Habits are a very personal thing and they differ from person to person, but there are still some common factors that we can identify as influencing different aspects of our behaviour. Some of these factors are genuine, but some are based on myth – so really, we needn’t worry about them at all. Read on for the top 5 myths that affect our personal behaviour.
The common cold is caused by the cold
We all worry about catching a cold in the winter, and not without reason as the prevalence of the common cold does go up during colder months. However, this isn’t simply because the weather is colder, but rather because we have an increased tendency to huddle together to try and stay warm. This makes it easier for germs to spread and so, even though there are some illnesses that can be linked to the cold, the common cold is not one of them.
Our heads lose the most body heat
Interestingly, the US Army is arguably responsible for this enduring myth: that we lose most of our heat through our heads. The myth first came about in the 1960s when they ran an experiment to see how we lose heat in cold temperatures. One thing they forgot to do was give the participants hats to match the rest of their survival gear, so their results suggested most heat is lost through our heads. In fact, we lose it through any uncovered area.
We get bad dreams from cheese
You’ve probably been told by many people that you shouldn’t eat cheese before bed because it gives you nightmares. Interestingly, a 2005 study from the British Cheese Board found that cheese does affect your dreams: it makes you more likely to remember them and can make them more vivid. However, there’s no evidence to suggest it gives you nightmares, which is surely a relief for cheese fans everywhere…
Showers use less energy than baths
This myth is actually based in truth: some showers do use less energy than baths. However, our bathrooms are increasingly fancy and now, many bathroom suites come with power showers as standard. The BBC recently reported on a Unilever study that found that an eight minute power shower can use up to twice as much energy as having a bath – suggesting it’s all about how you use your shower as to whether this particular idea is truth or fiction.
Gum takes seven years to digest
We finish with another food-related myth, namely that you shouldn’t swallow chewing gum because it takes seven years to digest. Okay, it’s probably not a good idea to swallow gum in general, but it doesn’t take seven years to digest. It actually passes out of your body within the same sort of time frame for any other food. The difference is that your body can’t digest it and so, rather than being broken down by the acid in your stomach, it just passes straight through as it is… What a pleasant thought.