You know that too much time in the sun and smoking will age you, but did you know that being impatient, depressed, or eating too much sugar can also make you look older? Here are five surprising things that may accelerate ageing...
See also: Seven ways ageing affects the brain
See also: Five surprising things that can prematurely age your brain
1. Being impatient
Nobody likes waiting, but if you're constantly in a rush, you could be speeding up your cells' ageing process.
According to a study from the National University of Singapore, young women who are impatient have cells that age faster than those who are more laid back.
Lead researcher, Professor Richard Ebstein, from the Department of Psychology, said: "Patience is indeed a virtue and women with impatient personality types are likely growing older at a faster pace than women disposed to be more patient."
Research shows that depression can accelerate the ageing process of the body's cells, making people look older than they actually are.
Researchers from the VU University Medical Centre in the Netherlands took blood samples from 2,407 people, more than a third of whom were currently depressed. A further third had experienced depression in the past, while the rest had never had it.
Scientists found that the first two groups had significantly shorter telomeres (sections of DNA at the end of chromosomes that protect the genetic material from damage), associated with faster ageing. Patients with the most severe symptoms had the shortest telomeres and their cells looked biologically older, something that could not be explained by other factors.
Writing in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, lead author Josine Verhoeven said: "This large-scale study provides convincing evidence that depression is associated with several years of biological ageing."
3. Eating too much sugar
Eating too much sugar isn't just bad for your teeth and waistline, it can make you age quicker too. Studies have found a direct link between blood sugar levels and how old you look.
Sugar causes 'glycation' damage in the skin, which reduces the effectiveness of elastin and collagen proteins that give skin a youthful, plump appearance. Eat too much of the sweet stuff and it will cause collagen and elastin to become less elastic and more prone to damage. The result? More wrinkles.
4. Sitting down for too long
You know that too much sitting is bad for your circulation and your heart, but did you know it can age you faster too? Studies suggest that sitting down for 10 or more hours a day without regular exercise can make a person's cells age prematurely.
Researchers from the University of California San Diego looked at nearly 1,500 women aged between 64 and 95. They found that the cells of women who sit for more than 10 hours and do less than 40 minutes of moderate exercise a day, are biologically eight years older than women who are more active.
5. Not having any qualifications
If you didn't stay on at school, there's a chance that your cells are ageing faster than those who continued their education.
That's according to researchers from University College London, who say they have found a link between educational attainment and the length of people's telomeres.
Scientists measured the telomere length of 450 civil servants and found that those who left education at an earlier stage had shorter telomeres - and therefore may age faster - than those who had completed A-levels or gone on to university.
Lead researcher, Professor Andrew Steptoe, said: 'We already know from previous research that people with poor backgrounds are prone to age more quickly.
"Education is a marker of social class that people acquire early in life, and our research suggests that it is long-term exposure to the conditions of lower status that promotes accelerated cellular ageing."