Your whole life you've been told the early bird gets the worm, which is totally true, if that worm happens to be a metaphor for death. Because contrary to what your parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches and ridiculously motivated roommates have told you, sleeping later is better for you than hopping out of bed at the crack of daylight.
So How is This Helpful?
While it's true that too much sleep can be bad for you, it's worse to not get enough. There's a reason you feel like shit at the moment you crawl out of bed to kill your alarm clock. You're killing yourself.
Studies show that people who only sleep six or less hours a night have a 70 percent higher risk of dying younger. Part of the reason for this is that less sleep means more stress, worse driving and significant weight gain. Humans need at least eight hours of sleep in order to produce hormones that regulate the appetite, and to heal from workouts. And it goes without saying that the less sleep you get, the less focused and alert you are, which means the more likely you are to do something stupid, like causing the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In the end, waking up at an ungodly hour to take a jog might actually be worse for your body than sleeping in.
You're killing yourself with jogs!
Oh, and after you finally roll out of bed, don't bother making it. There are these little buggers called dust mites, insects that live inside your mattress and sheets, and they can cause asthma and trigger allergies. A recent British study discovered that an unmade bed is a much harsher environment for the critters, effectively killing them off.
More proof that your mom was secretly trying to kill you.
Apparently, when you make your bed in the morning, you kind of seal the little guys in, keeping them warm and cozy-like. So college students around the world can rejoice that their slovenly lairs are actually fighting the good fight against asthma. Still no word on the benefits of leaving your three-day-old underwear on the floor, though.
It only seems logical that spending hours upon hours surfing the abyss of the Internet will eventually destroy your brain. Five minutes of reading YouTube comments alone should probably wipe out your capacity to do long division without a calculator.
The logic behind this assumption seems sound; it's like when you watch trashy television, right? Your brain is less engaged than if you were, say, reading a book or doing a crossword puzzle. And because you're not exercising your brain muscles, they must be atrophying.
Actually, no. Because some science guys are beginning to find out that those hours of surfing the interwebs might actually be making us smarter.
So How is This Helpful?
According to this UCLA study using Google (or any other search engine) can stimulate your brain more than reading a book. To be fair, the experiment was conducted on older people, and these guys weren't exactly using the Internet to find horse porn. They were probably researching the best plum juice. Nonetheless, the findings were significant enough that researchers declared that regular Googling can fight off dementia.
Fight that brain deterioration, Pop-Pop!
Don't get us wrong about Google. They're obviously the next great supervillains, the likes of which we've never seen, and will never see again, because they're definitely going to become the masters of the planet and subjugate the rest of us to death. It's not Google itself that's magically healing old people noggins. It's the rapid exposure to new information that's doing the trick. Surfing the Internet stimulates the brain and increases neuron activity. So basically, by visiting various sites you find unexpected information that fires up your brain, preventing it from rusting down.
All of this sounds great for grandpa, but what about the rest of us? According to the authors of iBrain we're all smartening up from our hours on the Web tubes. Apparently, the World Wide Web is forcing all of our brains to evolve and improve their neurological paths. Humans are becoming faster and more capable of handling a larger number of tasks, while losing some focusing and face-to-face interaction skills. Also it makes authors everywhere put a lowercase "i" in front of their book title in hopes of sounding hip.
The book is backed up by some studies which claim that Internet sites like Facebook are already changing the way we deal with memories, improving our short-term retention. A Scottish study discovered that using social media sites can help increase IQ as well as train us how to manage new information quicker. Not surprising, using YouTube has been proven to lower one's IQ, we weren't kidding when we said reading those comments is bad for you.
Considering all the negative effects of stress, from erectile dysfunction to heart disease, it's no wonder stress.org calls it America's number one problem. It definitely sounds like we're not stressing out as much as we should about this whole stress issue.
#2 problem in the U.S.: Screaming men stuck in exploding concrete blocks.
Nothing on this list will reduce stress more efficiently than enjoying all those dirty pleasures everyone says you shouldn't enjoy. An Australian study discovered that skipping work or buying that solid gold ice cream scooper is exactly the kind of irresponsible behavior that keeps you stress-free, happy and healthy. Almost everyone engages in this behavior and it seems to be the best way to release steam.
So How is This Helpful?
According to the author of Everything Bad is Good for You, everything from watching trashy reality TV to playing video games can reduce your stress level. Not only do these activities improve chemical and neurological reactions inside the brain, but they release calming hormones that regulate our bodies. On a less biological level, "bad" habits prepare us for interactions with our culture, increasing the efficiency of socialization. Basically by watching American Idol you have something to talk about at work, and smoking breaks are the place to be for the best company gossip.
"That Lambert kid sure had some pipes, huh?"
As for spending all your money on crap and not bothering to work hard? It turns out that it might be the healthiest behavior in your life. A recent study showed that Swedish people are the happiest in the world, but not because they are all blond-haired, furniture building ex-models.
The secret to their happiness seems to be the fact that their socio-economic classes are very close to each other. Basically no one in Sweden is really "rich," which makes everyone (including the rich people) healthier and happier. Interestingly enough, this holds true on a larger scale: Countries that are going through a depression tend to report higher well-being among their population. Sure, people are going to grumble about not affording three plasma screens, but they will secretly be happier because they know everyone is just like them: miserable. So let's keep this recession going, guys!
Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up for our writers workshop! Know way too much about a random topic? Create a topic page and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!
And find out about how video games are actually benefiting us, in 6 Ways Video Games Are Saving Mankind. Or find out how 2010 is bad for our health, in 7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable.
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 04.30.10) to see what God looks at on the Internet.