Science doesn’t just claim breathing fresh air benefits our heart and blood vessels and improves our sleep quality. Progressive doctors now prescribe trips in natural locations to treat various mental and physical illnesses. It’s as if professionals are hinting that in order to improve our health, we should run away to the forest from time to time.
This begs the question: How harmful is city life to our overall health? Here are four major ways that life in the big city impacts our health and wellness.
1. The Epidemic of Air Pollution
In 2015, scientists shared that more than 3 million people die annually from air pollution. If humanity doesn’t make necessary changes, by 2050, this number could reach 6 million.
Children and adolescents are at maximum risk of pollution-related deaths. Their permanent exposure to gases and particulate matter in the air can cause long-term mental health problems. Even for the rest of us, polluted city air can cause dry eye syndrome, risk of diabetes mellitus, and lung diseases. In this case, the danger persists even when air pollution remains at a safe level. To test for these diseases, you should visit an eye doctor, pulmonologist, and endocrinologist at least once a year.
2. Noise and Light Cause Sleep Disturbances
Noises outside of your apartment window can be extremely annoying. However, they also disrupt your sleep quality and structure, which in turn can cause daytime sleepiness or even endocrine and metabolic problems. Studies also show that long-term noise pollution doubles the risk of anxiety, depression, and increased cortisol levels.
Statistics also show that people who live in areas with large numbers of neon signs face more sleep disturbances than those who don’t. Urban residents are exposed to 3 to 6 times more light than villagers, which likely means they sleep a lot less.
3. Stress In The City
A Dutch study showed that urban residents are 39% more likely to experience an affective disorder. Furthermore, people who grew up in cities are 10 times more likely to develop schizophrenia. Experts believe that these increased mental illness risks are a result of city-dwellers’ higher stress levels.
Furthermore, urban residents’ brains become more susceptible to stress over time. Chronic stress also accelerates cells’ aging process, providing city citizens with more pronounced age-related pigmentation and deeper wrinkles.
4. Subway Risks
If you think that your daily subway ride to work can lead to death, you aren’t far from the truth. A University of Washington study found that people with long work commutes have a greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
Subways also contain large amounts of bacteria, and each metro line has its own flora. During the day, the bacteria exchange data on our bodies and develop antibiotic resistance. Therefore, keep your hands away from any mucous membranes until you either properly wash your hands or use an antiseptic.
The city is full of pollution, noise, and germs, which can severely affect your mental and physical health However, you may not be able to avoid living in a big, bustling city. No matter what, though, take some time away from work and your busy lifestyle to detox in nature.