Skimping on Sleep
People may brag about subsisting on very little sleep, but a lack of shuteye can actually take a huge toll on your health, says Dr. Brown. A 2016 new study conducted by the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation found that 33 percent of 500 Canadian men surveyed between the ages of 30 and 49, were only getting four to six hours of sleep each night. Another health survey, by Aviva found that 31 percent of Canadians don’t think they are getting enough sleep.
Missing out on sleep is associated with obesity, heart problems, cardiac disease, depression and may even cause cognitive decline such as an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Professionals recommend between seven to eight hours of shuteye a night so skip that last episode on Netflix in favour of a good night’s slumber.
Not Updating Immunizations
With the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and mumps, public health agencies are calling for Canadians to ensure their immunizations are up to date. “Immunizations are an important way to protect you and your family from disease,” says Dr. Brown. Depending on your age and your risk factors, you may want to discuss certain vaccines with your doctor such as the HPV vaccine, the flu vaccine or the shingles vaccine.
Drinking (and Smoking) More Than You Think
“Many people underestimate how much they drink,” says Dr. Brown. In addition to the increased risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, drinking is also associated with high-risk behaviours such as unprotected sex, illicit drug use and impaired driving. According to Statistics Canada, in 2008 an estimated 24.1 percent of males and 9.6 percent of females reported heavy drinking, meaning five or more drinks on one occasion. So remember when you’re downing that bottle of vino with dinner that drinking more than 5oz a day can have negative consequences on your body and life.
Smoking, whether regular or occasional is also a major health risk. Smoking even one cigarette a day can double your heart disease risk. “There’s no safe amount of smoking,” says Dr. Brown.