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An individual’s bone health is determined by a variety of factors. For some, diminished bone health can be blamed on old age. For others, a petite frame or family history is responsible for issues with bone health.

Fragile bones are problematic as they drastically increase the odds of fractures. Thankfully, you can be proactive and alter your behavior to improve the integrity of your bones. Let’s take a look at some of the top habits that play a part in bone health.

Insufficient Sleep Harms Your Bones

Though most of us are aware of the fact that a lack of sleep can build up a “sleep debt” that negatively impacts the mind and body, most are unaware that poor sleep can directly harm the bones. Scientists have studied rats to determine the effects of little sleep. They found that rats who were deprived of quality sleep experienced stunted bone formation.

These bones even decreased in density to boot. Scientists believe that the same issues could manifest in human beings. If you have trouble sleeping, consider trying the hormone known as melatonin. Lavender essential oil might improve your sleep experience as well.

An Idle Lifestyle can Negatively Impact the Integrity of Your Bones

Nowadays, it seems like everyone is saying that sitting for extended periods of time is the “new smoking”. Excessive sitting can negatively impact the heart as well as the bones. The bottom line is that if you don’t use your body, you will lose it. Live an active lifestyle and your bones will strengthen in response.

Smoking Does Your Bones no Favors

By now, everyone should know that smoking is terrible for human health. However, many people are not aware of the fact that smoking can even harm your bones. An array of studies have found that smoking boosts the risks of bone fractures. Women who smoke on a regular basis do not produce as much estrogen as their non-smoking peers. Female smokers also undergo menopause at an earlier age.

The result is considerably more bone loss than is experienced by non-smokers. You can help your bones recover from the damage caused by smoking if you kick the habit. It appears that those who have quit smoking are at a lower risk for fracture as well as low bone mass. However, it will likely take a few years of smoking cessation to lower these risks.

Posture Impacts Bone Health

The manner in which you sit really does play a part in your bone health. Plenty of people have a posture problem known as “Forward Head Posture”. This improper posture occurs when an individual leans over his desk, laptop, phone or other electronic device for extended periods of time. It is quite common because most modern day human beings sit in workplaces and classrooms at desks for the majority of the day.

This faulty posture puts a harsh strain on the body’s muscles and can even lead to the onset (or worsening) of osteoporosis. It is imperative that you mind your posture. Do your bones an enormous favor by regularly performing the Chin Tuck exercise. It requires that you sit up straight and use your neck muscles to pull your chin inward. Issues with your posture, try yoga!

Keep your head lined up over your shoulders and remain in this position for five seconds. Repeat the exercise ten times in a row and you will find that your posture improves.

Your Diet Really Does Impact the Quality of Your Bones

A diet full of refined sugars, salt, processed foods and sugar-laden sweets has become the norm for the average American. Just because it seems like everyone else is “dumpster diving” does not mean that you should do the same yourself. You can fortify your bones by clean eating; consuming leafy greens, fresh fruits, a wide range of nuts, whole grains, dairy products and other foods that are rich in calcium.

Mind Your Supplements as You Age

Most Americans have a mineral deficiency. This problem is only worsened by the fact that peak bone mass occurs at age 40 and bone density decreases by one percent each year thereafter.

This is a brutal combination that attacks once-healthy bones. You will continue to experience bone loss unless you supplement in the appropriate manner as you grow older. Use a high-quality bone health supplement that has been proven to be effective and your bones will receive all of the essential vitamins and nutrients they need to stand the test of time.

Exercising in the Proper Manner can Boost Bone Health

You can enhance your bone density and strength by performing weight bearing exercises. Hit the weight room, engage in resistance training and run on a regular basis. Each of these activities will decrease the odds of a bone break. Other helpful weight bearing exercises include pilates, yoga and walking/hiking.

Sun Exposure is not Always a bad Thing!

If you read or watch the news, you have likely heard all about how sun exposure can harm your body in a variety of ways. However, sunlight is critically important for bone health. The sun’s rays represent the top source of vitamin D. Most people are shocked to learn that around 85% of Americans are lacking in vitamin D.

This does not mean that you should head on out to the beach for hours on end. Rather, all you have to do is spend 15 to 20 minutes outside in the sun. This limited sun exposure will help the body create between 10,000 IU and 20,000 IU of vitamin D. Studies have found that the best time to absorb vitamin D from the sun is at the noon hour.

It is worth noting that sunlight should only be considered the optimal source of vitamin D if you are exposed to it on a regular basis. If you live in an overcast area where sunny days are a rarity, you should take vitamin D supplements in combination with magnesium and calcium for the perfect vitamin/mineral balance.