Q: Mr. Pedometer, you frequently mention your business travels, which likely take you to different time zones. How do you adjust? I am dreading the November switch from Daylight Savings Time! It seems to take me longer each year to adjust to the one-hour time change. Any suggestions?
A: It is a challenge, to be sure! Ignoring the change from Daylight Savings Time is not an option, but it’s equal to one time zone change. Start NOW with the new time zone breakfast, caffeine, and exercise. Your body will adapt in a day or so.
If one MUST adapt to a new environment at once, when traveling, there are really only two solutions:
1. Start adopting the designated time zone before the trip, in your own time zone; and
2. Kickstart your destination metabolism with breakfast, coffee, and exercise at your destination’s breakfast time.
However, if one does not have to adapt, because the stay is short (fewer days than time zone crossings), do not try to adjust, but do critical thinking and actions as though in your home time zone.
Better Homes & Gardens magazine recently gave other suggestions for ways to stay “energized and upbeat”:
“The shift from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time can throw off your body’s internal clock,” says M. Safwan Badr, MD, a sleep specialist at Wayne State University. “You may have trouble falling asleep at night or feel groggy in the morning.” He notes that less daylight can impact your body’s mood-regulating hormones. Try the following tips:
1. THE RIGHT MOVES — “Walk outside for 20 minutes in the morning. Exposure to sunlight helps turn off your body’s production of sleep-producing melatonin. If you’re still fuzzy-minded, take a walk around noon, when the sunlight is intense.”
2. THE RIGHT BITES – “…Whole foods give you the largest energy and mood boost. One star is fatty fish: Salmon and tuna are high in omega-3s, which raises serotonin levels, a chemical that helps regulate mood. Vitamin D may also lift moods. (Aim for 600 IU/day; milk and salmon are good sources.)
? And don’t forget chocolate (as if!); it, too, boosts serotonin.
? ….If caffeine is your go-to; small doses of coffee or tea throughout the day are more effective than two Grandes at breakfast.
? To nod off faster, try a small bowl of whole-grain cereal and milk; the carb-protein combo helps your body make the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan.”
3. THE RIGHT LIGHT – “If you feel unusually down when daylight is scarce, you may be one of the 10-20 percent of Americans with some form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mild to moderate depression that starts in autumn and eases in spring. A treatment involving sitting in front of a special light box for about 30 minutes each morning can work as well as therapy and medication. Look for a light that has 10,000 lux, emits as little UV as possible, and treats SAD (some are for issues like skin conditions).”
Mr. Pedometer advises starting tonight to move toward Standard Time. Otherwise, on Sunday, November 5, it may seem “too early” to go to bed at your regular time, but doing so will help you get up and get going on time Monday morning!