20s

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Your 20s see you through from your awkward teenage years to your transformation into a full-fledged adult. The decade is all about experiencing new things, taking on new challenges, making mistakes and learning from them, and working towards becoming the person you're meant to be. For those reasons, there's no better time than your 20s to ditch bad health habits and get on to being that better you.

Habits form from routine behaviors, and they're most easily broken while you're still growing and malleable. While you're in your 20s figuring out just what kind of life you want to lead — from big career decisions to relationships to yourself — it's a good time to establish the kind of behavior you'll want to follow for the rest of your life.

While you may be feeling young, wild, and free, your decisions today directly impact your life down the road. No one's perfect and it's good to be open to change, but when it comes to your health, there are certain things you just can't argue with. Science proves that certain behaviors are linked to well-being and longevity, while others affect you negatively, causing suffering now and even later in life. All it takes to ensure you're giving yourself the best chance at a long, happy life, is breaking some bad health habits we're all inclined to give in to. Simple choices you make today will set you up for future success, tomorrow and beyond. Here are the habits you need to ditch, and how to break them.

1. Not getting enough sleep

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One of the biggest bad health habits plaguing twenty somethings is not getting enough sleep. Eight hours of shut-eye is said to be the healthy ideal, but between late nights at high-pressure jobs and staying out super late on weekends to blow off steam, many in their 20s are not meeting this quota. It's proven that lack of sleep affects you throughout the day and undesirablethings happen to your body when you sleep poorly. Sleep deprivation affects your body's immune system, hormone levels, mood, and decreases your ability to focus. Still, sleep, let alone good sleep, is hard to come by. Unhealthy bedtime habits and bad habits keeping you up at night can be blamed for making things worse.

Break the habit:

You need to be proactive about making an effort to get more sleep. It is recommended to avoid caffeine for eight hours before bedtime and to remove distractions as you wind down for the evening. Watching your favorite show at the end of a workday might seem ideal, but you're apt to fall asleep with your laptop in your bed much later than planned and your quality of sleep will suffer for it. Have an evening routine that signals to your body that it's time to catch some Zs, like a hot shower and taking a few minutes to stretch. Block out excess light and sound from your bedroom as much as possible.

2. Forgoing sunscreen

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It's well known that scary things happen when you don't wear sunscreen, yet it's one of the simplest health habits that we still get wrong all too regularly. From not using sunscreen correctly to not wearing it at all, twenty somethings put themselves at risk for a lot of sun damage that is actually avoidable. Sunscreen is important for more than just cosmetic reasons, but your future self will thank you later for protecting yourself from sun spots, broken blood vessels, and wrinkles.

Break the habit:

Train yourself to wear sunscreen daily, even when it's overcast. If you wear makeup, chances are your foundation has sunscreen built in. Otherwise, check out these non-greasy sunscreens you can wear under your makeup. If you lather up before sun exposure but still find yourself getting burned, you may be applying sunscreen wrong. Study up on these sunscreen mistakes everyone makes to improve your sunscreen game in the future.

3. Not drinking enough water

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Chances are you're not drinking enough water. If you relate to any of thesesigns you're dehydrated or are experiencing any of these things happening to your skin, it's time to drink up. Staying hydrated has tons of immediate benefits to your wellbeing.

It helps to clean toxins from your body via your kidneys, keeps your muscles and joints working better, and helps keep you motivated and your memory sharp. The ways drinking enough water changes your body are hugely positive and definitely worth the extra effort to get in a few more glasses each day.

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