Frustrated girl in the trafficAs the average American commute lengthens (it's now a 26-minute drive to work, up 20% since 1980), it is important to consider the adverse effects this traveling can have on your health.

Here are six ways to tell if your commute is negatively impacting your well-being:

1. You're coming down with a cold more often. This due to the fact that you are exposed to many bacteria and viruses in an environment as small and as public as a bus or train.

2. You keep having to set your alarm earlier and earlier. If you’ve ever set your alarm a half-an-hour, an hour, two hours earlier than usual just to “beat traffic”, then you know the taxing weight of sleep deprivation that seems to come with the job. What you may not realize is that sleep deprivation is more than just a nuisance that makes you tired all the time; it can pose serious health risks. LA sleep expert Michael J. Breus, PhD, warns that sleep deprivation “slows our reaction time, and that driving when tired or drowsy is like driving when drunk.” Sleep deprivation also leads to slowed cognition and chronic anxiety.

3. You have a bit of road rage. Sitting in traffic for long periods of time can really grind your gears, which can lead to anxiety. This will also raise your stress levels and, hence, blood pressure, possibly culminating in the development of serious heart issues such as heart attacks and heart disease.

4. The left side of your face is aging faster. Something that may not have crossed your mind before is the fact that while driving, the left side of your face is hit more directly by the sun’s rays than your right side, causing it to age faster. Imagine having wrinkles and dark spots only on the left side of your face.

5. Your commute feels just as long as your work day. Sitting for long periods of time can cause deep venous thrombosis, heart disease, diabetes, and premature death. It is advised to “get off of the train a stop or two early to get blood flowing, take a walk at lunch, or if you have a desk job, get up and walk to tell a colleague something instead of sending an email," according to personal trainer Ivica Marc. Follow these steps to help your body recover from sitting all day.

6. Your bicycle has emboldened you. The number of people use bike to work has increased by 64% from 2000 to 2013. That's great news, but it also means an increased risk of accidents and injuries. To minimize this risk, pay attention to the rules of the road and follow them; if you are unfamiliar with them, we encourage you to look them up. And of course, wear the proper safety equipment. Whether you are traveling in your car, by bus, train, or bicycle, we urge you to use your common sense and stay safe.