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Categories > Mental and Emotional Health > Anxiety and panic attacks

Is this normal?

Your little quirks make you you, but you might worry that some of your habits seem odd. Read on to see which ones are cause for concern and which ones are nothing to worry about.

My wife teases me because I regularly fall asleep watching TV? Is this strange for a younger man?

A: If you feel tired during the day and doze while watching your favorite shows, you may not be getting enough sleep. (Experts recommend seven to eight hours per night.) If you’re spending eight hours in bed but still feel groggy, a sleep disorder may be to blame. Ask your healthcare provider if you’re a candidate for a sleep study.

Is it weird I wash my hands a lot more than everyone else I know?

A: Maybe you have excellent hygiene habits—washing before and after you eat, cook and use the bathroom—and your friends are a bit lax. But if you need to follow self-imposed “rules” about how to wash, if you believe that washing might rid you of unwanted thoughts or if your cleanliness interferes with work or relationships, you may have obsessive-compulsive disorder. Talk to your healthcare provider if you spend more than an hour a day washing or if you’re drawn to the sink whenever you have certain thoughts.

I can’t stop biting my nails. Is it unhealthy?

A: Chewing on your fingernails is a nervous habit that makes your hands look ragged. Even worse, it can compromise your health. Biting nails breaks the skin, allowing germs from your mouth to enter the bloodstream, which can lead to infection. Also, you can ingest germs hiding beneath your nails when you chew. Can’t stop nibbling on your own? Ask your healthcare provider to recommend a product that’s applied to the nails to help you quit; it tastes terrible and gets you out of the habit.

On occasion, I can eat an entire half-gallon of ice-cream in one sitting. Do I have a problem?

A: Talk to your healthcare provider if you find yourself overeating like this regularly—it could be a binge-eating disorder, although not everyone who overindulges has this condition. (Binge eating is the most common type of eating disorder, but it only affects 3 percent of Americans.) Many sufferers feel out of control, eat large amounts of food when they’re not hungry and feel depressed afyou may simply have a lack of willpower.