I don’t have bad habits, I’m just practicing good health.

The folks at the Daily Mail in the U.K. have an article up that helps me to rationalize all my bad habits. In it they list off 12 bad things that are actually good for you:

We’ve been told not to get angry – because it raises blood pressure. While fizzy drinks do nothing but rot your teeth and make you fat. But new research has shown that many of our bad habits may also be good for us. Here, VICTORIA LAMBERT presents the Good Health guide to when and why our bad habits can be positively virtuous…

The 12 things that are supposedly bad for you but really aren’t are: Anger, Video Games, Swearing, Lazing About, Getting Stressed, Avoiding Housework, Loud Music, Fizzy Drinks, Fidgeting, Being Untidy, and Playing Bingo (read: casual gambling). Some of these I already knew such as the anger, swearing and video game ones, but some of them are new to me. I’m going to just love hitting the wife with this explanation for not making up the bed in the morning:

Unmade beds are the bane of many a mother’s life, but researchers at Kingston University think they might be the answer to asthma. Their research suggests that house dust mites – thought to cause asthma – cannot survive in the dry exposed conditions found in an unmade bed.

Normally, the average bed houses 1.5 million house dust mites, which feed on scales of human skin; the mites’ waste contains allergens which are easily inhaled during sleep and can particularly affect those with allergy problems such as asthma.

An occupied bed, or a made one that retains the warmth and moisture after the person has left it, is the ideal home, but house mites are less likely to thrive when moisture is in short supply.

According to Dr Stephen Pretlove, who led the study, mites survive by taking in water from the atmosphere – your body sweat while you’re asleep.

‘Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites dehydrate and die.’

So it’s not that I’m too lazy to make the bed, I’m just ensuring we don’t develop asthma by killing off all those nasty dust mites. Not that I really have to justify it these days. My wife gave up that battle with me years ago and these days we only make the bed when we change the sheets. And even then it’s far from what most folks would consider tidy.

As in the case with most things, the list has it’s limits and caveats. The type of stress, for example, determines whether it’s good or bad for you. Still if you’re looking to feel a bit better about some of your bad habits then the article is worth a read.