Thursday, March 30, 2006

Daylight Savings Time... stinks...

I have always hated the Spring-Forward part of the year. I love to sleep, and I'm a night-owl, and that combination doesn't seem to be conducive to surviving Daylight Savings Time.

But there's hope, according to Dr. David Glass of Kent State University. Apparently, we all run on biological clocks, and when they get out of sync, we're more susceptible to accidents and illness. But Glass has an Rx for relief on this front, a way we can all get ready for the switch: Steps Help Brain Adjust to Daylight Saving
The hamsters used in the research are healthy and happy, Glass says, and they exercise regularly on a wheel. It turns out that when the animals are running, they release more serotonin, and "serotonin plays a major role in terms of controlling the timing of the clock itself," he adds.

The same thing happens in humans.

"If you were to go out and run, or even take a brisk walk, we know that would stimulate serotonin release in the brain," Glass says. "That has a number of different effects, including for a lot of folks, alleviating depression."

It also resets the clock, so exercise is part of his formula for dealing with jet lag, or even a time change of one hour.

So Saturday afternoon, he says, go out and get some exercise.

"A brisk walk will release serotonin and other types of neurotransmitters that will phase-advance the clock," he says.

You might also pick up a melatonin pill, which functions similar to serotonin, from your local drugstore and "pop that right after your walk."

Finally, when you get up Sunday morning, expose yourself to a reasonably bright light for an hour or two.

I'm definitely going to do this. It's certainly worth a shot, and if it actually works, it will save me six months of miserable mornings.

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