The irony of personal health is that there’s a significant divide between what we know we should do and what we actually do. If you’re like most people, you try to get the occasional workout in, turn down the extra slice of pizza at dinner, and avoid smoking. But there’s more to your health than this. If you really want to thrive, you have to uncover and address the hidden issues that are holding you back from living life to the fullest.

3 Ways You’re Hurting Your Health

On average, there are three ways Americans generally sabotage their health without knowing it. Let’s explore each and determine how you can correct any shortcomings or oversteps.

  • Not Getting Enough Sleep

The average American doesn’t get nearly enough sleep on a nightly basis. In fact, sleep deficiency is overwhelmingly common in adults. An estimated 50 to 70 million people have ongoing sleep disorders and nearly 40 percent of all adults report inadvertently falling asleep during the day at least once per month.

As InVite Health explains, “Healthy sleep habits improve learning and memory, help detoxify plaque from the brain that is associated with dementia, reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease, improves your ability to fight off a cold, and is an aid to weight control.”

The question is, how can you get more sleep? Actually, that may be the wrong question. Instead, you should be asking how you can get more quality sleep.

The key to maximizing sleep is to enter the deep REM stage more often. In doing so, you’re able to fully realize the many restorative benefits of sleep. You can do this by developing a sound bedtime routine, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, and avoiding excessive caffeine and alcohol intake

  • Not Staying Hydrated

Did you know that as much as 60 percent of your body weight is water? In fact, water is one of the vital building blocks for nearly every aspect of your health. It’s a solvent for chemical reactions and a transport for nutrients and waste.

“Water also helps maintain blood volume and allows proper circulation, helps regulate our body temperature, and acts as a shock absorber for our joints and our brain,” University Health News notes.

Unfortunately, up to 75 percent of Americans are operating in a chronic state of dehydration – and few realize it. But thankfully, this is a pretty easy issue to correct.

The key is to set a water intake goal and then develop an actionable plan for reaching it. This probably means keeping a bottle of water near you at all hours of the day. It also means reducing your intake of caffeinated beverages and alcohol – both of which can dehydrate you.

As you increase your water intake, you should also focus on drinking clean water. Testing your home’s water supply and installing a filter will help ensure you’re maximizing the benefits of adequate hydration.

  • Not Caring for Your Gut

Your gut is filled with trillions of bacteria. Some bacteria is helpful. Some bacteria is harmful.

“The friendly gut bacteria are important for digestion. They destroy harmful bacteria and other microorganisms and produce vitamin K, folate and short-chain fatty acids,” Healthline points out. “When the gut flora contains too many harmful bacteria and not enough friendly bacteria, an imbalance can occur. This is known as dysbiosis.”

The digestive tract impacts almost every aspect of your health. From the ability to absorb nutrients to your brain’s health, the effects are significant. You can enhance your gut health by consuming probiotics, eating a more diverse range of foods, lessening the intake of alcohol, avoiding excessive use of antibiotics, and, ironically enough, getting more sleep and drinking more water.

As you care for your gut, you’ll notice a better overall sense of well-being. From the way your stomach feels to how your brain functions, everything will change for the better.

Proactively Care for Your Health

It’s your health. Nobody else is going to care for it or prioritize it for you. When it comes to sleep, hydration, and gut health, are you doing everything you can to set yourself up for a long and healthy life? If you aren’t, now’s the time to correct your behavior and put yourself on the right path.