You Smoke Like a Choo-ChooYour teeth are yellowing, your skin is dry and leathery, your clothes smell like Satan's ashtray... and you're spending upwards of $50 per paycheck on something you kind of hate. Lung, throat, and mouth cancer aside (not to mention emphysema, COPD, and birth defects), smokers are jokers. It's gross. And it's annoying. You know when you're in the middle of a conversation and you suddenly turn around and disappear out to the alley to suck poison into your face and play Words With Friends for 10 minutes? Yeah, non-smokers hate that. Also, you stink.
How Nicotine Helps Your Brain:
In one blind study of elderly non-smoking subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), participants who were given nicotine patches for 6 months were shown to have improved attention and psychomotor speed. They also regained 46% of normal longterm memory for their age. The control group who had placebo patches got 26% worse. Of course, here we're talking about patches, not cigarettes - which means it may be time to ditch your Pall Malls for one of those fancy new e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine but fewer poisonous additives. To ease your cravings, you can even get them flavored like tobacco.
You Sleep Til NoonThe next time you walk down a residential street late at night, think about the scenes in each of those dark rooms with drawn curtains that you pass by. Inside, one or more people is lying on a raised platform (a "bed," if you will) maybe flat on his or her back, maybe curled up on his side, breathing deeply, completely still, completely unconscious, at a reasonable hour - like a creepy humanoid robot on a lab table, only temporarily unplugged.
Also, they'll be like that for about 8 whole hours, which is a third of their day/life (and they'll also probably wake up at a reasonable time). And also, since you're going to be up so late tonight, you'll probably be asleep tomorrow when that guy is up, about, and eating lunch (not to mention his breakfast).
You'll sleep right through the LA Marathon, through Saturday morning cartoons, the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and a pick-up game with your friends. You won't be able to stop your mom from telling you how the whole world is going on without you, passing by right outside your window. Get out of bed already, she'll say. Get a job.
Why You Shouldn't Get Out of Bed:
While scientists don't fully understand the nuances of sleep or exactly how it affects our bodies, they do know that a lack of sleep can have many detrimental side effects.
One 2000 study in New Zealand found that people who drove vehicles after being awake for 17-19 hours performed worse than those with blood alcohol levels of .05 - the legal limit for drunk driving in most Western European countries.
Getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night can affect reaction time, coordination, and judgment - and can increase anxiety, stress, and depression. Scientists call sleep an "anabolic" (building) process, and it is the time when our bodies rebuild and restore muscle tissue, among other things.
Adequate sleep affects our personalities, memories, tolerance levels - even our sense of humor. And have you ever looked hard in the mirror at the tail-end of an all-nighter? Yikes. So remind your mom that you were awake much later than she was and, by all means, get some rest.
You Booze Every NightYou know the drill. After a grueling commute home from work wherein everyone on the road sucks at driving except you, your only recourse is to crack open a very cold beer and hope it stops your shakes. Eight beers/hours later, you stumble into your office again and start your mental countdown to the weekend.
Friday night floats by in a haze of Old Fashioneds and Jack & Dianes, but when you crawl out of bed the next afternoon, only a Laura Palmer will ease the throbbing in your frontal lobe. And then a mimosa. And then... four Mai Tais? Sure, why not. Before you know it, it's Monday morning again, and you've alienated your entire family and all your friends. The only reason you don't dump an entire handle of Jameson into your morning coffee is because you can't muster up the strength (and you nurse both way too long for it not to become stale).
Why Drinking Makes You Run Faster, Jump Higher, and Live Forever:
OK, that might be overselling it. But in moderation, some of this is true. A 1967 study of over 6,000 participants showed that people who consumed between 1 and 30 alcohol drinks per week had significantly greater cognitive functioning than teetotalers.
The research team drew the conclusion that alcohol (beer, wine, or liquor) improves thought processes because it increases blood flow to the brain. Another study at the University of Auckland found that moderate amounts of alcohol improved the memories of lab rats - and may even protect against diseases like Alzheimer's.
As if that's not proof enough that you should imbibe at will, a 20-year study of 1,824 participants proved that heavy drinkers outlive those who abstain. So drink up!
(Disclaimer: I feel it's my duty to point out that the researchers linked the alcohol / longer lives connection to more active social lives, which means downing a bottle of vodka by yourself during a "Friday Night Lights" marathon doesn't count.)
You Touch Yourself Every Chance You GetImagine this: You reach down and push a tiny button hidden under your favorite stuffed leather chair. As the seat reclines, a bottle of lotion (with aloe) rises from a small table on one side of you; from the other, a box of Kleenex. In front of you, the walls split to reveal a massive hi-def screen on which a naked chick (or dude), the kind you like, writhes and moans through the surround sound speakers installed in every wall and in the ceiling. The best part: There's no one else home.
If you imagine this kind of James Bond villain-style wank den every time you hear your roommates' wheels back out of the driveway, you're not alone. If you need a letter opener to physically pry apart the monitor and keyboard every time you open your laptop, you might be overdoing it, though, and you should probably wash... well... something. And if your girlfriend is going to bed frustrated and angry every night because you pay more attention to RedTube than you do to the warm human body beside you, you might have a real problem.
Why Masturbation Is, Like, Really Really Good for You
But don't fret! There is such thing as a healthy amount of masturbation - and it's probably more than you think. Through a 2003 study, a team of Australian scientists concluded, in their upside down lab, that the more men ejaculate between ages 20 and 50, the less likely they are to develop prostate cancer. More specifically: Men in their 20s who ejaculate 5+ times a week are one-third less likely to develop prostate cancer later in life. So just think about how much prostate cancer you're preventing!
Earlier studies had linked frequent sexual activity to an increase in risk of prostate cancer, but the variable here was the second party. There's a lesson here. To preserve your health, do it yourself.
You Can't Put Down Your ControllerVideo games have been linked to everything from childhood aggression, to teenage acne, to late onset virginity. For many, the term "gamer" brings to mind a sweaty basement-dwelling mouthbreather with a neckbeard swearing at racist, Southern third-graders through his XBox Live. Have you ever stood in line outside your local Gamestop for a midnight release? Have you ever built a rage comic about something that happened while you were looking for Alduin? If you've ever skipped a shower or two because you just had to "kill this guy," congratulations, you have a disgusting habit.
Why Gaming Makes You Smarter:
Here is why that disgusting habit rules.
According to several university studies, video games can change your brain into a more effective thinking machine. in one study, adults who played action-based games were able to make quick - and accurate - decisions 25% faster than others, and more practiced gamers were able to pay attention to more than 6 things at once without getting confused. Another study found that female gamers were able to manipulate 3D objects better than non-gamers, and a third found that children who played video games scored higher on a standardized test of creativity.
Due to the positive results of these studies, scientists are researching how video games affect perception, attention, hand-eye coordination, and many other brain functions not including the proclivity for Cheetos.
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